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Preview: ashe dryden - Punching her way to web celebrity status since 2007.

ashe dryden - programming diversity


CodeNewbie Podcast: Diversity in Tech

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:53:13 +0000

Diversity in tech is a big topic. In our conversation with Ashe Dryden, programmer, organizer and diversity consultant, we unpack the many questions, misconceptions, and realities of diversity in our industry. In part I of our interview, Ashe gives us a diversity primer, explains why this topic is so important, and tells us how she’s crafted a conference based on inclusion called AlterConf. In part II of our interview, Ashe Dryden talks about how the harassment she’s experienced has made her worry about the safety of people around her and influenced her decision to move to the woods. She tells us about the incident that made her angry enough to start working on diversity advocacy, how her work has changed her perception of the internet, and what we can all do to be advocates in the workplace.

Listen to the podcast on CodeNewbie: Part One & Part Two

Twitter Book Club: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Wed, 20 Jul 2016 20:54:09 +0000

I've been wanting to read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet for a while, and a number of folks on twitter said they'd be interested as well. Here's all the information you need to know for the book club.

Book Availability:

  • Amazon $7.99-10.47
  • Local bookstores - may need to contact to order ahead, as it's a relatively new book
  • Libraries - may need to put reservations on the book, as it's likely in limited quantities and fairly new

Important dates:

  • August 1: begin reading!
  • August 31 - 8:30pm EST/5:30pm PST, Sept 1 - 12:30am UTC: book club begins!

Come prepared with questions, thoughts, and what you liked/didn't like about the book. We'll be tweeting under the hashtag #lwsap. Feel free to follow me for reminders and the general discussion. I've started a twitter list for the folks participating. Tweet at me if you'd like to be added.

Gadgette: Interview: Ashe Dryden – programmer, diversity advocate, White House fellow for LGBT tech

Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:00:00 +0000

(image)  "Ashe Dryden is a programmer, writer, speaker and White House fellow who’s setting out to make the tech industry all about diversity. Passionate about helping others open doors – no matter their gender, race or sexual orientation – Dryden coaches companies to make diversity their number one priority.

As the White House fellow for LGBTQ tech, her expertise have garnered attention across the board, with the programmer also involved with AlterConf – an event that aims to shine a light on critical culture discussions in tech and gaming.

Here, Ashe talks of her first steps into the diversity limelight and how others in the industry can help with the cause."

Read the full interview on Gadgette.

Polygamer: #38 with Ashe Dryden of AlterConf

Wed, 27 Jan 2016 18:00:00 +0000

(image) In this podcast, Ashe discusses how AlterConf will address global issues of diversity while respecting local values; how the Code of Conduct applies in different cultures; why all AlterConf speakers and organizers are paid, not volunteers; and whether AlterConf will ever exhaust the range of topics at the Diversity 201 level. Finally, Ashe also mentions her new project, The Fund Club, which uses crowdfunding to inject significant financial boosts into non-profits supporting marginalized voices in tech.

Listen to the Polygamer podcast.

Shop Talk Show: Episode 198 with Ashe Dryden

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 18:00:00 +0000

(image) Thanks to Chris and Dave for having me to talk about AlterConf, Fund Club, and my books!

