And then there’s the actual culture of the tech trade press, which has a fair number of often-unacknowledged blind spots. The most prominent voices of the Apple blogging community, for instance — John Gruber, Marco Arment, Jim Dalrymple, Jason Snell, Shawn Blanc, Stephen Hackett, John Siracusa, and so on — are all white men.
This doesn’t taint their opinions, but it does limit aspects of their perspective.
Fantastic piece that I think we should all read.
I don’t think “diversity”—the composition of a group’s racial, gender or other characteristics—is per se important. If it so happens that a group, company, conference panel, whatever, is mostly white, mostly black, mostly male, mostly female, that isn’t wrong in and of itself.
But as Bouie points out, what is important is whether that composition is due to some factor that locks out (or makes it more difficult) for non-white people or females to get access to it. If certain people are less able to break into technology writing (or software development or whatever else) because of their background, then that’s something that we should work to fix. It’s something we should work to fix both because everyone deserves to be able to enter the technology fold, and because it devalues our community and the work that we do.
The more homogeneous the community is, the less able we are to understand the needs and desires of different people, and therefore of building things that people actually love using. Worse, it inhibits new ideas, because our backgrounds and interests are that much more limited. What problems aren’t we solving, and what opportunities are we blind to, because of it?
Most of us believe that technology is a democratic force—that is, it’s something that empowers people to be heard, to live better lives, and to do great work. It undoubtedly is, but if we believe that, we also should work to actively make it more open and accessible.