Intel’s Diversity Initiative has Two Big Problems

Yesterday, Intel announced a new initiative designed to accelerate diversity in the field of technology. CEO Brian Krzanich announced during a press release that it was spearheading a $300 million dollar campaign to “help build a pipeline of female and under-represented engineers and computer scientists; to actively support hiring and retaining more women and under-represented minorities; and to fund programs to support more positive representation within the technology and gaming industries.”

An arguably laudable goal, and an uncomplicated premise. The idea is to open the doors for more female and ethnic minorities to be represented fairly in the tech industry. What they mean by fair representation remains to be seen, but taken at face value, I agree with such an initiative.

With that said, however, there were a few things with the presentation that caused more than a few eyebrows to be raised. Most notably, the fact that the International Game Developers Association and Feminist Frequency were partners in the initiative, among other, far less controversial groups.

As many are aware, the IGDA and Feminist Frequency have been actively involved in the GamerGate debacle almost since its inception and have come under heavy criticism from gamers, IGDA members and feminists alike for injecting themselves into the conversation that initially they had little, if anything, to do with.

Let’s break it down a little bit here.

IGDA had, at one point, wholeheartedly endorsed the infamous GamerGate Blocklist, a Twitter mass-blocking tool maintained by pseudo-feminist Randi Harper to protect innocent Twitter users from being harassed by individuals that were attempting to hold a bevy of games journalists found to be involved in nepotistic and incestuous relationships with their subjects. Initially, women and feminism was never a part of the equation. Regardless of how many people think it started, what it boils down to is that one woman in particular, an interactive fiction developer, was found to have been involved in a close personal relationship with a journalist who wrote favorable coverage of her project. Identity politics being what they are, it didn’t take long for third-wave modern feminists to equate the criticism received by both the developer and journalist to harassment of women in the video game industry. The journalists implicated in much of this mess then took it upon themselves to roll with that narrative. And thus, GamerGate was born.

Due to that, it didn’t take long for Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathon McIntosh to weigh in. Naturally, they believed the narrative. Gamers supporting increased accountability and ethics in games journalism were at a loss. What should have been a clear-cut acknowledge and apologise action by the games sites in question was blown entirely out of proportion. And the rhetoric, it seemed, was much more publicly acknowledged than the truth.

The gamers were quickly labelled misogynist, and less than two weeks later, no less than eleven articles were written proclaiming the identity of gamer to be obsolete due to the inherent misogyny and racism of video game culture.

When women and ethnic minorities spoke up to say they’d not experienced any such thing, the journalists were also quick to label them as sock puppets.

But I’m not here to talk about GamerGate. I’m here to talk about Intel’s initiative. I’m sorry, Intel. I cannot bring myself to support this initiative if IGDA and Feminist Frequency are in any way involved. And here’s why:

The Twitter blocklist endorsed by IGDA has been described by developers as poorly constructed and artbitrary. To the point where if you were following any of the so-called ringleaders of GamerGate (which include actor Adam Baldwin of Firefly fame and Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, feminist, New York Times bestselling author and philosophy professor) on Twitter, you were immediately blocked. It’s not uncommon for them to share followers for reasons completely unrelated to GamerGate. And yet, the blocklist was indiscriminate against them. Robert Rosario, president of the IGDA Puerto Rico chapter was one of them. Why? Simply because he believed the argument against collusion and corruption in games journalism had merit. This was not, in any way, a concern of IGDA. Rosario protested his addition to the blocklist and requested to be removed. His request was refused. IGDA received his resignation soon after.

Rosario had done nothing wrong. He had done nothing to prevent women from joining the industry. In fact, he’d done exactly the opposite.

But did it matter? Unfortunately, not. Why? Who can say. If I were to guess, it’s because his involvement didn’t fit the narrative. Mr. Rosario is no longer involved with IGDA. They were all too happy to throw him under the bus. A shining example of the diversity IGDA stands for.

And now we come on to Feminist Frequency.

There are a great many things to be said about Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathon McIntosh. But I feel it’s better to let them speak for themselves. Here’s just a small selection of tweets from the dastardly duo and how they truly feel about diversity.

Here’s Anita weighing in on what the real cause of mass shootings is. (Hint: It isn’t mental illness.)

And what about sexism? Surely someone interested in equality and diversity would have a balanced look at sexism, right?

