Web3 and the entire blockchain ecosystem are still in their infancy. Yet promises of decentralization, autonomy and opportunity for all are often thrown around. The reality is, that very few underrepresented folks are accessing these promises. This is not much different today than when I first came to web3 in May 2021.
I'm a queer, neurodiverse, woman with an invisible disability. So this landscape struck me as all too familiar. In 2016 I left professional sports. My advice and insights were requested in instances of "crisis" and queerness tokenized. While the head of Human Resources explained diversity and inclusion were not a business priority.
So when I saw the inequity so clearly, I felt a responsibility to educate, raise awareness, and amplify all underrepresented people. For me, that's beyond commonly addressed areas of race, gender and sexual orientation. It extends to faith, age, physical/neurological ability, geography, language, class, education, and more.
Underrepresented people can empathize with each other's lived experiences and are great allies as a result. There's infinite power in that.
In this series, I'll be highlighting themes from my "INCLUSION IN NFTs 101" tweets to explore ways we can make web3 more inclusive for all people.
Use Inclusive Language
There are some basic principles for using inclusive language. Whether you're speaking in Spaces, tweeting, posting to discord, or creating company messaging, keep the below in mind:
- Avoid gendered language like "man", "woman", "guys", etc. Instead, use gender-neutral terms like "folks", "ya'll", "humans" or "people". You can also use they/them/their pronouns if you're unaware of someone's pronouns.
- Don't use words that were/are used to oppress others. Regardless of their etymology.
- Try not to speak in binaries. Gender isn't composed of only men or women and sexual orientation isn't only straight or gay.
Hire Diverse Teams
Not only is hiring diverse teams the "right thing to do", but it's also proven to make your business stronger. Teams of people with different lived experiences help ensure you have multiple perspectives guiding decisions, solving problems, and building solutions. Much better than a group of people, with the same perspectives, operating in an echo chamber of their similar experiences.
Remember though, true diversity is intersectional and permeates all levels of the organization. Hiring a junior, white, cis, straight, woman does not mean you're diverse.
Show People They're Seen
Most people just want to be seen. They want their lived experiences acknowledged and what they represent celebrated. Not just among their peers, but by the entire ecosystem.
Not feeling seen, means not feeling welcomed. Making you think that you don't belong in web3. If you don't belong and aren't welcomed, it's hard to believe you can access the same opportunities you see your white peers receiving.
Simple exercises you can use to let folks know you see them:
- call out their name and work in Twitter spaces
- retweet/quote tweet their work
- acknowledge and celebrate holidays, even if you don't observe them
- speak up and out about timely events, even if you're not affected
Many claim that Web3 will bring opportunities greater than our wildest dreams. It's more important than that we're intentional about making this space, and the communities within it, more inclusive.
Without intention, we risk repeating many of the systems and power dynamics many of us ran from in web2. With intention, those of us building this space and its structures have an opportunity to do things differently. For ourselves and our communities.
In upcoming articles, we'll explore more ways we can accomplish this goal.