Making discussions in EA groups inclusive

A draft es­say re­cently posted in the Diver­sity & In­clu­sion in EA Face­book group sparked con­ver­sa­tion among EAs about what is helpful and what is harm­ful when it comes to di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion in this com­mu­nity. 12+ anony­mous con­trib­u­tors sub­se­quently crafted the fol­low­ing ar­ti­cle to ex­plain the effects of alienat­ing con­ver­sa­tions for those in marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties.

Con­tent note

Un­der “What is it like?” con­de­scend­ing views to­wards women are men­tioned. Un­der “Ex­am­ple top­ics” rape, abuse, vic­tim blam­ing, eu­gen­ics, mercy kil­lings, au­ton­omy, use­ful­ness-based worth and gaslight­ing are men­tioned. Un­der “Un­sure about a dis­cus­sion topic?” a view that ques­tions the equal worth of dis­abled peo­ple is men­tioned.

Doc­u­ment purpose

This doc­u­ment is writ­ten by 10 EAs be­long­ing to differ­ent groups that are un­der­rep­re­sented in EA, who have ex­pe­rienced feel­ing alienated by cer­tain dis­cus­sions within the EA com­mu­nity. We want to provide in­for­ma­tion about what kind of dis­cus­sions we have ex­pe­rienced as alienat­ing and why, so that some of the im­pacts of such dis­cus­sions can be bet­ter ex­am­ined.

It is our be­lief that un­der­rep­re­sented groups should have a place in the wider EA com­mu­nity. The scope of this doc­u­ment is not to ar­gue for the in­clu­sion of un­der­rep­re­sented groups in the EA Com­mu­nity.

This doc­u­ment has three au­di­ences in mind: 1. Or­ga­niz­ers/​mod­er­a­tors for groups that are aimed at un­der­rep­re­sented peo­ple in EA. 2. Or­ga­niz­ers/​mod­er­a­tors for groups that want to cre­ate a wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment. 3. In­di­vi­d­u­als in the EA com­mu­nity who want to cre­ate a wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment around them.

This doc­u­ment will not tell you never to speak of cer­tain top­ics. The in­ten­tion of this doc­u­ment is to be in­for­ma­tive, not pre­scrip­tive. Th­ese are difficult de­ci­sions and we do not in­tend to over-sim­plify them.

We want to provide in­for­ma­tion so that each per­son and group can bet­ter make de­ci­sions about when, how and with whom to have cer­tain dis­cus­sions. In this way we hope that this doc­u­ment may be a ba­sis for clearer prin­ci­ples of mod­er­a­tion within EA groups.

Please note that on the topic of bi­ases and op­pres­sion the refer­ences given in this doc­u­ment are in­tended to be spring­boards for those who are ex­tra cu­ri­ous. They are not in­tended to give proof. The ideas we men­tion in these ar­eas are widely ac­cepted in so­cial psy­chol­ogy and so­ciol­ogy and are added for con­text. The main pur­pose of this doc­u­ment is to share our own ex­pe­riences.

The prin­ci­ple of limit­ing de­bate to in­crease inclusion

First of all, we might ask our­selves how limit­ing open­ness to differ­ent ideas within a com­mu­nity can ever lead to in­creased in­clu­sion. We ar­gue that be­ing a part of an in­clu­sive com­mu­nity can some­times mean re­frain­ing from pur­su­ing ev­ery last the­ory or thought ex­per­i­ment to its end in pub­lic places. This prin­ci­ple may be eas­ier to un­der­stand if we use an ex­treme ex­am­ple: if some­one in an EA group started se­ri­ously propos­ing, us­ing ev­i­dence and rea­son­ing, that women are lesser and that hu­man­ity would be bet­ter off if women were con­trol­led by men, most group mem­bers would not want there to be a se­ri­ous de­bate on that topic. This be­cause 1. They want to spend their limited time dis­cussing top­ics that they find more se­ri­ous and pro­duc­tive rather than ex­plain­ing to some­one the rea­sons why their sci­ence is wrong, their rea­son­ing is poor and their per­spec­tive is harm­ful, 2. They rec­og­nize that hav­ing peo­ple even en­ter­tain this pos­si­bil­ity can be deeply alienat­ing to women in the com­mu­nity.

Just as it would be ex­haust­ing and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive if we had to re­peat­edly jus­tify whether EA is a good idea in EA groups, it is ex­haust­ing and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive when un­der­rep­re­sented groups have to re­peat­edly jus­tify for in­stance their equal­ity or that the group should be in­clu­sive for them.

