The Deep Wounds of Prop8 And Why The Anger Over Mozilla’s New CEO

When Proposition 8 passed in California back in 2008, the gay community and their supporters were livid. The fact that a minority’s civil right was put on the ballot and in the end denied by a bigoted, albeit small, majority was an unspeakable injustice. The community mobilized and fought back. Gay-friendly businesses that supported Prop8 were boycotted. El Coyote Restaurant in Los Angeles, which had a large gay clientele, lost almost 30% of its revenue because of a $100 donation made in support of Prop8 by its owner. Six years later, the restaurant never recovered.

Prop8 caused an irreversible chasm between its supporters, who were against gay marriage, and its proponents, who saw it as a human right. Old friends severed ties over Prop8. Family members stopped talking to each other over Prop8. Some businesses suffered and some thrived because of Prop8.

But the real victims here were the families whose lives were changed forever because of that law. Multinational couples couldn’t legally stay together because of visa issues that marriage could have taken care of.

Real livelihoods were forever damaged because of Prop8.

Prop8 wasn’t about differences in opinion. It’s about denying a group of people an undeniable civil right. It’s about exclusion. It’s about injustice. It was a blatant display of homophobia sanctioned by the state. It’s about state-run bigotry.

Eventually, Prop8 was struck down as unconstitutional but the scars still remain. The rift between the camps on both sides of the issue was and still is irreconcilable.

On March 24th, 2014, controversy broke out when Mozilla appointed Prop8 supporter, Brendan Eich, CEO. Many, including me, denounced the announcement while others came to Brendan’s support saying he’s entitled to his “private opinion.”

Brendan has an unfavorable view of gay people, which is fine. It’s a free country. But he financially supported Prop8 and played a role in its passage. He actively imposed his exclusionary and bigoted views on the rest of us.

As a private citizen, Brendan is 100% free to be as bigoted and as homophobic as his heart desires. Again, it’s a free country. But he’s not a private citizen anymore. He’s the face of Mozilla, which till recently had a progressive and inclusionary image. It’s disingenuous of Mozilla to appoint a man with an exclusionary mindset to run its inclusionary culture.

Gandhi said, “actions express priorities.” Brendan Eich and all the Prop8 supporters have taken action to deny a minority their civil rights. That should tell you where their priorities lie. The question is, is that Mozilla’s priority? Sure sounds like it judging by their latest action.

A lot of people have called on Eich to apologize. I disagree with that. Why make a man apologize for his personal beliefs. Bullying him into apologizing is in and of itself equally disingenuous. Brendan believes that gay people should be excluded from the civil benefits of marriage and actively sought to enforce that opinion of exclusion on all of us by supporting Prop8. Why should he say that didn’t mean it or that he’s sorry. He’s not.

It’s time for the Mozilla Board to act. Their inaction so far is in direct violation of their public image as an inclusive community–or are they?

A big priority of mine is to ensure the failure of all bigots, especially those that are actively trying to marginalize my life and my relationships. My actions, in turn, will be an expression of that priority. First action: writing this article. Many more actions to come.

Do Your Actions Reflect Your Priorities?

[youtube http://youtu.be/WxfZkMm3wcg]

I am truly, wholeheartedly, fully and utterly in love with this video. It’s about seizing the day. Carpe diem. Making it count. Your life, your days, your thoughts, your actions. It’s inspirational on so many levels and a reminder that life is too short.

I love to travel and I love to explore new places. My actions definitely express that (I travel quite often for work, but I do lots of personal travel as well.) I feel compelled to explore new places, as if I were a Spanish explorer braving the Atlantic in a previous life. The video deeply resonated with me on that level.

One of the best quotes used in the video is Gandhi’s, “action expresses priorities.” How true is that. We always have the time for things we think are important. So next time you hear someone say, “I’m sorry, but I wish I had the time,” you should know that they mean, “I’m sorry, but this is not a priority of mine.”

What are your priorities in life and do your actions reflect that? What compels you and are you doing it?

Caught My Attention: The long goodbye, developing an iphone app, how to be a mentor, anatomy of an idea and fbootstrapp

  1. The Long Goodbye – An end-of-life account that’s both heartbreaking and funny in equal measure.
  2. My Experience Developing an iPhone App – A blueprint of how to think about and implement an iPhone application from a product perspective. Disclosure: I’ve worked with Howard Ogawa at Edmunds.com
  3. How to be a great mentor (and a mentee)  (TheNextWeb) – A quick read with tips on how to mentor professionals and how to accept mentoring by subject matter experts.
  4. Anatomy of an Idea – Steven Johnson wrote one of the few business books that really changed how I think about innovation. In this blog post, he tells us how he works and researches. Great read.
  5. fbootstrapp (github) – HTML, CSS, and JS toolkit for facebook apps. Fbootstrapp is a toolkit for kickstarting the development of facebook iframe apps.

