Firebee Dispatch #15: To be a threat to the men in power


I managed to get another dispatch out in a row! I'm still pretty behind on things, so apologies for the content this week being all over the place.

What I'm Up To

  • The kitty is feeling better this week! He's gained back some weight and is back to his silly, energetic self. I am so thankful for that.
  • The world is still shitty.
  • I am still behind on EVERYTHING, but especially my email. I swear some day I'll catch up.

Black Lives Matter

I am reserving this section for news and writing about the situation in a country where black lives are not equally valued. As I said last week, I am not even remotely the best resource on this topic, but I will share some writing or links to people to follow to make sure the topic is covered in my dispatches because it is important.

Note: Postings in this section may contain triggering content.

You need to remain real for me, Tamir, because you were real and you were twelve and you had every right to reach adulthood, tangible and talking and marveling that you made it.

The problem is that cops aren’t held accountable for their actions, and they know it. These officers violate rights with impunity. They know there’s a different criminal justice system for civilians and police.

So emotional; so moved by being heard as emotional. You are used to this. Eyes rolling. You are used to this. Feminists are heard as being emotional whatever they say, which is to say, again, independently of what they say. Being called “emotional” is a form of dismissal. How emotional. Just look at you.

And we learn: anti-feminism is an extension of sexism. Women are already heard in this way, as complaining, moaning, whinging. If women do not accept the place they have been assigned, they are heard as complaining, moaning, and whinging. These are willful assignments; given to those who are not willing to accept how they are assigned.

  • From Open (Unlimited) to Minimum Vacation Policy by Mathias Meyer. I do not like unlimited vacation policies, and this post gets at a lot of the reasons why. Their new policy sounds great. I wish I got 25 vacation days a year, but I have the sadly small 15 days that is more common in the US for programmers (many other professions get by on much less or none at all here).

  • Something Terrible Happened to Jackie by Sarah Jeong. Trigger warning: rape.

Model View Culture 2014 in Review

Model View Culture's last issue of the year is out, and it is full of awesome stuff. You should read it all. Below are some of my selected favorites.

2014 has been a year of examining, extending and reevaluating our connections and our communities. As the social aspect of “social media” bleeds into all of our tech, and all our relationships, what it means to be a member of a community is the question we are asking again and again, even if we don’t know it.

When diversity is seen as something to profit off of, the people and organizations who see it that way benefit the most. The “easy” underrepresented groups get a mix of help and exploitation. Meanwhile, the most marginalized people, who would benefit the most from support, tend to be left out in the cold to fend for themselves.

I condemn the tech culture that creates this environment where black people feel that speaking out about these injustices could derail their career. I condemn the culture that creates an environment that has no problem acknowledging and using my labor, but would not support my fight for my humanity.

Companies can tokenize women and people of color throughout their advertising. They can get way more credit than they deserve for being not 100% white men. They can profit from the increases in efficiency and productivity associated with more diversity. All of the above ignore the fact that companies needed to have diversity initiatives to make them less overwhelmingly white in the first place; that white people are the ones in the position of being able to grant access in the first place. When we work for justice and liberation, we can’t accept progress that is conditional on being economically beneficial.

Codes of conduct are, in part, intended to communicate that organizers put a priority on the safety and comfort of marginalized members of the community. How could attendees from these groups be confident that this was in fact a priority, if the organizers were so reticent to recognize a problem and the need to act on it? If putting a comprehensive and enforceable policy in place was so difficult, how could we trust them to handle an actual crisis? Is the code of conduct indeed just “words on paper” in the minds of the organizers, or is it a legitimate and sincere commitment to those who are attending the event?

In the News

My Writing

Last week I transcribed the male allies panel from Grace Hopper Celebration. This week, I've added some annotations. Even better, I hacked up disqus, so you can add your own thoughts. Help me annotate the male allies panel.

Note: comments will be moderated to make sure the annotations don't turn into a cesspool like most comment sections.


  • Parable of the Polygons. A post about segregation, bias, and the shape of society with some cute interactive games and simulations to play with.
  • Dirtbag Paul Atreides from the Toast had me laughing my ass off. It may not be as funny if you're not familiar with Dune.
  • This shirt that reads "The fucks I give are like horcruxes --- very few and hard to find" is my nerdy Harry Potter everything.
  • Dispatch title from "Cloudbusting" by Kate Bush [youtube].


The cat is feeling much better this week, so here are some pictures of him being adorable.

cat curled up on couch cat sleeping closeup of cat in a blanket