We ac­knowl­edge that there is some­times a trade-off be­tween be­ing in­clu­sive to those who pri­ori­tize free ex­plo­ra­tion of all ideas and be­ing in­clu­sive to those who want a respite from dis­cus­sion they find ex­haust­ing or dam­ag­ing. Like most EAs, we have ideals of open­ness and ra­tio­nal dis­cus­sion. We also be­lieve, how­ever, that the cur­rent av­er­age level of open­ness in EA com­mu­ni­ties to ideas that nega­tively af­fect un­der­rep­re­sented groups is con­tribut­ing to the aliena­tion of many EAs. We feel that differ­ent lev­els of open­ness can be ap­pro­pri­ate for differ­ent spaces.

On truth and limit­ing debate

We do not want to spend the ma­jor­ity of this doc­u­ment talk­ing about truth, be­cause we feel that if peo­ple in un­der­rep­re­sented groups are truly seen as equal then them feel­ing com­fortable in this space should be seen as a goal in it­self, not just a means to reach truth. How­ever, we un­der­stand that some are wor­ried that if we limit cer­tain dis­cus­sions to cer­tain con­texts this will also land us fur­ther away from truth. So we will briefly ad­dress this.

We be­lieve that a core part of EA is ques­tion­ing be­liefs and as­sump­tions to fully un­der­stand their ba­sis and as­sess­ing ar­gu­ments for their strength and val­idity.

If we were all ob­jec­tive and so­ciety was fair this would mean any topic could be dis­cussed by any­one at any place in a way that pro­gressed truth. But we are not ob­jec­tive and so­ciety is not fair. Our ideas about cer­tain groups are in­formed by a his­tory of op­pres­sion in which some groups have been seen as in­fe­rior to oth­ers. There are still sys­tem­atic de­mo­graphic differ­ences in who holds the ma­jor­ity of the eco­nomic and poli­ti­cal power and we all still hold con­scious and un­con­scious bi­ases. This has to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion in or­der to reach truth. In this con­text as­sess­ing ar­gu­ments for their strength must in­clude think­ing about the bi­ases that ex­ist against cer­tain groups. Hav­ing dis­cus­sions where all valuable in­put is heard must in­clude think­ing about who has more and less power. And oc­ca­sion­ally, stay­ing clear of a topic will lead to greater truth in the long run, be­cause we have avoided the aliena­tion of the very peo­ple who could aid our un­der­stand­ing.

On­line fo­rums like Face­book, that al­low only brief com­ments lack­ing in tone, provide par­tic­u­larly poor are­nas for sen­si­tive dis­cus­sions. As a re­sult, these dis­cus­sions can very of­ten be un­pro­duc­tive, and can also carry harms, such as one-sided de­bate re­sult­ing in bi­ased and false con­clu­sions, as well as the ex­clu­sion and fur­ther re­duced par­ti­ci­pa­tion from mem­bers of un­der-rep­re­sented groups.

We be­lieve that adapt­ing to the con­text of so­cietal op­pres­sion when we de­cide how to have cer­tain dis­cus­sions will get us closer to truth. This be­cause 1. We will be bet­ter at see­ing our own and oth­ers’ bi­ases in the dis­cus­sion. 2. We will listen more fairly to peo­ple with ex­pe­rience and/​or ex­per­tise in the dis­cus­sion. 3. Peo­ple with ex­pe­rience and/​or ex­per­tise are more likely to voice their opinion be­cause they won’t feel threat­ened by the way we are con­duct­ing the dis­cus­sion. 4.If we be­lieve that tal­ented and al­tru­is­tic minds are dis­tributed across all de­mo­graphic groups, it fol­lows that alienat­ing one of these groups will limit the abil­ity of EA as a whole to find truth—be­cause we are not re­tain­ing the “best” minds.

Are some dis­cus­sions in EA groups alienat­ing?

As peo­ple in un­der­rep­re­sented groups within EA, we re­peat­edly find our­selves ex­posed to con­tent or de­bates that we find alienat­ing. This causes many of us to limit our con­tact with the com­mu­nity.

