Aisha Thomas: Why Representation Really, Really Matters in Tech

Assistant Principal and Educational activist Aisha Thomas spoke in the Smart City stream at the Anthropology + Technology 2020 Conference (now Response-ability Summit). The conference was held on Friday 9 & Monday 12 October. “Until society represents everyone, the question…

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Assistant Principal and Educational activist Aisha Thomas spoke in the Smart City stream at the Anthropology + Technology 2020 Conference (now Response-ability Summit). The conference was held on Friday 9 & Monday 12 October.

“Until society represents everyone, the question will always be, Where do I belong? This is why representation matters.” During a mentoring meeting a young offender said to Aisha Thomas, “If you were my teacher, maybe I wouldn’t be in prison today.” Then a law graduate, Aisha realised she had an important role to play in inspiring young minds.

She decided to retrain as an educator and dedicate her life to improving the lives of children in her community. As the Assistant Principal at City Academy in Bristol she is one of only 26 out of 1346 black secondary school teachers in the city. She says: “The impact of this is far-reaching and is about more than the person standing at the front of the classroom. It affects the attainment of the students and the adults that young people become once they leave school.” Aisha challenges us to imagine a world where all races are represented in all aspects of life. Where children grow with a sense of value, connection and understanding of difference. This is why we can all play a role inspiring the next generation. #RepresentationMatters

In her talk, Aisha seeks to debate the way in which tech is developing. It is clear that not all communities are excelling and growing with the rapid change in tech. Representation is important in all aspects of life and tech is not exempt from this. The hope is that tech will open doors and remove the discrimination that exists in everyday aspects of life, but often the very racial hierarchy that tech attempts to eradicate, can be amplified by the same system that seeks to remove it.

Podcast interview with Aisha Thomas: https://response-ability.tech/16-why-representation-really-really-matters-in-tech-with-aisha-thomas/

Aisha’s speaker page: https://response-ability.tech/aisha-thomas/