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Equity can't be solved with a speech...

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DTElmore

The AIA made an honorable effort at encouraging equity in it's speeches today, but unfortunately the problem of equity (among many problems) will not be solved until we stop hiding behind architecture as a baffle for  larger deep rooted issues, and face some rather obvious elephants in the room. I had a few instances as a black student/professional when a professor or colleague has outright ignored me, or has told me that I will not be successful. It is a powerful thing to look identical to someone in resume but be treated different because of the way you look. It is hurtful and more discouraging than one can explain. Meanwhile, we've all seen instances of people benefiting from merely "looking the part" of an architect. Ultimately, it helps no one to keep my experiences quite. Are there any instances where you as a woman or person of color have also been discouraged from being an architect or overlooked? Please share.

 
Jun 22, 18 5:30 am

5 Featured Comments

All 28 Comments

geezertect

Being discouraged or ignored is part of this profession.  You need to develop a very thick skin, regardless of its color, if you're going to go into this overworked, underpaid, insecure and disrespected line of work.


Jun 22, 18 7:23 am
Non Sequitur
Our office has plenty of visible minorities, even a recent refuge. Almost 50/50 men-women split too. You just need to find an office not run by wankers.
Jun 22, 18 7:31 am
archinet

Yup been ignored all the time and belittled as a woman. The worst instances were being lashed out on verbally in front of others for no apparent reason either during a review as a student or at work after graduation. One day I finally learned to have the courage that when someone yells at me at work for no reason to yell back even louder until they stop. Sounds crazy but works, as women we are constantly being told to be polite and pleasant but pushing back with some people is the only way. Remember the jerks, avoid and ignore them at all costs. Leave the office if you have to and always call them out on their bs. Learn to push back.  

Jun 22, 18 7:50 am
Non Sequitur

where do you work where yelling is a thing?

tintt

I never yell back. I don't think you should. Just shrink them down, put them in a box and ship them to the north pole.

Non Sequitur

Hey, the north pole is ours. Send your problems elsewhere and leave the great white north alone.

tintt

Too late. I've sent a bunch of bad boys up there in boxes over the years.

Volunteer

Uh, the north pole is in international waters in the Arctic Ocean. The ocean depth at the pole is 13,000 feet.

archinet

The boss never yelled as much at men then at women. He did yell at men but less so. He also would say misongynist things from time to time, and women never made it as far as men in terms of promotions. He would not yell at me only because I was a woman, he yelled to try to scare me to work harder, but this tactic was never done to men. I quit after that. 

Jun 22, 18 8:52 am
archi_dude

White Dude’s options that sucks at job - “I’ll have to just do better and try harder.”


Female/Minority’s options that sucks at job - “Inequality!!!! I’ll sue! I’ll tell AIA, Twitter storm you!” 


Obviously not every situation but falling back on the everything is sexist narrative is a lot easier than questioning if you just suck.

Jun 22, 18 9:12 am
tintt

For the record, I never hear white dudes say, "I'll just have to try harder." Thanks for the laugh.

archi_dude

Never? Okay.....

SneakyPete

Jesus, dude. Do you even empathy?

Featured Comment
tintt

That stuff didn't happen in school, but practice, yes, all the time. The president of a large contracting and development company used to call me when I was a 25 year old fresh intern to berate me and ask stuff like "Who do you think you are?" and "What makes you think you are qualified to do this job?" and "What did they even teach you in school?" in a nasty tone. I just did the work. Funny how he never actually had a problem with my work, it was always complete, correct, and on time, just with me for being female with a degree instead of a man with a construction background. That man resembled George Costanza, short, bald, you know, manly. lol. He was so jealous, but did he need to be? He had it better than most architects. He married the daughter of the founder of the company and so that's how he got his job. He desperately wanted to be an architect but was mad that his experience counted for pretty much nothing and that he would have to go back to school to study things that were silly in his small, undeveloped mind like history and art.

A friend of a friend of mine who was a tradesman of some sort once asked me what I did. I said I was an architect. He got up from his chair, came and hovered over me and spit at me, "No. No, you are not." 