It is hard to get ac­cu­rate data on what pro­por­tion of peo­ple feel alienated and/​or are pushed to limit their in­ter­ac­tion with a com­mu­nity be­cause they will tend not to re­spond to sur­veys in the com­mu­nity. How­ever, in the Face­book group Women and non-bi­nary peo­ple in Effec­tive Altru­ism 47 out of 52 poll re­spon­dents say that they have at some point felt put off by a dis­cus­sion re­lat­ing to a minor­ity iden­tity (e.g. a dis­cus­sion on women, gay peo­ple, or dis­abled peo­ple) in an EA group or com­mu­nity. This shows that while there are some peo­ple that do not have this ex­pe­rience, it is a very com­mon ex­pe­rience within this group.

What’s more, about half (27 out of 51) of the re­spon­dents said they have re­duced their par­ti­ci­pa­tion in some part of the com­mu­nity due to such dis­cus­sions.

Keep in mind that there may be a se­lec­tion bias in both di­rec­tions. We can imag­ine that peo­ple who feel alienated by some EA com­mu­ni­ties may be more likely to seek out a group for women and non­bi­nary peo­ple. At the same time the re­spon­dents are peo­ple who are ac­tive enough in EA to see and re­spond to this poll—peo­ple who com­pletely leave the com­mu­nity could not vote.

Why is this hap­pen­ing?

There are a lot of rea­sons why peo­ple are ini­ti­at­ing alienat­ing dis­cus­sions, not in­ter­ven­ing to stop such dis­cus­sions and not tak­ing it se­ri­ously when peo­ple ob­ject. We want to ad­dress three such rea­sons: Un­der­rep­re­sen­ta­tion, nega­tive bi­ases against cer­tain groups, and a lack of un­der­stand­ing of the na­ture of op­pres­sion.

Underrepresentation

Some groups are un­der­rep­re­sented in the EA com­mu­nity. In 2017, 70 per­cent of re­spon­dents to the An­nual Re­think Char­ity EA Sur­vey were male, 80 per­cent were athe­ists, ag­nos­tics or non-re­li­gious and 89 per­cent were white[1]. No mat­ter what group you be­long to we all tend to see our own ex­pe­rience as the norm. This can lead cer­tain per­spec­tives to be ig­nored, sim­ply be­cause they are un­der­rep­re­sented.

For in­stance, it can be tempt­ing to think that our own un­der­stand­ing of which types of de­bates are offen­sive is ob­jec­tive and that peo­ple who feel put off by de­bates that are not on our per­sonal “offen­sive-list” are just be­ing overly sen­si­tive. If you be­long to one un­der­rep­re­sented group but not the oth­ers you may have the ex­pe­rience of think­ing that the top­ics listed be­low that in­volve your own group are clearly offen­sive (as­sum­ing that you have a similar back­ground) but the top­ics re­gard­ing other groups are fair play. If you be­long to none of these groups this ten­dency to see your own per­spec­tive as the norm can be harder to iden­tify.

Bias

Another im­por­tant fac­tor is that ev­i­dence sug­gests that most peo­ple in so­ciety have some sub­con­scious nega­tive bi­ases against peo­ple within these un­der­rep­re­sented groups [2]. As EAs we are not ex­empt from such bi­ases against women, peo­ple of colour, dis­abled peo­ple, LGBTQ peo­ple etc. This makes us more likely to cre­ate and en­ter­tain the­o­ries about these groups which are based on nega­tive stereo­types. Even peo­ple be­long­ing to an un­der­rep­re­sented group tend to have bi­ases against their own group [3].

Th­ese bi­ases are likely to con­tribute to the voiced dis­com­fort of this group be­ing taken less se­ri­ously [4]. Bi­ases can­not be over­come by sim­ply fo­cus­ing on mak­ing a com­mu­nity mer­i­to­cratic [5], more struc­tural solu­tions are usu­ally needed.

A lack of un­der­stand­ing of op­pres­sion in wider so­ciety [6]

A third fac­tor in why alienat­ing dis­cus­sions are be­ing had in the EA com­mu­nity is that to what de­gree you un­der­stand the op­pres­sion of a cer­tain un­der­rep­re­sented group in wider so­ciety, tends to de­pend on whether you be­long to that group.

Peo­ple from un­der­rep­re­sented groups tend to have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of their own group’s op­pres­sion for three rea­sons: They have ex­pe­rienced it per­son­ally, they have been more ex­posed to it through their com­mu­nity and they are more likely to take a spe­cial in­ter­est in learn­ing about it aca­dem­i­cally.