Caught My Attention: API craft group, the future of classics, the culture of innovation, SOPA and code racer

  1. API Craft (Google Group) – Started by Apigee to provide a place for API developers and architects to talk shop with peers and to learn more about best practices. Great resource for anyone interested in APIs.
  2. Do The Classics Have a Future? – What is truly amazing is what we have, not what we don’t have from the ancient world. If you didn’t already know, and someone were to say that material written by people who lived two millennia ago or more still survived in such quantities that most people wouldn’t be able to get through it in a lifetime—you wouldn’t believe them. It’s astonishing. But it’s the case; and it offers the possibility of a most wondrous shared voyage of exploration.
  3. Is It a Fools Errand to Try to Create a Culture of Innovation? – A culture is its people. Innovation starts with the people in charge. If they don’t really embrace it and lead it themselves, they aren’t really for it, no matter how hard they try.
  4. On the Problem of Money, Politics, and SOPA – An interesting take on SOPA and the role of Hollywood money in starting it and giving it life.
  5. Code Racer – A game that tests your CSS/HTML skills. Pretty awesome!

Caught My Attention: The effect of collaboration on creativity, dynamic face substitution, innovation at YouTube, new incredible camera and Facebook mining our political sentiments

  1. The Rise of the New Groupthink (NY Times) – Can Design Thinking be actually bad for innovation? Most people are are most creative when alone and uninterrupted, so how will creativity fare in the new norm of team brainstorming and collaborative workplace?
  2. Dynamic Face Substitution – Whoa! Now that’s some awesome but real creepy technology that uses face tracker and color interpolation.
  3. Streaming Dreams (New Yorker) – A fascinating look at innovation at YouTube and how that company will reinvent TV. A must-read for all innovators and business executives out there.
  4. New Camera from WVIL (YouTube) – Debuted at CES 2011, this incredible camera will change photography as we know it.
  5. Facebook Gives Politico Deep Access to User’s Political Sentiments (All Things D) – All your updates, public and private, that mention a political candidate are shared with Facebook exclusive “partners.” That the price we pay for “free” service.

Caught My Attention: JavaScript guide, salt boarding, feedback loops in business, the fall of Netflix and data too big to understand

  1. The JavaScript Guide to Objects, Functions, Scope, Prototypes and Closures – Concise and very readable.
  2. Salt Boarding (YouTube) – Awesome video by Devin Graham and score by Stephen Anderson. Devin says: We filmed this all in Utah, on the Salt Flats. This was not shot at all on snow, it was salt, I promise, no hidden tricks or gimmicks 🙂 Because it’s such an awesome location, lots of movies film here… While filming we were able to pull people on the snowboards clocking in at 50 mph 🙂
  3. The Feedback Economy – Why it’s important to employ data feedback loops for your business and how to do it. A must-read for all aspiring data geeks.
  4. Netflix and The Age of the Platform – a cautionary tale of how to operate in today’s business expectations. Learn why Phil Simon is pessimistic about Netflix’s future and what he thinks the company should do to survive its “ultimate demise.”
  5. To Know, But Not Understand (The Atlantic) – In an edited excerpt from his new book, Too Big to Know, David Weinberger explains how the massive amounts of data necessary to deal with complex phenomena exceed any single brain’s ability to grasp, yet networked science rolls on.

Caught My Attention: Write or die, connected cars, computers made from cotton, the French connection and education in Finland

  1. Write or Die – The writing Nazi has arrived. There’s no way you’ll procrastinate getting your writing assignments done with this iPad/desktop app. If you do, you risk having your previous work erased. That’s right. This app is not kind on slackers.
  2. Your Connected Vehicle is Arriving – Cars are the new ultimate mobile devices. The mechanical attributes of a car are no longer a clear differentiator in the space of transportation. Cars in the near future are expected to be connected and networked with each other and with your friends.
  3. Transistors Made from Cotton Yarn, T-Shirt Computers Incoming – This fascinating read shows you how a cotton thread is turned into a semiconductor. Computers will no longer be these rigid items made of metal and glass. We will literally be wearing them, and with voice recognition technology getting much better, no keyboard or mouse will be required. You will literally be giving orders to a beanie on your head to check you in, check your vitals, post something to Facebook or find a sushi bar near by. I can already see a future where the iPhone and Siri are “SO 2012!”
  4. Can Nicolas Sarkozy, and France, Survive the European Crisis? (New Yorker) – One of those long, satisfying reads in the New Yorker about the man running France and influencing how the EU deals with its crisis. It’s an eye-opener.
  5. What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success (The Atlantic) – A must-read.