In college, my own grandfather told me outright, "Women can't be architects. Better study something else."

I was taken off a job once because the contractor kept calling me the little girl to the client. My boss backed me up but eventually just assigned me to another job and let a man handle it. 

A landscape architect called me a little ******* ***** because I wouldn't change the height of the fence. I told my boss, who called his boss, who fired him. I see him on LinkedIn sometimes, he is a salesman now.

I've also had plenty of experiences that are the opposite. People telling me they are thankful I'm there, that I'm so talented and creative and they love working with me. Contractors, suppliers and subs who go out of their way to say nice things to me. Had a supplier call me and tell me he has never seen such well-prepared documents. Had a contractor who used to smile when he saw me coming instead of my boss. He would greet me at my car and walk me into the jobsite and once muttered something about how glad it was me doing CA and not that a-hole. So I focus on those moments. Had a group of workers build a ramp for me and another female so we wouldn't have to step over a foundation wall.

Jun 22, 18 9:36 am
Non Sequitur

I'm not really able to add much value here on account of my glorious appendage, however, we work with one project management firm who makes it their mission to toss fresh female staff directly in the line of fire on the construction site... with good results and support.

tintt

There were many, many times where I did not have any trouble. My first internship was with a contractor and I fit in really well there. Was on the jobsite a lot and they didn't give me any crap. Quite the opposite, they liked having females around. Just sharing so others know they are not crazy and that discrimination does happen.

tintt

(moved)

proto

"A friend of a friend of mine who was a tradesman of some sort once asked me what I did. I said I was an architect. He got up from his chair, came and hovered over me and spit at me, "No. No, you are not." " ...JFC, tintt, that's awful

tintt

On a related note, my husband was in school to be an elementary school teacher. The director of the program told him he needed to be more.... (pause) like a woman. Ummmmm. People are so dumb. Just bulldoze them over. 

Jun 22, 18 9:44 am
Featured Comment

People are so cavalier about dismissing other folks claims of discrimination, that is  until it happens to them.  Architects can be horrible people and treat people like dirt. The profession is progressing to correct this but progress is always too slow.  The discrimination in education and in work is not just limited to people of color or women but the LGBT folks out there get discriminated against too.

We need solutions and we need to put the horrible folks who refuse to evolve on this out of business.

Over and OUT

Peter N

Jun 22, 18 9:46 am
DTElmore

The disrespect due to race or gender is different and more damaging than the "run of the mill" professional disrespect certain other people are describing. Racism and sexism falsely presume you have negative qualities, vs professional disrespect is based on true deficiencies. The idea that you're not liked for reasons that are false and beyond your control causes pain in victims that requires more than a thick skin. Despite society telling women and minorities to be strong and suck it up, it's not that easy, and quite invalidating of our experiences frankly. The lack of women and minorities in the profession is a symptom of ideals that start at "Suck it up" and run all the way up to outright hatred. We need to address the causes, not that symptom. 

Jun 22, 18 10:19 am
curtkram

part of the solution is that people in architecture, as with people in all professions, need to be able to speak freely about these situations without fearing ostracization or retaliation so when it happens it's identified and stopped. it's not an architectural problem that we can design ourselves out of, but it is a professional problem we can professional ourselves out of.

curtkram

honestly i don't have a very specific answer, but saying something like "it's ok to talk about this" is where i'm leaning. it's not a policy problem, it's an attitude or perspective problem. but, if policy is the only tool you have, it has to somehow be used to influence the attitude and perspective.

curtkram

when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. if it isn't a policy, then the only tool AIA has is a speech right? still on us to do it right.

tintt

Note the patterns here. It is they who are incompetent themselves that discriminate for race or gender reasons. So when it happens, chuckle to yourself that you now know how insecure they are. 

Jun 22, 18 10:38 am
Xenakis

I goes both ways - I'm a minority white guy at a mostly Asian(Chinese and Indian) architecture firm - Do you think I like it when my co-workers speak mandarin in front of me and laugh? 


Jun 22, 18 12:16 pm
thisisnotmyname

Ideally, your firm management shouldn't permit communication within the office that all employees can't understand. It's pretty inconsiderate.