Be­cause peo­ple out­side of the op­pressed group do not share the same com­plex un­der­stand­ing of what ideas form part of an op­pres­sive struc­ture, they may tend to think that the re­ac­tions of peo­ple within this group to alienat­ing dis­cus­sions are over­re­ac­tions. They may even brand the per­son as be­ing “overly sen­si­tive”, “bi­ased”, “ir­ra­tional”, or less will­ing to en­gage with ideas.

If an EA woman re­sponds dis­mis­sively when you sug­gest that women are not re­ally op­pressed, it is easy to think that she is just a rude per­son. Or per­haps that she has a self-serv­ing bias or doesn’t much care what the truth of the mat­ter is. In re­al­ity, it is likely she is act­ing from ex­ten­sive ex­pe­rience of hav­ing heard that same ar­gu­ment used as a tool to op­press women.

(His­tory tells us that when the un­fair treat­ment of a group is de­nied this serves to up­hold struc­tures of op­pres­sion against that group. It doesn’t mat­ter how clear the un­equal treat­ment has been, there have always been peo­ple who ar­gued that it wasn’t op­pres­sive. For in­stance, Ruth Bader Gins­burg de­scribes how, when she worked as a lawyer on gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion cases “the judges didn’t think sex-dis­crim­i­na­tion ex­isted”[7]. This was at a time when for in­stance Idaho law still ex­plic­itly stated that males took prefer­ence over fe­males as ex­ecu­tors [8].)

The fact that most peo­ple who do not be­long to the un­der­rep­re­sented group in ques­tion do not have a good un­der­stand­ing of ar­gu­ments that have been used to op­press that group, can cre­ate an im­bal­ance in what is per­ceived to be an alienat­ing topic.

Pre­vi­ous ex­pe­rience as a per­son in an un­der­rep­re­sented group can also have a sig­nifi­cant effect on how a dis­cus­sion is ex­pe­rienced. Other than the emo­tion­ally tax­ing na­ture of feel­ing that one’s au­ton­omy, worth, free­dom or safety are be­ing challenged, there is also a cost in the form of time and effort. Th­ese dis­cus­sions take up a dis­pro­por­tionate amount of time for peo­ple in the af­fected group, some­thing non-group mem­bers may not be aware of.

“Black and Third World peo­ple are ex­pected to ed­u­cate white peo­ple as to our hu­man­ity. Women are ex­pected to ed­u­cate men. Les­bi­ans and gay men are ex­pected to ed­u­cate the het­ero­sex­ual world. The op­pres­sors main­tain their po­si­tion and evade their re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own ac­tions. There is a con­stant drain of en­ergy which might be bet­ter used in re­defin­ing our­selves and de­vis­ing re­al­is­tic sce­nar­ios for al­ter­ing the pre­sent and con­struct­ing the fu­ture.”—Au­dre Lorde

How do peo­ple be­come alienated?

When peo­ple feel un­wel­come in a group, they are un­likely to voice their dis­com­fort, which can lead to the ap­pear­ance of har­mony. This can cause re­main­ing group mem­bers to be con­fused as to why peo­ple from cer­tain un­der­rep­re­sented groups don’t stick around. They may con­clude that peo­ple from these groups sim­ply aren’t as in­ter­ested in the effec­tive part of effec­tive al­tru­ism, es­pe­cially as there is ev­i­dence that sug­gests a broad range of peo­ple are bi­ased to­wards see­ing peo­ple who be­long to these groups as less ra­tio­nal [9]. We ar­gue in­stead that peo­ple from un­der­rep­re­sented groups are be­ing put off by cer­tain cul­tural as­pects of the com­mu­nity, such as alienat­ing dis­cus­sions. A sur­vey con­ducted by EA Lon­don [10] shows that women are just as likely to at­tend an ini­tial EA event as men, but then are less likely to re­turn.

What is it like?

Here is an ex­am­ple of what it may be like to be part of an un­der­rep­re­sented group when a post is made that re­lates to your group. While this is a hy­po­thet­i­cal ex­am­ple, it is based on sev­eral real ex­pe­riences of women in EA:

A man posts in a gen­eral EA group ar­gu­ing that women on av­er­age are not re­ally op­pressed in this so­ciety. I know two things from my own ex­pe­riences and from my stud­ies: 1. Women have less eco­nomic and poli­ti­cal power in so­ciety 2. The de­nial of the op­pres­sion of cer­tain groups has been used to jus­tify or ig­nore mis­treat­ment of those groups through his­tory and across cul­tures (see above). Op­pres­sion is an un­fair treat­ment against a cer­tain group. To deny op­pres­sion is to deny ei­ther the treat­ment of that group or the un­fair­ness of that treat­ment.

