Google Employee’s Firing Over Diversity Memo Proves Company’s Blatant Hypocrisy
A male Google employee was fired Monday over a 10-page internal document in which he challenged the Silicon Valley company for not accepting wide-ranging points of view, particularly, right-leaning and conservative opinions.
The document, titled, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” was written by 28-year-old James Damore. Damore took on the technology giant for creating a “politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.” The author of the 10-page dossier gave us just one example of the company’s attempt to fix the perceived gender gap.
“At Google, we’re regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership,” Damore wrote. He acknowledged that “of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it’s far from the whole story.”
“On average,” Damore stated, “men and women biologically differ in many ways.”
The former employee’s point was that more women do not work in the technology sector because they just don’t prefer those types of jobs.
“Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing). These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within [Society of Women Engineers], comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics,” Damore wrote.
The comments were met with intense national debate.
“What he wrote is extremely toxic to the tech community we are trying to support. He’s categorizing us in a way that makes us seem weak or incompetent,” Adriana Gascoigne, founder of the San Francisco-based nonprofit organization Girls in Tech, said, according to Reuters.
Liberal blogs, like Gizmodo, cast Damore’s fact-based comments as “anti-diversity.”
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) August 8, 2017
Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a company blog post that the memo “violate[s] our Code of Conduct and cross[s] the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”
“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” Pichai wrote. The CEO added that Demore’s words “clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender.”
Indeed, National Public Radio reported Sunday night that some female Google employees decided to take a long weekend because they were “uncomfortable going back to work.”
In a response to the public backlash, Demore told Gizmodo over the weekend that he had received “many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired.”
It seems as if those fears were not unfounded. Just days after Gizmodo reported Demore’s response, Google fired him for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” But according to recent research, available through a simple Google search, no less, there is something to Demore’s statements.
“Men are linear in thought process and more narrow in their focus, so they are able to break down problems into their component parts and solve it,” Keith Merron, senior associate at the gender diversity consulting firm Barbara Annis & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in gender diversity, told the Fiscal Times.
Merron added that women, “more often see a problem holistically and are able to coming up with an understanding of that situation without needing to know what all the parts are.”
In other words, men tend to think more mathematically and scientifically, whereas women tend to think more creatively and artistically. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that because, as Merron went on to say, “when it comes to problem solving – particularly in business – you need a balance of both perspectives.”
Set aside for a moment, though, the factual nature of Demore’s comments. For now, let’s just focus on the blatant hypocrisy of Google.
The Silicon Valley giant often shows off its “tolerance” of diversity with rainbow-colored lettering for gay pride. It also celebrates Black History Month annually. In no way am I suggesting that Google should not do these things, but it’s inarguably hypocritical for Google to celebrate some diversity — the LGBT community and women workers, for example — without celebrating all diversity. That includes diversity of thought — specifically, political thought.
The philosopher Aristotle once said, “it is the mark of an educated to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Google is known to employ some of the most educated workers in the country and, yes, the world. Logically, the reverse of Aristotle’s statement is also true.
That being the mark of an uneducated mind is the inability to entertain a thought without accepting it. While Google claims Demore’s statement “perpetuates gender stereotypes,” the reality is that his opinion is based purely on facts and statistics. The company should applaud him for bringing this perspective to the forefront. Instead, it fired him. It silenced him.
This is particularly rich considering that the internal memo that led to Demore’s ousting in the first place, as you’ll recall, accused Google of creating a “politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.”
The only thing Google has done, in this instance, has proven that Demore is entirely correct.
Google doesn’t really want diversity. It doesn’t really want varying perspectives.
If Google did actually value diversity, Demore would still have a job.
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