Tiny acts of aggression

By Peter Zaballos

I’ve written a fair amount about equality in the workplace and the need to understand and empathize with people who are not in positions of power and authority – here, here, here, here, here, and here. Empathizing is critical to how we will get gender and racially balanced leadership teams and workforces.

And when you happen to be in a position of power and authority – like white males – you simply do not see or experience the headwinds, aggression, obstacles, and outright discrimination that the people in the minority do.

I’ve been blogging since 2008, and in that time the comments I have gotten on my blogs have fallen into two categories: Generally complimentary, and machine-driven manufactured comments meant to drive some SEO agenda (I think). I approve every human generated comment, and trash or mark as spam every machine-generated comment.

Over the weekend I got this comment on this blog post I published:

I am one to be transparent and run to the controversy, not away from it. So of course I approved it. It is so over-the-top, and so out of character.

In almost twelve years of blogging I am experiencing the first troll. Perhaps this is a badge of honor. I’ve finally arrived. But to me it highlights the difference between what me – a white male – experiences online, and what women and minorities do.

I am a serious car fanatic, and one of my favorite publications focused on car nuts like me is Jalopnik – the writing is super high quality, and they intentionally focus on writing with diverse viewpoints. Their writers and editors are comprised of men, women and minorities. Intentionally.

So it came as no surprise that Jalopnick exposed the horrifying difference in treatment that their male writers and editors experience from their female editors and writers do. Horrifying.

You don’t need to look far or wide to see how prevalent this imbalanced treatment is. Just follow an independent woman on twitter and you’ll see the different paths men and women encounter online. Here’s one. Susan Fowler. From yesterday.

Follow @susanthesquark

Yes, I’ve got a troll on my blog. Yes he/she said nasty things. It’s easy for me to let this blow by – I am secure in the knowledge I am none of what trash is being thrown at me – but women get 100x this. Every day. It’s not so easy to let that volume of crap blow by you.

So, go listen to the ‘Not To Be Sexist, But’ podcast by Dave Obuchowsky. Please.

Follow Susan Fowler. Even better, buy her book. Please.

Understand the world these women navigate.

And as my wife would remind me, the difference between me and this troll is that tomorrow morning they will wake up as a troll. 

So, “CML” thanks for reminding me. Reminding me that tiny acts of aggression directed to me are just that. Tiny. And are nothing compared to what women (and minorities) deal with. Every day. 

And CML, good morning to you!

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One Response to “Tiny acts of aggression”

  1. CML Says:

    Tiny acts of aggression, like getting people fired for not kissing up to you? Admittedly they’re handling it better than, for example, claiming they’re not a narcissist and writing a whole blog post about how they don’t actually care

    Like

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