Listen to the podcast on Shop Talk Show

Ashe's favorite books of 2015

Thu, 17 Dec 2015 15:37:26 +0000

I read far fewer books this year than I did last because I had a ton going on in my life, but still came out with some clear favorites. If you weren't around for last year's list, I make a concerted effort to read books written by and about marginalized people. The books below are in no particular order. If you're looking for good books to take with you on winter vacation or to give for the holidays, I'd recommend these ones. 1. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin [speculative fiction, fantasy] “Tell them they can be great someday, like us. Tell them they belong among us, no matter how we treat them. Tell them they must earn the respect which everyone else receives by default. Tell them there is a standard for acceptance; that standard is simply perfection. Kill those who scoff at these contradictions, and tell the rest that the dead deserved annihilation for their weakness and doubt. Then they’ll break themselves trying for what they’ll never achieve.” I read this on recommendation from a friend. Fantasy isn't usually my thing, but I feel this falls more squarely into the general speculative fiction category. I'm looking forward to reading more of her stuff. 2. Strikers [Strikers #1] by Ann Christy [YA fiction, dystopian science fiction] “Life is entirely too short for fear to be a factor in how we live it.”  I've read a lot of YA over the past few years and like that many aren't nearly as graphic as their adult counterparts. This one was different than the Hunger Games-y niche that all dystopian YA seems to fall in these days. The author is working on book 2 in the series. 3. The Internet of Garbage by Sarah Jeong [technology/internet, culture, feminism] “When we seek to build truly equal platforms and marketplaces of ideas fit for the 21st century, we are trying to create things that have never existed and cannot be constructed by mindlessly applying principles of the past.”  Sarah Jeong is brilliant, funny, and her work is always insightful. This short book (literally took me ~2hrs to read) centers around the garbage that is created and builds up on the internet and why, culturally, we allow it to happen. Good read for people trying to understand the issues around harassment and abuse online and why no one is doing anything about it. 4. The Leaving of Things by Jay Antani [YA fiction, general fiction] “We steadily endure our lives and ultimately we are alone in our endurance. In this aloneness, we find our strength.”  The book centers on the life of a teenage Indian American boy whose family decides to leave their home of many years in Madison, WI to move back to India. I read this when I, too,was moving away from Madison so it had interesting parallels. Vikram's voice around loneliness, isolation, and unlearning American-centrism/exceptionalism is profound. 5. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable [history, biography] ""Victims of racism are created in the image of the racists," Malcolm argued. "When the victims struggle vigoroulsy to protect themselves from the violence of others, they are made to appear in the image of criminals, as the criminal image is projected onto the victim." Liberation, he implied, was not simply political but cultural." I tend to read at least one biography a year and like to choose figures I only know surface facts about. This is a long book, but well worth the read. It covers Malcolm's early life, through his Nation of Islam days, and beyond. Being able to see all of the moving pieces around his life (his family, the NoI, his politics and work) as well as to read his speeches is important to see the whole man - his power, his intelligence, his determination, as well as his issues. 6. The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S Tepper [science fiction, fantasy, dystopian feminism?] “(ghost of)ACHILLES: How can I force obedience on this? In other times I've used the fear of death to make[...]

Pagebreak: The Ethics of Unpaid OSS

Tue, 14 Apr 2015 19:42:59 +0000


Thanks to Liz and Niki for talking about my piece, The Ethics of Unpaid Labor and the OSS Community, on their Pagebreak podcast!

"You can't tell me that straight, white, cis men are inherently smarter -- because that's what you're saying when you say they were the only ones who were qualified [for a job]."

Listen to the 14:23 podcast.