SneakyPete

So should Xenakis be forced to learn Mandarin or should all the rest be forced to use English? Xenakis, I'm not taking a shot at you, I'm intrigued by this and would like this' thoughts. Yours, too.

thisisnotmyname

I once worked at a firm that is very prominent in AIA circles.  

In order to appear diverse, the firm makes sure to always have 1 or 2 black employees on staff at any given time.   

The secret is that these black employees always got the crappiest work assignments, were always the first to be laid off, and would get fired for things like being late to work, when others would just get a warning.


Jun 22, 18 12:25 pm
Xenakis

I've had to just accept it - What are you going to do? -

well, being the best at your performance negates discrimination - that's really the solution - idiots of all stripes are discriminated against

Jun 22, 18 2:58 pm
DTElmore

Discriminating people don't want to see minorities succeed. You need a better understanding of how discrimination works. Ask your minority friends of their experiences. I have a degree from an ivy league school and am one of the best architects in my office, that doesn't stop me from experiencing discrimination.

SneakyPete

To echo DTEImore, If someone is discriminating against you because of non-performance reasons, being the best doesn't alter the underlying reasons they dislike you.

Xenakis

thisisnotmyname

Ideally, your firm management shouldn't permit communication within the office that all employees can't understand. It's pretty inconsiderate.

I worked at one Indian firm in the South Bay, where we had a real mashup of people, Indians, Chinese, Philipinos, Persians and  3 of us "dumb vanillas" our CEO made a rule that only English be spoken

Jun 22, 18 3:37 pm
SneakyPete

Please ignore my post above, you answered it here. I was also unaware of the location of the firm. I was imagining it overseas, not in South Bay.

Featured Comment

I’m going to expand on the comment tintt made above about trends. I’m seeing a few as well.

A. This is tough profession and you should just suck it up. If you can’t go do something else. Read: I felt abused (not questioning the validity of this claim) when I was I was school/interning and I feel I have the right to pass that abuse along to others because “that’s the way things are done.”   Q: Given the concerns with mental health and welfare in the profession, how can you improve things if you passively want the right to abuse whomever you feel deserves it?

B. Archicture can’t solve this problem. Correct, architecture can’t solve this problem. But the OP was talking about people and not architecture. People can solve things. They can expect better and do better. Hiding behind the amorphous blob called architecture is a cop out. But wait- what about Social club, social housing... Those projects - built and paper- were responses to specific/social cultural needs. Some were humble, other grand, but they responded human needs. Also consider the agora and the pynx. Social spaces that were created in contraposto, but both responded to the needs of society. Consider what would happen if we expanded the canon beyond social housing to consider other architectures that were the product of social response.

C. I feel like I’m being marginalized too (again, not questioning the validity of this claim). There’s something interesting about these types of responses, the assumption that you would never find yourself in this position because of the identity you project. Consider that uncomfortable position and think about the people who are taught to live with that on a daily basis. 

D. Policy doesn’t fix things. Correct, policy does not fix things- when the plenum does not support it. Change the plenum and applicable policy can be constructed. 

But yes, an empty speech and toothless praise of speech that was never really acted upon are useless until then. In the meantime, thank you to those who testified.


And apologies for the long post.

Jun 23, 18 12:07 am
Featured Comment
DTElmore

In response to (D), what world are you living in? It's a democracy for white men, the rights of everyone were reluctantly tacked onto the constitution in hind sight and fairly recently. One day the world will be what you described above, but not yet. Do some research dude. It's a conservative country, designed for the success of one type of person, with systemic road blocks for everyone else.

Featured Comment

The Marshall McLuhan spin only works so much. 