Be­cause of the his­tory of this view I be­lieve that it is likely to af­fect many peo­ple nega­tively if this view is spread. I want to pro­tect my­self and oth­ers from this. I think more speci­fi­cally about the women who may see this, par­tic­u­larly the younger ones who are new to EA. I imag­ine that for some of them, it will lead them away from EA ideas and all the value EA en­gage­ment could have for them and for the world. Worse still, oth­ers may ab­sorb the idea that the way women are treated is fair and shrink them­selves, diminish­ing their own self-worth and diminish­ing the pos­i­tive im­pact they could have on the world.

The prob­lem is that I don’t know which one the poster be­lieves. Is he un­aware that women have less eco­nomic and poli­ti­cal power in our so­ciety, or does he not think women hav­ing less power is op­pres­sion be­cause peo­ple like me ought to have less power than peo­ple like him?

No one else is re­spond­ing ei­ther to dis­agree with the poster or to tell him this isn’t the place for that de­bate. A few peo­ple, mostly (but not only) men, like the post. Un­be­knownst to me many women are stay­ing clear be­cause they are too tired of an­other in­val­i­da­tion of their ex­pe­rience, and too afraid of be­ing seen as ir­ra­tional or overly sen­si­tive, and many men are stay­ing clear be­cause they know they’ll piss peo­ple off on some side no mat­ter what they say. Not know­ing this at the time I’m won­der­ing if they all agree with him.

I hes­i­tate be­cause I have a lot of work to do, and I know once I write some­thing I will likely be faced with push back from the poster and some like-minded oth­ers. On top of that I’m likely to be painted in an un­flat­ter­ing light. How­ever, I also be­lieve that if the poster’s view goes un­challenged it will add an­other layer to the cul­tural sed­i­ment of women’s in­fe­ri­or­ity, it will fur­ther en­trench this no­tion into the minds of those who already be­lieve it and may sway some of those who were sit­ting on the fence to­wards this be­lief.

He uses all the right phrases about be­ing open to chang­ing his mind so I de­cide to give him the benefit of the doubt and show him the num­bers. I stay pa­tient and po­lite even though he seems to be defend­ing treat­ment that is deeply harm­ful to me and peo­ple I care about and even though I am re­peat­ing in­for­ma­tion that is eas­ily ac­cessible through google and which I have given out many times be­fore.

While he stays po­lite, it seems like he’s not tak­ing in any­thing I’m say­ing. Two days into the de­bate he makes a com­ment about women need­ing to be con­trol­led “for their own good” and it be­comes ap­par­ent he thinks women are not op­pressed be­cause men hav­ing power over women is the way things should be.

No men have in­ter­vened. I feel like I have just wasted hours on a de­bate that did not lead any­one closer to truth and has reawak­ened an old feel­ing of be­ing de­val­ued and un­safe due to my iden­tity. And yet if I had not en­gaged, I would have made oth­ers in my group feel like they are even more alone. Not only did this dis­cus­sion make it seem like it was up for de­bate whether the in­equal­ity be­tween men and women is jus­tified, it made it seem like most EAs agree with him that it is.

Ex­am­ple topics

In many cases it is not clear cut whether a de­bate should be dis­cour­aged, and judg­ment calls are nec­es­sary. A good start to mak­ing such calls is to know what kind of top­ics are felt to be alienat­ing to peo­ple in un­der­rep­re­sented groups. Below we pre­sent ex­am­ples of dis­cus­sions in the com­mu­nity that have been felt to be alienat­ing by some EAs who be­long to un­der­rep­re­sented groups and who vol­un­teered to con­tribute their ideas.

We be­lieve that to un­der­stand what is off-putting to peo­ple within a cer­tain un­der­rep­re­sented group, we need to listen to peo­ple within this group. We ac­knowl­edge that not ev­ery­one will find the same ideas alienat­ing, nor is the list ex­haus­tive. We by no means claim to speak for all peo­ple within these groups.

We provide this list so that each per­son and group in the com­mu­nity can de­cide for them­selves what con­ver­sa­tions to pro­mote and limit in differ­ent set­tings based in part on an un­der­stand­ing of what is of­ten off-putting to peo­ple from un­der­rep­re­sented groups.