Model View Culture: Social Networking as Peer Surveillance

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:27:28 +0000

This piece was originally written for Model View Culture's Surveillance issue in October 2014. Tech news articles preach the dangers of sophisticated programs at startups misusing data we give them, performing sociological experiments on us, or the NSA spying on everything we say and do. But those things are barely on my radar. As an outspoken, queer woman, the internet is a terrifying place. Can I trust myself, my friends, or my family not to inadvertently harm me through the information shared on social networks? What will ill-willed colleagues do with that information if and when we unintentionally trip up? Photo CC-BY John December, filtered.  I want to tell you the story of how we came to unwittingly self- and peer-surveil, allowing the internet to near-simultaneously make our worlds bigger and smaller. I know this, because it’s my story, too. In 2004 I moved across the country, away from everything I’d ever known. I was in a new city where I knew no one, so I turned to the internet as I’d done most of my life. This was an interesting time for the web; sites relying entirely on user-generated content were becoming big and would herald in the era we find ourselves in today. When I found out about Meetup and Upcoming, I happily told them about all things I was interested in. I soon found myself in a community that relished sharing a physical space with internet people and we were drunk on the feeling. We took pictures, happily tagging them with both our actual and internet names, dates, events, and geolocation data. We embraced hashtags not just for events, but impromptu collaborative art projects. Social networks were uncharted territory,  a make-it-what-you-want-it-to-be atmosphere where we were explorers and inventors, discovering ways to connect, share, and feel closer to each other. In a way, the internet itself became a new friend to me – one that wanted to see the whole picture of who I was. It wanted to know what music I listened to when I was sad, what pictures made me happy, and what I wanted out of life. I found myself sharing every article I found interesting, information on the charities I donated to, and what concerts I’d be attending. In a bizarre sense I felt the more I shared of myself, the stronger that relationship could be. It seems unimaginably naive to say I didn’t realize how all of that information could ever be used against me. I remember remarking to people who were dismayed by Twitter having made oversharing popular, “no one will care what I did today a month from now; we’re living in the moment.” But a few years provides a wealth of perspective: today, people constantly exploit little pieces of information from social networks I’ve participated in over the years to DDoS attack my websites and physically threaten, harass, and abuse me. An obvious example of this is my income, which has become nearly fully supported by micro-donations from hundreds of people all over the world. For quite a long time, that income came through a site that advertised exactly how much money I was making and from how many people. At first this was a positive thing – people could see how much financial support projects like mine received and understand that it wasn’t as widely supported as many thought. But when I was visibly in the site’s leader board and eventually the top person receiving on the site, it became a huge problem. Reddit and Hacker News had a field day. I’d get comments and emails from people claiming my work was panhandling, prostitution, trickery, and theft. People berated me if they found out I went to a movie with my partner, feeling I was squandering the money I received. Others who had previously supported me were angry when I wouldn’t immediately drop everything I was doing to give them advice, because in their eyes, I worked for them. My ability to maintain a work/life [...]

Ashe's favorite books of 2014

Tue, 09 Dec 2014 21:09:08 +0000

This year I made a concerted effort to read books almost exclusively by marginalized people. Below are my top 12 of 2014, in no particular order. With a list this short, you could read just one book a month and make it through the year happy with the quality of books you've read :) 1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [general fiction, feminism] "In America, racism exists but racists are all gone. Racists belong to the past. Racists are the thin-lipped mean white people in the movies about the civil rights era. Here’s the thing: the manifestation of racism has changed but the language has not. So if you haven’t lynched somebody then you can’t be called a racist. If you’re not a bloodsucking monster, then you can’t be called a racist. Somebody has to be able to say that racists are not monsters. They are people with loving families, regular folk who pay taxes. Somebody needs to get the job of deciding who is racist and who isn’t. Or maybe it’s time to just scrap the word “racist.” Find something new. Like Racial Disorder Syndrome. And we could have different categories for sufferers of this syndrome: mild, medium, and acute." The story of a Nigerian-born woman coming to terms with what it means to be Black in America. Throughout the book, she writes a series of blog posts about how confusing it all is, often funny and poignant. 2. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [science fiction, and I would argue for Horror] "We were revisionists; what we revised was ourselves." One of the more horrifying science fiction stories I've ever read, the story follows a young woman living in a monotheocratic dystopian society.  3. Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism edited by Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman [feminism, anthology] "I took my B+ -- feminism can be graded, after all -- and abandoned feminist activities at Stanford." This year we read a number of anthologies in the intersectional feminism book club this year, and this was my favorite. In it are discussions of identity, religion, abortion, class, femininity and machismo, being adopted into a transracial and transcultural family, and being an Arab in a country with prejudices and misconceptions about the Arab world. 4. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu [science fiction] "I have traveled, chronogrammatically, out of the ordinary tense axes and into this place, into the subjunctive mode." This book is very much in the vain of Douglas Adams-style cleverness and I immediately fell in love with it. This is a time travel story that uses grammar tenses to discuss points in time. My new favorite time travel book! 5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot [non-fiction, science, investigative journalism] “Henrietta’s were different: they reproduced an entire generation every twenty-four hours, and they never stopped. They became the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory.”  This is one of the better books I've read in the past few years. It's written by a woman who ended up becoming close with the family of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose genetic material was taken without her permission and has been in use in science and medical labs across the world since 1951. She was immediately erased and forgotten -- her genetic material being referred to only as HeLa. The story follows the heartbreaking reality of Henrietta Lacks and her family. 6. China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh [science fiction, general fiction] "All of that work to make a little more money. But I will still be Zhang. I carry myself wherever I go, and it is myself I want to escape from. I hate myself. I hate this place. And I find it is very tiring to carry hate all the time. So I sit and listen to the night on the Arctic tundra, defeated before I start. And sick to death of all of [...]

