Extending the abstract class of privilege: outcomes and lessons learned


The power of Drupal extends well beyond the realm of technology. It is the source of many people’s livelihoods. It has the power to be a tool for pulling people out of poverty and into a better life. Where does Drupal succeed / fail at being accessible to all backgrounds? How can we do better? Crucially, not everything is a technical problem. What other barriers (& solutions) are there?

I have personally trained over 100 people, mostly non-developers, to be Drupal developers. The diversity I have seen in the classrooms is unparalleled and has opened my eyes to others’ realities. We typically have 50% female enrollment along with many from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Our classrooms have been so diverse that we’ve received hateful messages when sharing pictures of our alumni taking a group picture at Drupal GovCon. I’ve encountered a handful of unforeseen obstacles that really highlighted my relative privilege.

These are a few common student profiles which face issues that most don’t consider:

  • Overcoming racial/personality biases

  • People who do not have great computer skills

  • People who work long/odd hours

  • People who cannot afford training

  • Physically handicapped

  • People who cannot focus in a classroom setting

  • People with unsuitable laptops for development

  • People whose living situations aren’t conducive to prolonged periods of deep thought

  • Women who gave up their technical careers to be mothers, and are looking for a way back into the workforce

  • And more.

Over the past 4 years, I have worked to combat these issues in a variety of ways. I have learned that many of us are privileged in ways we don’t realize, and that we have the ability to effectively extend that privilege to others. While people must do the work to benefit from Drupal themselves, extending your privilege to others when appropriate can help them realize a career when they may otherwise not have been in a position to do so.

Join this talk to learn:

  • Issues others face (seen & unseen)

  • How to make more welcoming environment

  • Removing barriers

  • How to “extend privilege”

  • What does and does not “scale” when helping others

  • Personal stories from multiple individuals of impactful moments leading towards Drupal improving their lives

Session Track

Being Human

Experience Level


Drupal Version

When & Where

Wednesday, 11 April, 2018 - 12:00 to 13:00