Gatekeeping in Making (Plus: What is a maker?)

in #stemgeeks4 months ago

I have been noodling on writing about why my website (and community) was named Maker Hacks. The hacks part I will need to explain (it's not about breaking into other people's systems), but I couldn't explain the "Maker" part better than Adam Savage just did.

Also I agree with his opinion on gatekeeping. I have faced and witnessed gatekeeping many, many times across various niches. By definition it is about arbitrarily keeping people out, and that disgusts me to my core. Of course there are situations (ability to perform brain surgery, for example) where there is a necessary barrier, but in things like "who gets to be a maker", we are ALL makers if we want to be. No gatekeeping is necessary or wanted.

When I was at high school I wasn't allowed to use the computers. Yep, the kids who most wanted to use them, the kids most excited about them, only got to touch them when a teacher needed them physically moved from one location to another. It took until the last year of school when they received an Archimedes that one teacher allowed myself and a friend to tinker with it for an hour because he knew of our passion for computing. This situation is replicated over and over, everywhere.

Of course making is much more than IT, electronics, programming. At age 10 I was told I wouldn't be allowed to learn to make clay sculptures with the rest of the class because, get this, I was good at "art". According to the teacher and the other kids. It's not like I took an independent test. Because I was deemed good at art, by them, instead of learning a fun new skill, I had to go to another room and cut pieces of magazines out to fill out a collage of Tutankhamun that a teacher had drawn on card stock. To this day none of this makes sense to me.

My goal, my bucket list item, my "mission" is to inspire at least a million makers, regardless of medium, skill level, educational merit. I believe the world is better when people get to create.


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