… or not. I might remind you, Intel, that what she’s saying there has literally ZERO scientific backing. The Power + prejudice argument might sound nice to her, but it’s no more than opinion. Ill-formed, shallow opinion at that.

But enough about Anita. I don’t want to seem like I’m singling her out. Let’s talk about her partner-in-crime, Jonathon McIntosh. Surely he can’t be blindly sexist, right? Oh… wait.

Oh, but he can’t be all bad, right? Surely he’s not racist or anything. Especially against those in the tech industry.

Umm… Well… It’s not like he disputes studies or science or anything just because he has a pre-existing bias, right?

Right. So I leave the question to you, Intel. Are these clearly divisive people who are not only shouting down white males but women and minorities not because these gamers are bigoted misogynists, but because they value evidence over emotions, really someone you want in your corner?

To be clear, I’m all for the Intel initiative. Except for the involvement of IGDA and Feminist Frequency. I simply don’t trust anything that has their names attached to it. Because if this is their idea of diversity, shouting down men and white people and silencing their voices instead of including everyone, then I want nothing to do with it. I’d much rather surround myself with the logically-coherent and diverse voices of GamerGate than the incoherent, senseless ramblings of Jonathon McIntosh.

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12 thoughts on “Intel’s Diversity Initiative has Two Big Problems

  1. “Are these clearly divisive people who are not only shouting down white males but women and minorities because they value evidence over emotions really someone you want in your corner?”

    Um is “evidence” and “emotions” mixed up in this sentence? It’s the 2nd to last paragraph in this page.
    Great article that mostly addresses on what I think about their partnership.

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  2. “was found to have been involved in a close personal relationship with a journalist who wrote favorable coverage of her project.”

    I thought it was only alleged and then found that the journalist hadn’t written anything favorable at all (they were still involved). It still woke people up and made them hunt for more, tho.

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    • It depends. Do you consider writing an article about 50 games with a title that is a play on the title of her game, the screenshots is of her game (which is text based, so basically a picture of text), among 3 titles pointed out (from 50) hers was one and first with the following description: standouts: powerful Twine darling Depression Quest, favorable?

      Like

    • although no reviews, he did promoted the games in 2 articles, after working as a tester on the game.
      he also claimed he never knew her before some months prio to GG but years old twits proved him a liar

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  3. Just one small correction:
    “because they value evidence over emotions”
    I know you mean they value muh feels above else.

    Not only that but even at 23 years of age I’m still being brushed off by these people as “trying to be one of the kewl kidz” simply because I’m a woman, I’m mixed race and I’ve gamed for a looooooooong time and have never experienced any issues of “misogyny” or “harassment”.

    http://gamergate.me/2014/12/gaming-is-a-boys-club/
    http://zombieneith.tumblr.com/post/106920583343/fma-3-youre-a-token-to-the-sort-of-people

    Feel free to partner with these people by all means Intel, but don’t be fooled into thinking they have any real regard for “equality”.

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  4. Computer Science major at a major Cal St university, Most upper division CS classes are about 10%-25% female. Where exactly do they think these women are going to come from? Are communications majors like Anita going to go back to school to become computer engineers or scientists?

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    • That’s MY worry about diversity programs. I fully support the idea of diversity programs! I know that there’s a substantial population of women and minorities who have the talent and desire to succeed in STEM. And I want to see them succeed, flourish, and bring their minds, their experiences, and their histories to the industry.

      However, this success also requires education and experience. Education and experience are slow. A campaign today won’t show results in the industry until 2020 at the earliest.

      In other words, there’s no feedback. There’s no good way to know if the strategy is going to be successful, if it’s working, if it has problems that need to be addressed, if it’s utterly flawed… It’s a risk, and it’s an undertaking that can only be taken on faith that the methods being used are good and won’t make things worse.

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  5. “I’d much rather surround myself with the logically-coherent and diverse voices of GamerGate”

    ‘Logically-coherent’ might be giving us more credit than we deserve. I mean sure, we’re better than Fem Freq, but that’s a really low bar to clear.

    Like

  6. Rosario may or may not still be with IDGA, but may be under a gag order. One of his recent tweets mentioned that he cannot currently discuss the IDGA, the blocklist, or GamerGate.

    Like

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