Welcome to the Papaya Project

The Papaya Project is an initiative towards identifying and critically addressing inequities and bias in computing and computing education research, with the goal of transforming computing education and the broader computing discipline into a more inclusive and equitable field.


We are in the process of updating – watch out for our new website soon!

Our Key Symbol System: The Papaya

We draw from the Philippines’ colonial history and assimilation to dominant western ideologies. The Philippines is a southeast Asian country historically colonized by many nations, in particular by Spain and the United States. Some of the most significant impacts of these colonizations were on Filipino culture, self-image, and way of living. These colonizations impacted Filipinos’ conceptions of beauty, identity, worth, and even ability, and these have become embodied in the western white form. From the periods of colonization until now, brown Filipinos have been considered as “less than” by their lighter-skinned colonizers. This colonial dynamic led to an obsession by Filipinos on the papaya, which has been claimed to lighten or whiten the skin, building and enculturating the idea among Filipinos that, if they were able to whiten their skin, then they would be seen as equals, and so they would be deemed “acceptable” to society, their workplaces, their families, and their other social structures. In other words, the papaya has become a vehicle towards acceptance and white visibility. From a bigger perspective, the papaya served to “whiten” the Filipinos’ history, their identities, their self-image – and it is this symbol of whitening that we draw from.

Some of the key questions we tackle, particularly in computing and computing education research, are about the ways that people have had to assimilate or “whiten” themselves and their work into current dominant ideals and narratives – we are in an ongoing process of discussing and unpacking how we, and many minoritized groups, have had to navigate systems that uphold white supremacy. So we ask: What is our “Papaya”? What are these constructs that push us to whiten ourselves, our narratives, our identities, and our work? How do we push back against these inequities towards a more inclusive and equitable computing discipline?

Join us at our ICER 2021 workshop!

Workshop: Examining and Redesigning Computing Education Research to Center Equity

Details to follow soon!

Join us at our SIGCSE 2021 workshop!

Workshop 104 : Going Through A Process of Whitening: Student Experiences Within Computer Science Education

Workshop organizers : Earl W. Huff Jr., Francisco Castro, Gayithri Jayathirtha, Yerika Jimenez, Minji Kong, Natalie Melo, Amber Solomon and Jennifer Tsan

Block 1 - Saturday, March 13 @ 9:00am-12:00pm (ET)

In what ways have we had to assimilate (or, in particular to structural racism, “whiten”) ourselves and our work into dominant ideals and narratives? In this workshop, we’ll take a look at how systems of power–such as structural racism, a system that upholds the ideology of white supremacy–permeate through our everyday lives and un/intentionally into our research. Grounding ourselves in a shared language, we will engage in a critical reflection of the impacts of these systems in our lives and work. We will examine what is considered central or “legitimate” in Computer Science Education (CSEd) research and work to understand how we knowingly and unknowingly perpetuate these systems ourselves. Striving towards a critical consciousness in the field, we invite graduate students and early-career (non-faculty) researchers to deeply engage in these questions as the beginning of envisioning what a CSEd that valued the multiple ways of knowing, doing, and being could look like.

In an effort to promote a safe space for discussions, this workshop’s audience will primarily focus on graduate students and early-career researchers working in and across CSEd in some capacity (e.g., CSEd researchers in HCI, Learning Sciences, K-12 education, etc.). Researchers whose work directly focuses on or intersects CSEd are welcome to attend. To participate, register for the workshop via the usual SIGCSE Technical Symposium registration process. We have a maximum of 40 slots for this workshop. This year, SIGCSE will be fully-online. Participants will need to have a computer with reliable Internet access to participate in the workshop. Further details regarding the workshop platform will be communicated to participants through email.

More info