Palm Beach Tech Blog

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Diversity



November 15, 2018

On November 15, 2018 I spoke up at FlaDotNet. This upset Palm Beach Tech Association. They have blocked me on social media, blocked me from events, reported my social media, and attempted to intimidate me into never talking about diversity again! 😱
Palm Beach Tech Diversity Tweet

Commander Candy: A lot of your sales come from the people who come here. Do you think it would be beneficial if there was greater diversity here?

Wowza Media Speaker: Diversity as far as what?

Commander Candy: Um Gender, Color, background. Not as much white male. More of a mixture.

Wowza Media Speaker: Yeah right. I love diversity

Voice in Background: (Asks if I have an idea)

Commander Candy: Yes, I do. I have one idea. When I first came here... okay, first...

I'm kinda new here, right?

I'm a single mom. I'm an entrepreneur. I run around like a chicken with her head cut off all week, all month. When I walk in here a lot of times its my first change to take a breath the entire week, maybe even the entire month. Okay? When I sat down there, and I'm new here, right? Some of you guys may know me from BocaJS, my favorite. Or some of the other meetups around town, but I'm new to this one.

So, I was the third person to give an introduction. When I was handed the microphone, I paused for a second because I needed a second. I just sat down. I'm tirde. Right? I'm a 37 year old woman, I just look I'm 25. And he said to me when I paused for a second, "It's okay, it's good practice".



What is that telling me? It sounds very condescending to me. And it tells me there is an assumption, just by looking at me, that I need practice to give an introduce myself.

I've actually been doing presenting and speaking more than I've been doing programming. That's my number one thing. I just needed a second to catch my breath. Nobody is paying me. And things like that is what keeps the crowd...

If you look at my Twitter, @codingcommander... Look at the people on my feed. Look at the people who I follow. Look at the people who follow me. There's lot's of white men. There is also black men, black women, white women... There is everybody!

Tech is a lot more than just white men, but you wouldn't know it. And Broward County is one of the most diverse counties in the country. I live in Broward County and I could walk here.

I know Boca is not know for its diversity, but if you live in Deerfield like I do or in Pompano the meetups are going to be Boca or Fort Lauderdale. There is no reason why there should be... what's the percentage here?

[It was all white men and me]

Wowza Media Speaker: Yeah, you're right. You're absolutely right.

Commander Candy: And that's why. Right from the beginning I was given negative feelings.

If you go to BocaJS, Now, it's always going to be more white men than anything, but I see more diversity at BocaJS, than I see at any other meetup in South Florida.

Wowza Media Speaker: It's happening.

Commander Candy: But you know Damian, when I first came... This is the first meetup I had been to and I was shy back then. Not because I am not good at speaking. But because it was a new environment. It's still majority men. It's a little bit intimidating, right?

Especially when, let's keep it real, there's all these people looking at you like a piece of meat.

It's like no eye contact with anybody. Like bar rules. You know what I mean?

But he came in and he came right up to me and he treated me with nothing but respect and welcomed me. And he complimented my work. And he really made me feel like I belonged. And that's why that's the meetup that I...

Damian: And I asked you to what?

Commander Candy: To present.

Wowza Media Speaker: That's good.

Commander Candy: And that's why I see more diversity at BocaJS. 'Cause a lot of them, it's all white men. But that's not the industry. It is not! And if you don't believe me go to @codingcommander, look on my page. There's everybody. There is every kind of individual.

Wowza Media Speaker: Can I give you a present for that? Here's a trifecta, you got a usb power supply... Dave Norderer: Your face, You had a strange look on your face...

Wowza Media Speaker: Yup, here you go...

Commander Candy: No, no, no... Don't make an excuse. That makes it worse. That's patronizing. Dave Norderer: Oh, I'm sorry.

Wowza Media Speaker: oh no, there you go.

Commander Candy: In my circle on Twitter, we call that manspaining.

Wowza Media Speaker: Ohhh... No it's a very common thing that's you are are talking about and I-I been presenting for uh probably 15, 20 years and it always has been predominately a male audience.

No rhyme or reason for that. It shouldn't be that.

Commander Candy: That is the reason. Yours wasn't the only example. There was other examples too, but I just wanted to pick one because I didn't want to make it just like me picking on everybody.

Wowza Media Speaker: No, no. That's good.

Commander Candy: There are a lot of things...

Wowza Media Speaker: Sigh

Commander Candy: You have to remember there are a lot of you and there is one of me.

Wowza Media Speaker: You're doing the right thing by you know taking up presenting and taking advantage of the opportunities because that's one thing that's great about these user groups are great for is that. They'll, you know you want to do a speaking engagement here you just write up an abstract and you'll be in. You know? That's it.

Commander Candy: You just gotta realize you don't know who anybody is...

Wowza Media Speaker: Yup

Commander Candy: You should treat everybody the same...

Wowza Media Speaker: The code camp that Dave's running in uh February, I don't know if you've ever been to that? That's another great opportunity to get engaged with the community and...

Commander Candy: I'm a great opportunity to get engage with the community.

Wowza Media Speaker: And you won't just see one woman there. You'll see more, but uh its...

Commander Candy: I have on my Twitter a lot of the people. Like people on core development teams for some of the JavaScript frameworks that we know and love, I'm friends with on Twitter. I'm very integrated into the community actually.

My problem is time more with like how much I speak...

Wowza Media Speaker: Yeah

Commander Candy: Because I am a single mom

Wowza Media Speaker: No, you're absolutely right. And I think times are changing. I'm seeing more women in the field, I go to a lot of major...

Commander Candy: It is changing...

Wowza Media Speaker: Uh...

Commander Candy: And that's the thing. What you do now is gonna affect you in the future. Because it is changing, just the sheer supply and demand.

Tech has not been white men dominated all these years because they're the only ones who know how to do computer programming.

Its a, you know... you know, it's how the society is. A lot of people have been kept out of a lot of fields over the years. And kept from getting proper education as well. It all starts with the education system. What classes you're given. What school you go to.

But that's changing because now with the internet and sites like mine, free programming tutorials. And lots of them!
And lots of information out there.
And people are achieving a lot and they are telling their stories of suceess.

Like my one friend on Twitter [@TaelurAlexis] She um, was working at Mc Donalds. She taught her self to code. Now she's like Twitter Famous.

Audience Member: What's your Twitter?

Commander Candy: @codingcommander, You can google Coding Commanders, like I'm on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, I have a website, a YouTube, I got a T-shirt shop, a donor box...

Find out more about my interations with Palm Beach Tech by watching my Palm Beach Tech Queen playlist:

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