Last night you shared a police report I filed against a man who threatened to rape and murder me.

Wed, 03 Dec 2014 15:08:45 +0000

I really prefer not to write personal or current events-type things on my site, but I'm not sure what else to do with this. Trigger/content warnings for harassment, stalking, and threats of violence. 4 months ago I filed a police report against a man who had been stalking me for months and had threatened to rape and murder me. This man lives in the same small city that I reside in. The stalker erroneously received the police report I filed against him and chose to further harm me by posting it online - in doing so, sharing my home address and phone number. Recently this person has gained attention, again, for having created a github project blocking "SJW's" on twitter. Myself, along with a handful of other women this man has stalked and harassed were who he seeded the list with. Since then, I've seen people gleefully exclaim that they made the list. I've seen people go out of their way to share and encourage others to add themselves to the list. I've watched as men who have famously hurt other women in tech gleefully add themselves to the list, as if to add insult to injury. Last night a number of people -- including a few of my friends -- began sharing the police report publicly in response to that project. I saw tweets stating that people spent hours searching for the report, people demanding a nice little summary be written up somewhere. People quoted horrifying things from the report that trigger me so much that I'm shaking as I write this. Because of this man, I've stopped leaving my house alone. I now rarely leave home at all. I've had to notify friends, family, and neighbors to look out for suspicious people asking about me. I'm terrified every time I receive a phone call I don't recognize. And yet, not one person talked to me about sharing that report, asked my permission, or even mentioned to me that they would be doing it. Dealing with the effects of being a constant target for harassment, threats, and attacks requires a not insignificant amount of money and time: from putting protections in place against DDoS attacks on all my projects to trying to scrub all of my personal information from the internet to dealing with lawyers and law enforcement to therapy, anti-anxiety and depression meds, and more. Thanks to recent events I've also been working on pulling together the money to move. On top of that are the physical, emotional, and relationship tolls I have to pay for being a visible marginalized person demanding change. I no longer follow anyone on twitter thanks to people going after a close relative of mine who used twitter solely to send me pictures. I've lost friends and others have just disappeared without my participating on social media like I once felt able to. My relationship with my partner is strained with both of us stressing over my safety and how best to protect what little privacy I have. Even on anti-anxiety medication, I have regular anxiety attacks. I worry that my friends, aside from one woman who has been through similar situations, think I'm paranoid and over-careful, so I don't have near as many close friends as I once did. The things that are happening to me are not funny or fun. People are feigning horror at what this man has done to me, while playing right in to what he wants by giving him more attention and further harming me through sharing my personal details all over the internet. It's as if no one thought how their actions would further harm this man's victims. If anything, this goes to show exactly how far we still have to go, even within our activist communities, to prevent ourselves from further harming the victims we supposedly stand beside. Thank you to the few people who have reached out to me with support. I appreciate it. <3 Related Social Networking as Peer Surveillance - a piece I wrote for Model View Culture [...]