Restore meritocracy in CS using an obscure functional language.

This post was originally published at Geek Feminism.

Students who did not have the privilege of hacking since they were young are at a disadvantage in Computer Science (CS). However, CS departments can teach introductory programming using an obscure functional programming language to limit the young hackers’ advantage. Most students with prior coding experience learned a procedural programming paradigm, so forcing all students to struggle with learning a new, functional language helps restore meritocracy.

In the blog comments, Kite recounts hir experience with an intro CS course:

While I think my course was pretty sucky, one good thing it did was to knock the wind out of the sails of those guys who’d been programming for ages – by starting us on an obscure functional programming language called Miranda (oh did it ever raise a whole lotta grumbles from the boasters). Only after that did we do procedural stuff like C, and then onto C++. Mind you, the whole course seemed determined to be as academic and un-real-world as possible, so C++ was probably the most career-relevant thing we got out of it! […]

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White people think that ‘racism’ means racial conflict.

For the overwhelming majority of white people, if racism is completely eliminated, the ideal situation is symbolized by the image of people of all colours holding hands in peace. The worst-case outcome of racism, for most white people, is a “race war”. However, unlike institutional and systemic racism against people of colour, only the “race war” scenario would directly hurt white people. That is, when white ‘antiracists’ focus on preventing racial conflict over correcting racial inequity, they are acting selfishly to protect their racial group.

In reality, the image of a racism-free utopia should not be associated with peace. The image of a racism-free utopia should be associated with equity. Peace is better than war, but true antiracist efforts should not give priority to peace over equity. Sometimes conflict and confrontation* are necessary to bring about equity.

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