While there are undeniable benefits from this Internet enabled world we have created for ourselves, the bad is beginning to outweigh the good, and people are beginning to wake up to this imbalance. More people are beginning to push back on the relentless march of Internet technology, and there is a groundswell of federal, state, and municipal regulation forming. As we all begin to be more more critical of technology, the companies, and people behind them, let’s remember that whether you are waking up this year, the next, or any after that-—that there were people all along the way who were sounding the alarm, and for the most post part we were just annoyed by them, ignored them, and actively pushed back on what they were saying.
Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the new found awakened beings, not one of the ones that have been pushing back on things from the beginning. I have only begun to wake up to the damage being done about five years ago—-alongside some other awakening around gender and racism. However, I happened to be married to someone who has been critical since day one with her blog Hack Education, and happen to know other folks like Tressie McMillan Cottom (@ tressiemcphd), David Columbia (@dgolumbia), Bill Fitzgerald (@funnymonkey), Chris Gilliard (@hypervisible), Tim Maughan ([@timmaughan]](https://twitter.com/timmaughan)), and others who have been highly critical all along. Even with these voices ringing in my ear over the last decade, I have struggled with clearly seeing a path forward and coming to terms with the damage I’ve incited as part of my work as the API Evangelist.
I’m still waking up, and will be perpetually struggling with my awareness and complicity in all of this. As I continue to wake up, and become more vocal against the hand that feeds me, I am reminded of how important it is for us to acknowledge those who have been doing this all along. It is alright for us white male technologists to step up and become critical of what we have built, but we shouldn’t be taking the lead on defining how to fix all of this, assuming our regular domineering role in simultaneously fucking up the world, while also trying to fix it once we realize what idiots we’ve been. We need to make sure we are respectful of those who have been vocal all along, and work hard to shine a light on newer more diverse voices when it comes to speaking out, and crafting any plans to fix this mess. Our desire to be center stage is a big problem. We need to step back and develop a more thoughtful strategy as we move forward.
I am perpetually struggling with my relationship with technology, and I don’t think it is something that will end in my lifetime. I make a decent living working with APIs, and I’m adjacent to some pretty good and bad things. I can’t just step away. It is what I’m good at, and it is what pays my bills-—it will be hard to downsize and retool (doesn’t mean I won’t do it). So I will continue to shift my storytelling to me more thoughtfully critical of how we do what we do, while still working in service of the machine. Who knows maybe some day I will hit the wall and walk away. However, after hitting the wall last year I found a new good place with my role as API Evangelist, allowing me (for now) to stay closer to the machine, while still maintaining my sanity and soul. I just wanted to take a moment and assess where I am, how I got here, and acknowledge those who helped me along the way—-always pushing me to see the world in new ways, and helping me find a better view of both our physical and digital worlds.
This article originally appeared here.