I can sense the comments coming in already. ”But Sasha,” you ask, “isn’t that just establishing quotas? Aren’t we ignoring qualified dudes because we’re stocking our conferences with woman and minority speakers?” My answer is “No, don’t be so ridiculous and offensive by assuming that trying to create a diverse group of speakers means choosing less-qualified speakers in order to have more than white men talking.
Let me say that again, very clearly: If you think that ensuring a diverse representation of genders, races, and physical abilities in your conference speakers means creating a conference stocked with unqualified “tokens” you are making a prejudiced assumption. Your internalized bias is showing. Don’t freak out, it happens to the best of us. So take a deep breath, maybe have a laugh with yourself for freaking out like that and then look a little deeper for those experts who are just too busy doing work and making a name for themselves that you haven’t heard of them yet. Or maybe you have heard of them but didn’t think of them because our brains are lazy and go for the comfortable and familiar rather than stretch a little.
6 years ago