I’m not done yet
So, since the time I wrote my previous entry, I’ve discussed the topic of discrimination in the cyberspace with different people and one of them told me that, even if you do not know nothing about someone, you’ll give him an identity by default, and this identity in the hackerscene is white male (because hackers are mostly white male).
They were implying that, when we do not know who someone is, we tend to think they’re like us. It is, I think mostly true. I mean, when I’m in a hackerspace (cyber|meat)space , I tend to think that most of the people here are hackers or, at least, curious.
So, when interacting with someone, we try to give them an identity. It is, I think, a purely cognitive process. We want to recover what we told to this person at a later time, so we assemble all the data in one cluster which then is called identity.
So, do I use a template when interacting with people in the meatspace? No, because their body and way they talk/act is creating a shell I’ll then use to remember them. When a girl comes to talk to me, I know she is a girl, she dos not have to tell me it’s like that, there’s some trait I will use to define this person as a girl. And that’s why we’re all different.
There is then no default identity in the meatspace. What about the cyberspaces? Our brain is trained to separate two entities and to call them with different names when we met them. It is also trained to classify people to remember them faster, we have an indexing system software. It is not perfect (since we can mix two people that shares common traits), but it works in some case. That’s why you can tell who’s this girl is.
So, there must be something in the cyberspaces that our brains can use to sort people. First, there’s the name. It is the first thing I’ll see when I meet someone in the cyberspaces, and that’s why pseudonyms are interesting. They are chosen handles (not like the name and surname thing that we did not choose) and are generally unique.
Then there’s the gimmick you’re using when writing. Your language but also the form of your sentences, the way you use some slang and the kind of slang you’re using. That’s why, after some time, I can now if the person’s talking to me is really who they pretend to be without needing a registering services of a kind.
Error: identity has no default value
So, there’s no such thing as a default identity in the cyberspaces. And yes, you can guess my sexual identity quite easily if you really want to. But there’s definitely no default identity.
There’s a lot of people I know whom I cannot describe. But I’ll recognize them when they’re going to write something. So, no, the cyberspaces is not a white male space because white and male are concept that cannot define someone you can’t see.
I admit it, your education will change the way you express yourself, including online. And yes, this is how people will recognize you in the cyberspaces. But I’m not sure this problem can be solved in the cyberspaces.
You cannot ask to people to consider everyone under a neutral identity. A template that will suit to anyone, because they won’t. Our brain do works by classifying people one way or another, so this default template will be different for everyone it it exist at all.