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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 TAPIA 2021 workshop!

Workshop: What are Your Papayas? Assimilating to Belong in Computing

Workshop organizers:

Wednesday, September 3:45-5pm (CDT)

Systems of power—such as structural racism, which upholds the ideology of white supremacy—are invisible and permeate into our everyday lives and, un/intentionally, into our work. As these systems influence what is held as “ideal”, and in turn what is marginalized, participants of the computing field (from minoritized groups) often have to assimilate ourselves and our work into dominant ideals that uphold these structures. Drawing inspiration from the idea of the papaya, a skin-lightening ingredient often used in the Philippines to acclimate to Western ideals of beauty, we center our discussion around the question: What are our papayas in computing?

We will examine our papayas, the ways in which we changed our identity, behaviors, or actions to assimilate into the field of computing. This workshop brings together academic (e.g., students, faculty, researchers) and industry (e.g., engineers, managers, researchers) professionals in computing to critically examine current practices and unpack the impacts of systems of power that shape our participation, research and design practices. Such examination is necessary to center equity and justice, and strive towards a critical consciousness in the CS field. To do so, we will investigate questions like the following: What are systems of power? Who has the right to participate? Who has the right to exclude? We will use group-based activities that center historicities and “outsider” knowledge to examine computing practices and theories to answer these questions. We will draft individual commitments that we can make to rid ourselves of our papayas.

If you have any questions feel free to email us ( or tweet us at We look forward to seeing you at TAPIA!

Official program here:

Join us at our ICER 2021 workshop!

Workshop: Examining and Redesigning Computing Education Research to Center Equity

Workshop organizers:

Sunday, August 15, 12pm to 4pm (EDT)

The goal of this workshop is to think through what it means to center equity in computing education (CEd) research to strive towards a critical consciousness in the field. We will do this through guided discussions and hands-on activities that invite facilitators and participants to critically (re)examine and question our own work. Participants will bring in their own CEd artifacts for reflection—completed work (e.g., previously submitted papers, journal articles, CS course material) or developing ideas (e.g., works-in-progress, rejected CEd papers, CS course material)—to consider questions such as, what is “equity” work and who is equity “for”. We will also examine these artifacts to question what shapes our assumptions, motivations, and choices of methodologies and theories in our work and how we will actively incorporate lessons learned in our research going forward. We will close the workshop with a panel of CEd and learning sciences equity researchers to synthesize the reflections and discussions during the workshop.

We invite audiences interested in critical discussions about current practices in CER, how those practices do or do not center equity, and how we can work towards ensuring that equity is centered in everyone’s CEd research. The upper limit is 40 participants.

This pre-conference workshop will be hosted on Zoom on Sunday, August 15 from 12:00pm to 4:00pm Eastern. If you are interested in attending, please register here by July 17, 2021–we will send out notifications of workshop attendance on or before that date. For more information on the workshop, visit: Please direct questions about the workshop to

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