Women and fe­male-pre­sent­ing people

· Whether it is or has been right or nec­es­sary that women have less in­fluence over in­tel­lec­tual de­bate and less eco­nomic and poli­ti­cal power

· Whether women need or have needed to have less free­doms and au­ton­omy for their own good.

· (Warn­ing: from per­sonal ex­pe­rience one of the au­thors of this doc­u­ment highly recom­mends that you do not read this if rape is a trig­ger for you) http://​​www.over­com­ing­bias.com/​​2010/​​11/​​gen­tle­silen­trape.html

· Whether men or women are less com­pe­tent in a cer­tain area be­cause of evolu­tion [11]

· Whether it can be a woman’s re­spon­si­bil­ity that she is raped, op­pressed or abused

· Whether hav­ing sex with men is a moral obli­ga­tion/​whether women want too lit­tle sex

Dis­abled people

· Whether the lives of severely dis­abled peo­ple are worth living

· Whether kil­ling a severely dis­abled per­son who isn’t able to con­sent is a mercy

· The idea that a per­son’s worth or right to have a de­cent life is de­pen­dent on their con­tri­bu­tion to the econ­omy, to oth­ers’ hap­piness or to the gene pool (what­ever that means)

· The idea that cer­tain peo­ple shouldn’t have chil­dren in or­der not to “con­tam­i­nate” the gene pool (this in­cludes peo­ple with low IQ)

LGBTQ+ people

· Whether gay peo­ple con­tribute to the sur­vival of the species

· Whether trans peo­ple are “delu­sional”

· Whether the name and/​or pro­nouns you ask peo­ple to re­fer to you as should be respected

· Whether trans peo­ple are try­ing to trick peo­ple into sleep­ing with them

Peo­ple of Colour

· Whether there are IQ differ­ences be­tween differ­ent “races”

· Whether cur­rent in­equal­ities are due to evolu­tion/​ intelligence

Peo­ple from the de­vel­op­ing world

· Whether we should value peo­ple in the de­vel­op­ing world less be­cause they are less productive

· Whether peo­ple in the de­vel­op­ing world are poor be­cause of char­ac­ter flaws

Reli­gious minorities

· Whether Mus­lim ma­jor­ity coun­tries have poli­ti­cal and eco­nomic prob­lems be­cause of moral short­com­ings spe­cific to Mus­lims.

· Whether Mus­lims have a vic­tim mentality

Work­ing class people

· Whether poor peo­ple are poor due to hav­ing lower IQ

· Whether work­ing class peo­ple are stupid

Minors (as an ex­cep­tion, this con­tri­bu­tion was made not by a minor them­selves but by a par­ent of a minor)

· Whether cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment of chil­dren or not-yet cog­ni­tively ma­ture peo­ple has util­ity.

Ad­di­tional re­source: Un­sure about a dis­cus­sion topic?

As an in­di­vi­d­ual you may at some point want to have a dis­cus­sion re­lat­ing to an un­der­rep­re­sented group e.g. a dis­cus­sion on ac­cess to safe abor­tion or whether dis­abled peo­ple’s lives are worth as much as abled peo­ples. Think­ing about it, you may be wor­ried that dis­cussing this topic in the nor­mal EA groups may be off-putting to peo­ple within the un­der­rep­re­sented group. How­ever, you may not want to limit the dis­cus­sion to only groups that are par­tic­u­larly geared to­wards un­in­hibited free­dom of speech, be­cause you may want to be sure to get feed­back from a di­verse au­di­ence. Here are our sug­ges­tions for what you might do in this situ­a­tion:

1. Imag­ine who may feel put off by your post. If pos­si­ble, do a google search and look at whether peo­ple ad­vo­cat­ing for this par­tic­u­lar group have any­thing to say about the dis­cus­sion or pos­si­ble bi­ases un­der­ly­ing it.

2. Find a close friend who be­longs to that un­der­rep­re­sented group, tell them about your predica­ment and ask if they would be will­ing to give you their in­sight as a per­son who be­longs to the group in ques­tion. If you have no close friends in this group, you might again want to re­con­sider if you are a good per­son to be hav­ing dis­cus­sions re­lat­ing to that group. If your friend says no to talk­ing about the topic, re­spect that, they have no obli­ga­tion to ed­u­cate you on sub­jects that may be very difficult for them or may take up a dis­pro­por­tionate amount of their time.