Plenums are not “the media.” They are groups that create a level of expectation. And before we get into the “that’s my point, the media sets our expectations,” bit- consider that a group of people are asking for more despite what you think media is saying. Also consider if the media is so pervasive, they are affecting our expectations for standards of care- which mean all the building codes that receive to much praise and chatter on this site are useless references.

curtkram

toxic masculinity is bad. it just shows you have bad manners and your parents don't know how to raise little boys to be men.

curtkram

without going too much into eisenman's bourgeoisie beliefs of architects, i think what we're looking at with meh's comments is something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N9nVLXMhPc

curtkram

"toxic" is a word that has meaning. also, the video from idiocracy isn't about poor people, it's about dumb people. you can google dysgenic fertility theory. average IQ has been falling globally since around 1975. the point is, of course, that you weren't raised to have good manners, and instead choose to be "toxic," because you grew up in an environment of dumb people.

curtkram

yes sir, i think that would count as "toxic." especially the street fight part.

curtkram's comment has been hidden
curtkram

careful sir apple. sexual harassment is toxic too, but i think it's ok to ask for a date as long as you're polite about it and don't act out if he says no.

I think it's important to consider that not all racial and gender discrimination results from explicitly racist and sexist intentions.  Dan Lyons has an interesting take on how a form of "inadvertent" discrimination takes place in the tech industry, at the 25 minute mark in this video:

However, should somebody who hires people like themselves who "fit the culture," and doesn't think about it too deeply, be described as racist or sexist, even if the intent wasn't there?  I don't have an answer to that. 

Jun 23, 18 1:02 pm
tintt

I think there's a difference between intentionally discriminating and not. We all discriminate. But doing it blatantly is what needs to stop.

Xenakis
SneakyPete

If the dominant language Ina firm is Hindi, Mandarin or Tagalog, even those those offices are in give US, you need to learn the dominant language. E.g., if I was to go to Argentina and work there, sure they no English, but I would have to learn Spanish, because that's their language
Jun 23, 18 5:12 pm
Xenakis

Sorry about my last post, I was riding in Bart(Bay Area subway/crazy train) and the tracks were bouncy as if freight trains ran on them - I don't know what they do with all the money we give them in fare increases 

Jun 23, 18 9:25 pm
tintt

This convo is wacky. 


I think it's worth noting that the hardest parts about being an architect aren't math, spatial, physics, engineering, or technical-based but social and political... things are done by unspoken rules... things rooted in customs are shared by certain groups. 

Jun 24, 18 7:48 pm
tintt

A few certain types of human behavior.

Non Sequitur

Hey, people without penises just got permission to drive in Saudi-Arabia today. What a world we live in.

randomised

In today's paper:

Women allowed to drive in 'modern'Saudi-Arabia

"Now I finally don't have to go by bus when I want to watch the stoning of a homosexual"

Non Sequitur

Rando, are tough eating Saudi Arabia has evolved far enough to require seat belts in motor vehicles? This is fantastic news.

tintt

What was stopping women from driving before? Lack of spatial skills?

Non Sequitur

wow... my attempt at a response on the bus is terrible. "are tough" I have no idea how that got through. Tintt, you know the answer to that question. .. something to do with kitchen equipment I believe.

randomised

"What was stopping women from driving before? Lack of spatial skills?"

Lack of vision?



tintt

Oh. Feel silly now.

randomised

Equity also can't be solved by deleting comments...

Jun 25, 18 4:08 pm
LITS4FormZ

Late to the party as well but there were at least 140 comments this AM. Now only 95? How inappropriate were those 50 or so deleted comments?

Archinect

It’s called moderation. While we are 100% open to opposing view points from all perspectives, we do not tolerate hate speech or discrimination in our forum. All of the removed comments were either from users exhibiting that type of behavior or by other users responding to those comments and have requested that their comments be deleted as they are now out of context.

randomised

In my opinion not at all, I disagreed with some but don't think silencing the debate is productive...it helps to know who the assholes and bigots are. But mostly I'm sad and disappointed my 'Godwin's Law of Equity' was deleted.

LITS4FormZ

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Non Sequitur

but most of the assholes are one-shot ponies on disposable accounts.

RickB-Astoria

Archinect, while I didn't explicitly request my comments and replies to the topic to be deleted (nor were they hate speech [other than maybe great disdain for Donald Trump] or discrimination), I thank you for removing it especially when the comments would be lingering around without context after the person going by 'meh2018' was purged. Cleaning it up and the rest of the noise is fine. I rather such posts be removed when out of context than to leave it and looking rather odd. If a certain post is totally out of line with Archinect policy, by all means, delete it. If a post isn't, it might have been nice to be asked but I'm okay with it. 

randomised

@archinect, I get that and I kind of support that kind of moderation (although in moderation!), it is just mildly ironic considering the topic. I didn't want my comment deleted, but perhaps if it is a reply comment it will have to go if the initial comment is "moderated" to the afterlife. Keep up the good work though...

