Technically Bullshit: Asian Geek Privilege

January 16, 2014

Tech Privilege
Tech Privilege

Coding machine simulators in C++ is a social construct?

How does a gifted model minority who’s capable of breezily assimilating into just about any society assimilate into a society which demands that minorities be hapless victims of stereotyping? Philip Guo put the A in Asian, honoring his parents with the correct answer: Guo is a hapless victim of the “gifted model minority” stereotype, an unworthy recipient of “Geek Privilege” who only succeeded at MIT and thrives in the IT profession because he fits the stereotype of a guy who would end up doing that.

In his Slate article, “Programmer Privilege“, Philip Guo feeds the credulous Leftist audience a string of very dubious and absurd claims about his life and times as a programmer, all fabricated around the rhetoric of “privilege”. He begins with a claim that he aced the Advanced Placement Computer Science test in high school while being a total novice, evidently doing well enough to get into MIT. He’s relying on the reader’s willingness to believe that Computer Science at MIT can be bullshitted the same way Humanities courses in much less demanding universities can be bullshitted.

Supposedly, he “never faced any micro-inequities that impeded [his] intellectual growth.” According to him, women and other minorities fail at engineering pursuits because of these insidious (and conveniently unfalsifiable) micro-inequities. These include seemingly harmless things like offering to help and asking about your skill level. If we would only believe that Black teens in America’s inner cities are MIT engineers, we would achieve it!

A cursory review of history isn’t kind to his thesis. Asian Americans have been repeatedly subjected to macro-inequities since they first washed up on our Western coast in the 19th century. Systemic (actual, non-imaginary) discrimination in the form of public harassment and laws designed to impede their success plagued them from shortly after their arrival. In the Japanese-American case, they’ve even been rounded up and thrown in concentration camps! Even now, in the 21st century, they’re systematically discriminated against in academia far more than any other identity group. If there were any basis to Privilege Theory, Asian-Americans would be an impoverished and illiterate underclass.

Computer ProgrammersAccording to him, the life of a programmer is very easy. He describes his extended lunch breaks and easygoing atmosphere, featuring an image of him smiling in front of his computer. It can be very grueling work, with long hours, unrealistic timetables, and a cutthroat “deliver or die” competitive atmosphere. There wasn’t anybody else in the office during my all-night coding binges to take a picture of me trying desperately to meet deadlines, eyes bloodshot, slumped down in my chair like I was melting. I’ve also performed manual labor in the sub-zero cold and the blazing heat for years; and for me, the depth of misery runs deeper with these cubicle jobs than with grueling labor jobs.

The actual situation is, I suspect, the exact opposite of what Philip Guo suggests. If your IQ is on the right tail of the bell curve, why would you subject yourself to a career which perpetually requires learning new material, features a veritable reversal of traditional seniority (gifted college graduates always nipping at your heels), and has relatively little esteem. If the rate of female and non-Asian minority participation in Computer Science is lower than it ought to be, it’s because those women and minorities are making a smart decision to duck that sweatshop lifestyle for a more respected and rewarding career. If anything, programming is a refuge for intelligent people who are locked out of the social privilege networks.

Programming is the sort of hyper-competitive meritocratic context where a racist hillbilly who barely graduated high school, who exclusively self-taught himself with nary a degree or certification to his name, can survive if (and only if) he delivers the code. Few other professions can be so perfectly boiled down to raw performance metrics as programming. Either you can do it or you can’t, and the project managers don’t have the time or inclination to ask about or care about the faceless drone who can deliver solid code on time and at a competitive rate.

Guo is part of a movement that’s attempting to change that, to encourage educators and project managers to go out of their way to privilege certain classes and types of individuals in the Computer Science field in the name of “social justice”. Being a white male who’s something of a social pariah even among his own white male comrades, I would be the first to be nudged out of the industry to make room for this flood of women and minorities. I’m not losing any sleep, because this market is simply too fluid and global to be manhandled in the way more and more professions are being manhandled by the quota-mongers.

If they try really hard, they may be able to funnel women and minorities away from more rewarding majors into my turf, but they’ll only stick along long enough to flee to the managerial jobs directly above the sweatshop. If Silicon Valley signs on to this Utopian scheme, then the real work and innovation will slip away, nearly overnight, to hotspots and remote locations just out of the reach of their social engineering designs. If I need to, I’ll start submitting my bids under a female minority avatar. The future of programming is tending toward global home-sourcing, a future which pretty much precludes enforcing any sort of social privilege: either the pro-white variety they despise or the anti-white variety they covet.

This will all be settled soon enough. Within the next decade, the Global South will be saturated with powerful and affordable computing devices. Education is rapidly becoming open source and massively distributed, with well-nourished Nigerian schoolchildren having access to the very same MIT lectures and advanced courses and materials that Philip benefited from. They’ll be thousands of miles away from the micro-aggressions and micro-inequities from White males supposedly holding American minorities back, and yet they won’t excel at programming the way Whites, Asians, and high-caste Indians tend to excel at programming.

There are innate and meaningful human differences which can’t be bullshitted around.

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