[PD] Inclusiveness: Fratments of my Personal Experience

Joe Deken newblankets at newblankets.org
Wed Nov 28 16:19:16 CET 2018

I'd like to mak a contribution to discussing inclusiveness in Pd.  I'm not
sure I'll succeed; I'm uncomfortable Plato's regime of abstractions and
ideals. I'm even less comfortable when confronted by any/all labels which
try to express and encompass any unique and precious human life. What then
could I offer "inclusiveness and Pd?" Please allow some points  simply 
from my personal experience.

   Note below: I'll divvy up my remarks here and number them -- allowing
you easily to stop reading anywhere along the line. And if you decide to
stop reading quickly.   I still give you my sincere "thanks for

0) I am thankful to all people of goodwill who *act on their commitment.*
--  particularly to you who downplay *controversy and polarization* around
diverse alternative particular tactics we may actively employ.  I'll start
simply with a link to the inclusiveness video which PA indicated,  which
does not require youtube:


 Further (personal) perspective on inclusiveness and diversity ...

1) I'm fairly old and have worked on many things which I now realize have
been useless or worse.  But I have been a parent to five children. My
first child was a daughter, Kate.  Honestly I couldn't tell you if Kate
"identifies as female" because she and I don't speak.  Kate was born
beautiful and perfect and healthy with the smile of a cherub or a Buddha
that will never leave my eidetic   consciousness. But
on the day Kate was born she was also recently deceased. This beautiful
perfect girl at that point (by only a matter of hours) beyond any possible

2) So what? Shall we relay another medical malpractice tale, to bore us
all with its sheer repetitiveness?  We could simply state that Kate's
parents trusted the wrong people and let her die.  But a bit of truths is
not the truth; a picture is not a pixel.  So it's worth considering
additional matters of fact and on the
record from that dark day in 1976:
      The (male) obstetrician would not listen to Kate's (female & medical
professional) mother or take her seriously. Mom brought her unborn child
to this doc's hospital the evening before Kate's birth, in mortal

3) Without my resorting to abstractions, my daughter Kate's story forces
upon me this truth: Enormous harm is done by people whom we TRUST TOO MUCH
and by those who advertise that they "MEAN NO HARM."
      Great harm is done simply through "experts" and other gatekeepers. 
These "leaders" lack dedication to open observation; they lack the
simple modesty to question their own scope and skills.
Policymakers, warmongers and other experts casually absorb arrogance and
tunnel vision with their elitist miseducation. Elitism is a pollution as
endemic as plastics in our five major ocean gyres around the Earth.  But 
elitist self-preserving traditions and practices are  also hostile and
lethal to us all. So let's face it:  This pollution is another toxic waste
that "advanced society" has produced.  And let us now  remediate as best
we can. Sooner addressed, more lives rescued.

4) But no one likes sad stories. Not me.  After Kate's death, it turns out
that I was blessed with three incomprehensible and awesome sons. And then
my youngest arrived twelve years after Kate -- a miracle daughter, Claire.
 (Of coure _every_ child who survives their trip to arrive safely on our
little planet is a miracle. -- It's simply eye-opening to realize miracles
which are also everyday facts.)  There could not be any words to say what
it is to have a living daughter who is a kindred spirit and a
mathematician and a first grade teacher?  Rather a simple action: I'm
delighted to be able to send "PA's equality video from Pd-list" today to
my daughter Claire and her first-graders.

5) Why is my ramble relevant to all us denizens of Pd-land?  I'll convey
an unoriginal viewpoint/observation I first learned from Chris McCormick.
But I now appreciate how vital this aspect is. And why?  Through the
*works* of Miller and Katja and Iohannes and Fred Jan and Dan and Julian
and Connie and Susan and Liam and  Alexandros ... (you fill in the blanks
you can keep your own list going as long as you like-- I'm out of ink but
not out of people.)

    Consider this:

     The free/open community must dedicate itself beyond producing the
finest and most worthwhile software that humankind has ever seen.  
We also be working just as effectively together to cultivate

       --   better social practices in our self-organizing co-operative
community --

     It simply stands to reason. Building an inclusive and welcoming
community is vital.  If we don't nurture healthy and inclusive and
open communities, then our vaunted "free software" will never
actually be more
than a marginalized disguise for yet another class of elites --
"producers" or "experts" or "professors" -- dribbling their discards out
to "consumers," clients and pupils for cash.

6) What is the "higher ground" for free/open communites?" How do we react
to "good causes" such as medicine or education or software-professionalism
that are practiced badly and/or with inept
tactics?  From personal experience again, I can say that despite Kate's
death or maybe because of it, I also
eventually became Dean of a Medical school. "Better to light one candle ..."
     Or still personal and perhaps more relevant in terms of assisting
Pd-land: Our little non-profit, New Blankets was started in 2008.  In
a real sense NB meant as an *antidote* to the so-called "public
benefit"  non-profits I myself had spent 50 years vainly attempting
to assist.  In the first ten years of New Blankets, I have thus been
immersed in Pd-land through friendship with "Miller and friends." Thus you
may discount any biased thing I say. But I will opine this objectively: 
the Pd community is the finest example of what a free/open development
group can be.  (If you think I'm wrong, please tell me where they're doing
it better. The quest is never ending.)

7) If you observe that I myself rarely post to Pd-list you may reasonably
bring charges against me of a) first-degree lurking and b)
off-topic-abuse.  Guilty as charged.  But when questions of equality and
inclusiveness arise, I simply don't recognize "off topic for Pd." For me
and the folks so kindly  supporting New Blankets, these community-concerns
are a vital central activity.  These commitments also mandate tolerance
and thick-skinned-ness and carelessness-to-take-offense.
      Let us not obstruct any tactics which *may* help.  Why attack or
obstruct any benevolent practitioners based where they place
themselves on any left-right political spectrum? Who cares how much
true contributor may  believe/disbelieve any useful fictions like
"economic realities" or "intellectual property?"  Rather, modesty dictates
to us to allow consider it possible for  "People with the wrong
approach" to be righter than we are. They might be enlighted by insights
and techniques that have
simply  escaped our own ken.
      So let a thousand flowers bloom. Let's shamelessly seduce diversity
and inclusiveness over the threshold to join our tent-revivals
everywhere.  Let's cherish an ecology which *relies on* diversity
*welcomes contributions* -- let's strengthen this energy however and
wherever it chooses to spring up. Beauty graces us all.

8) A wonderful guide to free/open social practice can be found in the
indigenous Six Nations "constitution" which the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois)
people called their *Great Law of Peace*.


   -- btw GLoP from the Haudenosaunee was a key influence on the American
settlers during colonial times. GloP makes these indigenous people and
their democratic federation (through Ben Franklin and
Thomas Jefferson's absorption of their treaties and traditions ) emerge as
truly the
"Forgotten Founders" of the U.S.Constitution itself.  (And for the present
inclusiveness discussion, we should observe that the Haudenosaunee
matrilineal/matriarchy lessons were somehow ignored Franklin/Jefferson et
al in launching US of A.  --- Hence the rightful recognition of  U.S.
Founding Mothers has also been forgotten.


   "Thy mind is made straight; thy head is now combed; the seven
    crooks have been taken from thy body. Now thou, too, hast a New Mind."
   ¬óDeganawida (The Great Peacemaker)

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