Archinect, I would ask that Tintt’s observations be included as a feature comment given that I built upon hers.

Jun 26, 18 9:46 am
I can’t bring myself to read this entire thread because so many of the comments are just dumb knee-jerk-reaction type thoughtless word salad.

But of course as usual curtkram and Marc are doing the hard, thoughtful work of trying to enlighten others, and of course a bunch of white guys are saying “That’s just how it is, grow a thicker skin ya pussy”.

I spent many hours this last week at the official AIA Conference 2018 and also at the simultaneous counter-programmed Think In put on by The Architecture Lobby. Old white guys (I’m a 51yo white woman so I’m closer to you all than you may like): things are not going to stay the way they have always been. Things are changing FAST. Saying that the old abusive self-flagellating practice of our discipline is eternal is like believing that hand-drawn ink on Mylar will NEVER be overtaken by CAD.

And tintt thanks for always bringing your matter-of-fact realness to it. Old white guys: if you know any woman in architecture then you know someone who has experienced belittling treatment by men.
Jun 26, 18 8:11 pm
RickB-Astoria

As long as the labeling bullshit continues, there can NEVER be a rational debate between the irrational label slinging people.

proto

thanks for adding your thoughts, donna...it seems minor, but putting personal perspective in for the commenters & especially silent readers is worthwhile. i'm a middle aged white guy who drew on mylar in school but not ever at work. time marches on, and power positions are shifting to be less male & less white, but not necessarily quickly...more communication = more awareness

Non Sequitur

I've been a mostly silent reader in here. I'd like to contribute but I don't think I have anything worthy to contribute.

citizen

Over the years I've observed the editing and editorializing here by Archinect to be highly selective and targeted.  Entire nuclear threads go on and on untouched, but a single comment may disappear due to... what?  What's the offense?  Whose toes must be avoided to escape censorship?

Jun 27, 18 2:05 pm
curtkram

well, jla is still here so we get the token right wing nutter voice.

The only color that really matters is green.

Not Kermit green.

/end thread

Jun 27, 18 8:16 pm

Equity can't be solved with a speech...

But can be by organisational structure.

Jun 27, 18 9:16 pm

Yeah, firstly would be to use your real name and stand by what you say. Otherwise you appear robotic and less deserving of human interaction.

tintt

I think this should be my last post on archinect. I just want to say that all of you wouldn't be anywhere, most definitely not an asshole architect, if it weren't for a woman, perhaps of color, who taught you to read, wiped the snot from your nose, made you eat your veggies, and washed your dirty superman underoos. Good luck all.

Jun 27, 18 9:18 pm

Not to mention squeezed you out into existence.

curtkram

you can't leave us tintt!

tintt can do whatever she wants. But her calm, reasonable voice and dry wit will be missed.

I'm hiding all of jla-x's posts. Because he offers nothing of value to the forum. He posts the same damn un-nuanced bullshit on every single topic. So many other regulars have so much better thoughts to share.

But tint it would suck if you went away.

Non Sequitur

tintt....no. I guess I could resort to spying on your beer consumption instead. Less fun tho

tintt leaves and we're stuck with jla-x. Perfect.

threadkilla

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/6/26/17506970/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-joe-crowley-primary-new-york

"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran boldly to the left of New York Rep. Joe Crowley — and won"

Meanwhile on archinect: one more interesting, boldly sane voice goes silent as the macho dumpster drivel runs rampant

RickB-Astoria

Chill out. Lets drop the gender war for crying out loud. Just because a woman birthed men and woman, it is irrelevant as much as it is than without men's semen, neither men & women would exist today. The whole argument is irrelevant. This forum is about architecture. The aptitude for architecture is not about whether you have a cock or a vagina. It is about your ability to apply your knowledge and skills you learn to creating effective design solutions to your clients needs and desires in a cost effective manner. Add to that, skin color and ethnicity are irrelevant factors to having aptitude to architecture.

