• Josh ApostolJosh Apostol, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    Malevolent conspiracy and systemic inequity are two very different things. Presuming that the issue is a singular and cohesive intent to marginalize and exclude certain groups of people is just going to keep you from seeing that these inequalities are perpetuated by aspects of society that seem to us totally fundamental. These are aspects that we tend to take 'as is', things which seem simply to be truth now and always, and that are effectively invisible to us (almost like gravity). This is the problem with trying to address institutionalized forms of racism, sexism, etc., like the ones being discussed in this thread about the privilege white men experience in SF (but also obviously more broadly). The values being addressed as problematic are so deeply fundamental to how we conceptualize society and our identity that we often just don't even perceive them at all.

    The ideas we're talking about aren't simply 'in theory', they can be observed in virtually all aspects of social life. If you're interested, there's a wealth of academic writing which is meant to study and understand this kind of stuff, and it's seriously interesting to learn about. The goal of academic articles is not to judge, it's to understand the how and why, and they provide a lot of insight into the kinds of institutions and interests that shape values of society at large. I think that designers are particularly in a position which requires them to take responsibility for educating themselves on these kinds of things. We play a not-insignificant role in shaping the messages of our clients and employers and remaining ignorant about the ways in which our work has the capacity to perpetuate inequities in society or marginalize groups within our audience is simply not acceptable if we feel any kind of moral obligation to those we affect with our work.

    6 points