3. Ask your friend if they think your the­ory is based on stereo­typed views about the group in ques­tion. Your friend’s lived ex­pe­rience is likely to mean that they have a good idea of the kind of stereo­types that peo­ple have about their group. Be will­ing to learn from their in­sight and don’t take it per­son­ally if they think your the­ory is based on some stereo­typed views.

4. If you still want to have a pub­lic dis­cus­sion ask your friend if there is a non-alienat­ing way for you as a per­son who does not be­long to the group in ques­tion to hold a dis­cus­sion on this is­sue, and if so how to con­duct that dis­cus­sion. They might for in­stance tell you that there are cer­tain offen­sive stereo­types that you have to ex­plic­itly say that you don’t agree with in the post, in or­der for peo­ple not to mi­s­un­der­stand you.

5. If you de­cide to have the dis­cus­sion and it draws crit­i­cism from mem­bers of an un­der­rep­re­sented group, think about whether the way you are con­duct­ing your dis­cus­sion may be alienat­ing and show a will­ing­ness not only to move your dis­cus­sion but to re ex­am­ine your ideas bear­ing in mind the im­plicit bi­ases against un­der­rep­re­sented groups that we have high­lighted in this doc­u­ment.

Foot­notes

[1] https://​​rtchar­ity.org/​​ea-sur­vey-2017-part-2/​​

[2] Ex­am­ple, bi­ases against women in sci­ence: https://​​www.ilo.org/​​wcmsp5/​​groups/​​pub­lic/​​---ed_di­alogue/​​---act_emp/​​doc­u­ments/​​pub­li­ca­tion/​​wcms_601276.pdf, https://​​www.cfa.har­vard.edu/​​~srugheimer/​​Women_in_STEM_Re­sources.html,

Ex­am­ples, bi­ases against Black peo­ple: https://​​jour­nals.sagepub.com/​​doi/​​abs/​​10.1111/​​j.1467-9280.2005.01664.x , https://​​www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/​​pubmed/​​17594129
Ex­am­ple, bi­ases in health­care set­tings: https://​​bm­cmede­thics.biomed­cen­tral.com/​​ar­ti­cles/​​10.1186/​​s12910-017-0179-8

Ex­am­ple, bi­ases against arab-mus­lim men in hiring: https://​​www.sci­encedi­rect.com/​​sci­ence/​​ar­ti­cle/​​abs/​​pii/​​S0927537109000451

[3] Ex­am­ple: https://​​www.sci­encedaily.com/​​re­leases/​​2018/​​12/​​181210165115.htm

[4] Ex­am­ple in health­care: https://​​www.in­de­pen­dent.co.uk/​​life-style/​​health-and-fam­i­lies/​​health-news/​​how-sex­ist-stereo­types-mean-doc­tors-ig­nore-wom­ens-pain-a7157931.html study: https://​​www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/​​pmc/​​ar­ti­cles/​​PMC5845507/​​

[5] http://​​www.spp.uwa.edu.au/​​__data/​​as­sets/​​pdf_file/​​0019/​​2860012/​​The-Para­doxc-of-Mer­i­tocrary.pdf

[6] Here’s an in­tro­duc­tion: https://​​soc­women.org/​​wp-con­tent/​​up­loads/​​2018/​​03/​​fact_3-2010-op­pres­sion.pdf

[7] https://​​www.rol­ling­stone.com/​​movies/​​movie-news/​​watch-ruth-bader-gins­burg-school-supreme-court-on-sex­ism-in-doc-trailer-628846/​​

[8] https://​​ter­ri­tory-mag.com/​​ar­ti­cles/​​reed-v-reed-fight-gen­der-equal­ity/​​

[9] Ex­am­ple: https://​​cogsci.yale.edu/​​sites/​​de­fault/​​files/​​files/​​Th­e­sis2016Pav­coGi­ac­cia.pdf

[10] https://​​fo­rum.effec­tivealtru­ism.org/​​posts/​​2RfQT7cybfS8zoy43/​​are-men-more-likely-to-at­tend-ea-lon­don-events-attendance

[11] Since it keeps com­ing up, here are a few re­sources about ethics and evolu­tion­ary psy­chol­ogy: http://​​bernard.pitzer.edu/​​~hfairchi/​​pdf/​​Scien­tificRacism.pdf https://​​link.springer.com/​​ar­ti­cle/​​10.1023/​​A:1026380825208 https://​​www.goodreads.com/​​book/​​show/​​1137507.Evolu­tion