Non Sequitur

Careful there Chris... you're entering the danger zone.

sterling archer quotes - Google Search

For this pattern to change the community needs to change as a whole instead of relying upon a handful of people to do the work. I imagine people are saying "that's exactly my point." But the point has never been about policing, it's been about the expectations for behavior the community has as a whole.

randomised

Sorry Donna but I think you're stretching your moderator powers here, just because you think someone's posts don't contribute to the thread. I found jla-x posts contributing more to this conversation than people simply calling out the old white guys yet again ;)

Non Sequitur

“Of course I’ve gone mad with power! Have you ever tried going mad without power? It’s boring and no one listens to you!" — Russ Cargill

curtkram

if you want to move a community, you need leadership. people follow leaders. the handful of people we need will be strong, charismatic leaders that people want to follow, and they use things like speeches to get people to do the right thing. i did not hear the speech the AIA made that the OP is referencing, but speeches like that are how leaders get their message across. i don't see what other way you're going to get a bunch of disparate people to move in the same direction.

Deleted. Not entering the black hole. Sorry, don't know what got into me.

tintt

I'm trying to quit archinect. I need AA.

tintt

Not AIA.

Non Sequitur

I need Batman

I need a drink.

curtkram

you're one of us tintt! the tribe wouldn't be the same without you :(

Non Sequitur

I'm drinking a pineapple sour beer. It's not great... pretty shitty actually.

curtkram

four roses. best bourobn ever. sort of.donna, sorry to say this, but jla is part of the tribe too despite him being, you know, him.

tintt

I have needs. :)

tintt

My husband was standing over my shoulder as I typed that. I got in trouble for 1 sec.

curtkram

well, if you need an archinector to meet your needs.. i'm just sayin.....

tintt

Edit what?

tintt

I have needs for non-censorship. And politeness/decency.

tintt

If you can do that, I'm all yours.

curtkram

Chris I'm pretty sure #metoo will still let me flirt with pretty girls a little bit

curtkram

Chris, I'm confident she'll be able to resist my socially awkward charms

curtkram, randomised, you guys are right: I was wrong to hide jla-x's comments. The ones I hid, that is. I know I accidentally said up there that "I'm hiding all of jla-x's posts" but I only hid 3. Anything else he's said that's been hid was by other moderators. Archinect's moderation is done by an unconnected crowd, there is no single control.

And even though I shouldn't have hidden them, I'm not going to unhide them because they contribute nothing. This is to everyone here: if you're a white person, and being called a white person gets your panties in a bunch, you need to do some pretty deep self-reflection about why you feel offended. This is the zeitgeist we are in: older white people like me need to shut up a little bit.

tintt

(my hubby... he is always asking what Chrissy and Donna are up to... He likes archinectors. I think he wishes he had a tribe.)

randomised

"This is the zeitgeist we are in: older white people like me need to shut up a little bit."

More people should be heard and take part in the conversation, not less by telling only some people (based on their racial features, gender or age or whatever) to shut up, even for a little bit.

tintt

Speech is the only thing that ever did and will change anything. Keep speaking, all of you.



Jun 29, 18 12:56 am
Non Sequitur

What about tarifs? Do those solve the problem? Because that’s all I seem to see everywhere.

tintt

Tariffs ARE speech. Authority and author have to same root.

tintt

And chess is something only guys are interested in being good at. I'll beat you anyways.

Jun 29, 18 1:23 am
Non Sequitur

I don’t like chess. I mean, I know how to play and understand strategy, but I find it boring. Whenever I do play with people who take it seriously, I make it my mission to play as random as possible to mess with their heads. Risk on the other, I’ll take on any challenger!

tintt

I played a ranked player once and that's how I threw him off, being random. I didn't win but scared him.

Non Sequitur

Exactly. I don't play to win, I play to make things burn.

I'm a mediocre player, but I really enjoy the game. If anyone's up for a casual game sometime , I'm nickowski on the lichess app.

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