What Are Your Papayas? Assimilating to Belong in Computing
Event Type
Broadening Participation in Computing
TimeWednesday, September 153:45pm - 5pm CDT
DescriptionSystems of power—such as structural racism, which upholds the ideology of white supremacy—are invisible and permeate into our everyday lives and, un/intentionally, into our work. As these systems influence what is held as “ideal”, and in turn what is marginalized, participants of the computing field (from minoritized groups) often have to assimilate ourselves and our work into dominant ideals that uphold these structures. Drawing inspiration from the idea of the papaya, a skin-lightening ingredient often used in the Philippines to acclimate to Western ideals of beauty, we center our discussion around the question: What are our papayas in computing?

We will examine our papayas, the ways in which we changed our identity, behaviors, or actions to assimilate into the field of computing. This workshop brings together academic (e.g., students, faculty, researchers) and industry (e.g., engineers, managers, researchers) professionals in computing to critically examine current practices and unpack the impacts of systems of power that shape our participation, research and design practices. Such examination is necessary to center equity and justice, and strive towards a critical consciousness in the CS field. To do so, we will investigate questions like the following: What are systems of power? Who has the right to participate? Who has the right to exclude? We will use group-based activities that center historicities and “outsider” knowledge to examine computing practices and theories to answer these questions. We will draft individual commitments that we can make to rid ourselves of our papayas.