GitHub Promotes ‘Reverse’ Racism and Sexism

GitHub, the repository hosting service used by many open source software projects, has adopted the Open Code of Conduct developed by the TODO Group. All seems good – except one thing.

“We hope sharing this with you will enable you to easily establish a code of conduct for your respective open-source communities,” said Brandon Keepers, Open Source Lead at GitHub. “If your project doesn’t already have a code of conduct, then we encourage you to check out the Open Code of Conduct as a starting point and adapt it to your community.”

The Open Code of Conduct is proposed as an easy-to-reuse code of conduct template for open source communities. “We believe open source communities should be a welcoming place for all participants,” notes the TODO Group announcement. “We strongly believe that a code of conduct helps set the ground rules for participation in communities and helps build a culture of respect.”

The Open Code of Conduct, which is shared on GitHub for open source development and feedback, is inspired by the code of conducts and diversity statements from several other communities, including Django, Python, Ubuntu, Contributor Covenant, and Geek Feminism.

‘Reverse’ Racism is Racism, ‘Reverse’ Sexism is Sexism

People“We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities,” states the Open Code of Conduct. “This includes, but is not limited to members of any race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, colour, immigration status, social and economic class, educational level, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability.”

So far, so good. The Open Code of Conduct encourages participants to be respectful, considerate, welcoming, friendly, and patient.

But then comes the problem.

“Our open source community prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort,” states the Open Code of Conduct.

We will not act on complaints regarding ‘reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’.

What this statement is saying is that attacking some persons for their ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation is not OK, but attacking some other persons for their ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation is OK. That directly contradicts previous statements in the Open Code of Conducts itself, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

And what is this thing about “‘reverse’ -isms”? Of course I understand what they mean, but terms like “racism” and “sexism” have a perfectly good, inclusive definition. Racism means hurting people based on their ethnicity, and sexism means hurting people based on their gender. So “reverse” racism is just racism, and “reverse” sexism is just sexism. “Positive discrimination” is an oxymoron – discrimination is always negative and bad. Very bad.

This part of the Open Code of Conduct seems written by those “Social Justice Warriors” (SJWs) who take liberalism to such extreme excesses that it becomes a sad, pathetic (and dangerous, too) caricature of itself. Of course, the inconsistency has been noticed and denounced. This Reddit thread reveals that previous version of the Open Code of Conduct didn’t include the “reverse” bit. In fact, other codes of conduct inspired by the TODO Group template, such as Facebook’s code, don’t include reverse -isms.

It’s worth noting that many outraged users have deleted their GitHub accounts in protest.

However, the Open Code of Conduct is supposed to be open source, so that hopefully the reverse bit will be reversed. Complaints and exhortations to restore equality and common sense are beginning to appear on GitHub.

Images from Pixabay and Mathias/Flickr.

Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.