Re: [Gendispatch] revised

Dan Harkins <> Wed, 31 March 2021 13:35 UTC

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Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 06:35:43 -0700
From: Dan Harkins <>
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To: Mallory Knodel <>, "Salz, Rich" <>, "" <>
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Subject: Re: [Gendispatch] revised
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On 3/31/21 6:10 AM, Mallory Knodel wrote:
> Hi,
> On 2/23/21 10:12 AM, Salz, Rich wrote:
>>>   There seems to be a desire to have the group focus
>>      (first/primarily?) on race as the single axis in which to 
>> discuss diversity
>>      and inclusiveness, e.g. [1]-- and that would be very divisive and
>>      destructive.
>> Why do you think it would be destructive, as opposed to a first step 
>> because some think it is easier to handle?
> Slight redireciton, which might change the way this conversation plays 
> out:
> This work hasn't been chartered to focus on race; we're focussing on 
> racism. Racism is systemic social oppression, so it's within an 
> institution like the IETF's remit to ameliorate these larger social 
> ills as they play out within its community, eg as through initiatives 
> like using inclusive language. Defining racism as "systemic social oppression" means that 
certain groups
(those who do not wield systemic power) cannot commit racism. And that's 
just wrong.
Racism is actually the act of prejudice and antagonism against people on 
the basis
of their race. As the recent rash of anti-Asian violence in the USA 
committed by African-
Americans has shown, racism is not exclusive and can be practiced by 
anyone, regardless
of any power dynamic or "systemic" capability.

   And while this is, indeed, a social ill it is not up to a technical 
standards body like the IETF
to ameliorate it. We have protocols to finish!

   If you see racism at the IETF, call it out and see it gets dealt 
with. Nota bene: disparate impact
is not evidence of racism.

> We're not talking about individuals' racial identities.

    You're talking about a group's racial identity. You treat 
individuals as members of a
group. I still maintain that is divisive and destructive and I don't 
think it's a good path
for anyone to go down, certainly not us.


"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to
escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius