Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Some dudes were in a place with a bunch of people they didn’t know, and being dudes, felt like they could say pretty much whatever they wanted with no consequences. Someone overhears them, is offended, and then tweets a pic of them calling out their offensive behavior. The reaction to that isn’t “Lame, dudes!” nor “Wow, really guys?” but instead, “Hey, you shouldn’t publicly shame dudes who are being publicly offensive!”
Did Adria Richards behave in the most bestest, productivest, angelic way possible? No. But she was frustrated and tired of having to listen to annoying guys talking like there’s no women around and if there are, they should “relax” and let them behave however they feel like behaving. I don’t blame her for being frustrated. Frankly, I’m happier she did something than I am upset about it not being exactly precisely the best possible thing she could have done.
But the rest of the Dude-ternet is not happy. No sireebob. They are irate that she didn’t privately bring up the problem to the conference organizers and politely ask them to put a stop to it. And so now that is the problem everyone is talking about.
Both Adria and one of the gentlemen she called out got fired by their respective employers. That seems like an overreaction on those employers’ part, but I don’t know the whole story there. What SendGrid is saying publicly about Adria, however, doesn’t make me think they did the right thing.
I’m frustrated by this whole thing. I’m frustrated that “she didn’t do it the right way” is such a convenient thing to hide behind for people who actually identify more with the dudes who got called out for being offensive. I’m frustrated that we always look for the flaws in the person accusing someone else of abusing their privilege in society rather than critically examining that privilege and our own role in it. But mostly I’m frustrated that every time something like this happens in the tech community, the majority of my fellow hombres reveal how far we have NOT come.