These reactions to the screed are sound, but they risk missing a larger problem: The kind of computing systems that get made and used by people outside the industry, and with serious consequences, are a direct byproduct of the gross machismo of computing writ large. More women and minorities are needed in computing because the world would be better for their contributions—and because it might be much worse without them.
A software engineer’s 10-page screed against Google’s diversity initiatives is going viral inside the company, being shared on an internal meme network and Google+. The document’s existence was first reported by Motherboard and Gizmodo has obtained it in full.
While the document itself contains the thoughts of one employee, responses to the document from other Google employees show that some people at the company share the same beliefs.
Motherboard spoke to one current employee who agrees with the document’s author, who wrote in the manifesto that “Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.”
The firing of a Google employee who questioned the organization’s diversity policies raises questions for communicators both internal and external.
At what point does disputing policy internally become a firing offense? Is an offense given to co-workers or an external social media firestorm sufficient grounds for cutting ties with an employee?
Perhaps somewhat predictably, the response has proven his point. The emotional outrage we’ve seen, especially from media outlets, in response to the document’s mere existence shows how true its main thesis is. Viewpoints that make us uncomfortable have been vilified and punished, regardless of their scientific accuracy. Holders of those viewpoints have to silence themselves for fear of public humiliation or worse, so much so that this memo had to be published anonymously. And now that he’s been fired, you can imagine other Google employees will hesitate to share unpopular opinions.
Rex Huppkes take – as a white, male who, for whatever reason, is not part of the aggrieved brommunity — is that the Google engineer’s word barf is insufferable, unquestionably insulting to women (and pretty much any non-white person) and the epitome of white, male privilege. And with all that said, he absolutely, without question, had every right in the world to write what he wrote.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.
James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”
Widespread sharing of the document has highlighted struggles with gender equality and the wage gap in the tech industry and particularly at Google, which was sued by the federal government earlier this year for refusing to share compensation amounts and other data.
“I have known, worked for, and taught countless men who could have written the now-infamous Google “manifesto” — or who are on some level persuaded by it. Given these facts, I’d like to treat it — and them — with some degree of charity and try to explain why it generated so much outrage.”
Silicon Valley says it is committed to racial diversity in its workforce. But the numbers tell a different story.
Last week this newspaper said Alphabet’s boss should write a “detailed, ringing rebuttal” of a viral anti-diversity memo sent at Google. Here is how we imagine it
James Damore says his good-faith effort to discuss differences between men and women in tech couldn’t be tolerated in the company’s ‘ideological echo chamber’
“All of which is why the conclusions of this manifesto are precisely backwards. It’s true that women are socialized to be better at paying attention to people’s emotional needs and so on — this is something that makes them betterengineers, not worse ones”