I've heard that a small portion of the F# community was vocal in disagreeing with the conference organizers prompting Black Girls Code. One of the conference organizers, Gien, has already written an excellent post summarizing the arguments put to her and rebuking them. I thought I would add my voice to why I think organization like Black Girls Code are important.
"When people begin to introduce the irrelevant, the non sequitur and the generalizations ... you can tell you're onto something". -- Christopher Hitchens
Software development has a diversity problem. This is wrong and it's a problem we as an industry need to work to correct.
The diversity problem should be so apparent to anyone working in software development, that there seems little point in even bothering to reaching out for statistic to support this. Every developer team I have worked on has been dominated by white males. Every conference that I've been to the majority of attendees have been white males.
Does it matter that white males dominate software development?
A lot of jobs software development pay well. If you succeed in making a good career in software, you can expect to be paid well over your country's median wage. As software development jobs pay well, I think it's important that everyone has a fair shot at pursuing a career in software development.
Pay aside, I believe that the diversity problem in software development is because of discrimination, making this is also a moral problem. I don't want to live in a societe where the colour of your skin or your gender can prevent you from getting a job.
Is it wrong to help a specific group of people when other people need help too?
If people are victims of discrimination because of their skin colour or their gender, then I believe it is right to help people in that group. To suggest otherwise is to distract from the issue.
This is why I think supporting groups such as Black Girls Code is important.
Recent events have shown me that staying silent in the face of discrimination helps those discriminate, which is why I wrote this post.
The quote from the beginning of this article comes Christopher Hitchens's part in a 2001 Oxford-style debate at Boston University on paying reparations for slavery. I was tempt to try and deploy more of his very eloquent arguments from this debate in this article, but I've yet to experience the full force of the "white whine", as he calls it, so as far as I can see the case for not supporting Black Girls Code is so poor, there's little need say more at the moment.