As a “person of color”, I deeply disagree with how Adria Richards, through her actions at PyCon, and by her recent statement, is propagating the idea that blacks and females must be catered to, and treated with kid gloves.
I’ve dealt with my fair share of oppression. I had a teacher in grade school openly discourage black students from aspiring to be like the ambitious characters in The Cosby Show because she felt they were “grossly unrealistic.” And I’ve been called a nigger at least once in 3 of the predominantly white neighborhoods I lived in.
But I didn’t let these bad experiences turn me into a vigilante, or start demanding that people treat me in a special way. I studied and worked my ass off, and built a career around my merits, not my race, or gender.
I don’t condone the hostile backlash Richards has received, nor do I object to her right to speak out. My biggest issue is with her political strategy, which, thus far, has proven to be very divisive.
Sexism, racism and homophobia are alive and well in many parts of our society, but these issues shouldn’t be countered with acts of malice. To get past race and gender issues, we can’t walk through life with race and gender at the forefront of our thoughts, constantly bringing attention to what we are instead of who we are, and the work we do.
I don’t want to be seen as a “person of color.” I’d rather just be a “person.”