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Re: Debian supports pridemonth?

Adrian Bunk <bunk@debian.org> writes:

> It is also a meaningful gesture if some people are excluded from being
> welcomed.

> Would Debian honor a month of white heterosexual men?

Do you think people with those attributes have been made systematically
unwelcome in Debian, free software, or the larger world of computing?

Speaking as a white heterosexual man, I feel very welcomed every day,
which means that there's very little need for any special effort to make
sure I know I'm welcomed.  Literally the entire structure of society does
that for me, constantly.

I would like to pass the feeling on to others who do not have that
constant background feeling in their life.

The specific answer to your question is that context matters.  A month of
white heterosexual men, in the context of world politics at this time, is
not about welcoming anyone.  It's about declaring whiteness,
heterosexuality, and maleness as the dominant default and everyone else as
lesser, disguised in bad faith as a parody of welcoming.  This sort of
nuance can't just be handwaved away.

That is, however, specific to your chosen example.  If you'd picked a
different example -- people for whom English is not their first language,
for instance -- you may find I agree with you entirely.  I *don't* think
such folks are always made welcome, and I'd love to see some celebration
in the project of the effort and thought that so many of our contributors
put into working on a project in a non-native language, particularly if
they would find some awareness and recognition from the rest of the
project meaningful.

In other words, I don't believe anyone is being made unwelcome *for being
white, heterosexual, or male*.  I do believe that there are people in our
project who are white, heterosexual, and male, and feel unwelcome.  To me,
those are very different things, and if there are gestures we could make
that would make those people feel welcome, I'm all in favor.  But I don't
believe celebrating *specifically* their whiteness, heterosexuality, or
maleness would be effective except to the degree that it's a coded
political message that we definitely don't want to send.

I strongly suspect that the root of the concern is not that people feel
like they're being made unwelcome because of their personal attributes,
but rather that they feel like they're being made unwelcome for their
political beliefs.  *That*, unfortunately, is a much larger problem that I
doubt we're going to be able to comprehensively solve because, among other
things, it's mutual.  I wouldn't be surprised if you felt like I'm
currently making you feel unwelcome for your political beliefs; you may be
surprised to know that you are currently making *me* feel unwelcome for my
political beliefs.  I don't have a solution for that other than both of us
just living with it, and trying not to poke at each other too hard, but
I'm not willing to cede celebrating Pride for our LGBTQ+ members as
"poking" in this context.

> Many people are offended by the fact that it is always the same groups
> that are being welcomed.

My default stance is to be happy for people when the project does
something that they find meaningful and supportive.  If some people get a
lot of support, that's wonderful -- I think everyone *should* get a lot of
support.  If someone is *not* getting the support they need, that's a
problem that hopefully we can address, but thinking of it as a zero-sum
game where we can't support some people if we want to support other people
is just not at all how I look at it.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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