Just when you think critical social justice practices could not get any more inane and exhaustive, Xbox parent company Microsoft somehow managed to take things to new heights during their recent Microsoft Ignite conference.
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Held annually since its founding as TechEd in 1993 and through its rebranding to Microsoft Ignite, the conference serves as a general expo for the company’s services, insight, and upcoming products.
The five-day long event also features a number of specifically tailored presentations, ranging in topic from cybersecurity to the company’s work in AI, all of which are hosted by at least one Microsoft employee.
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It was during these sessions that Microsoft took the ‘woke game’ to the next level, as some of these sessions opened with not only a declaration of the respective hosts’ pronouns, but also new methods of performative progressivism.
For example, Senior Developer Tools Division Program Manager Allison Weins introduced one such session with an acknowledgement of how the “land where the Microsoft campus is situated was traditionally occupied by “The Sammamish, The Duwamish, The Snowqualmie, the Muckleshoot, the Snohomish, the Tulalip, and other Coast- Salish peoples since time immemorial.”
“A people that are still here,” she added, “continuing to honor and bring to light their ancient heritage.”
It seems like part of the rationale for this must be to help the visually impaired. But, whatever the intentions, this makes Microsoft look like the Cirque du Soleil of wokeness. https://t.co/Uh5rSj5Qns
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) November 4, 2021
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Audiences may also note that, in the above clip, Weins also declares that she is “an Asian and White female with dark brown hair wearing a red sleeveless top,” followed by her co-host, AI Platform Group Program Manager Seth Juarez, doing the same.
Similarly declared by Senior Product Marketing Manager Nic Fillingham and Product Marketing Lead Natalia Godyla in the introduction to their session on security, as well as by the various guests who appeared to speak with the duo, it seems that this new descriptive form of introduction was implemented on behalf of the visually impaired.
Microsoft’s communications lead Frank X. Shaw explained, “Some context. Inclusion matters to us. Our events have ASL, Captions, Audio Descriptions and starting last year, visual descriptions. These enable us to be inclusive of everyone including those who are blind or have low vision. Speakers chose if they want to do this.”
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While, at face value, such improvements seem like nothing more than altruistically driven attempts at making any given piece of media more accessible, one wonders why the physical descriptions of the hosts and their surroundings – in such detail, at that – are in any way relevant to their work.
Ostensibly, it seems like this ‘picture painting’ way of introducing oneself may be more of a virtue signal, meant to garner Microsoft some level of ‘woke insurance’ by presenting themselves as performatively considerate of various groups, than anything else.
What do you make of Microsoft’s descriptive introductions? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!