Nate Silver’s new tech journalism startup is catching some flak lately for promoting a sexist attitude that excludes women — which he denies. They’re nerds, he says, they can’t possibly be anything like the piggish jocks who picked on them in high school. Not so, says Zeynep Tufekci. That logic doesn’t follow.
How does that relate to the Silver’s charged defense that his team could not be “bro-y” people? Simple: among the mostly male, smart, geeky groups that most programmers and technical people come from, there is a way of existing that is, yes, often fairly exclusionary to women but not in ways that Silver and his friends recognize as male privilege. When they think of male privilege, they are thinking of “macho” jocks and have come to believe their own habitus as completely natural, all about merit, and also in opposition to macho culture. But if brogrammer culture opposes macho culture, it does not follow that brogrammer culture is automatically welcoming to other excluded groups, such as women.
Oh, man, so familiar. If atheist culture opposes religious culture, or skeptic culture opposes woo-ey culture, it does not follow that they’re automatically inclusive. If anything, atheists and skeptics have tended to be more male-focused (admittedly, that is changing fast now) than the religious or New Age culture they opposed.
It takes effort by the oblivious majority to include an excluded minority. Doesn’t matter who the majority are. It’s a rule.