2017 Duke TechExpo

Puzzels

The 2017 DiversifyIT session at TechExpo this year involved a thought exercise via a group activity.  The audience divided up in to groups, and each group was given a children’s puzzle  The puzzles had been prepared so that some were missing a piece, some were in boxes that did not match the lid, and some were not modified at all.  The point of the exercise was to show how even when everyone is doing the same activity, everyone has different barriers to success.  As John Scalzi puts it, privilege means that a person lives their life on the lowest difficulty setting.  Everyone has challenges, and everyone’s challenges are different, but some groups have more barriers to success than others.

One group finished their puzzle in less than a minute, which prompted cries of ‘That’s not fair!’ There followed a robust discussion about what it means to have privilege, and how biases present barriers to whole groups of people.