A software engineer at Google created a firestorm over the weekend after his 10-page memo, first circulated among company employees internally, surfaced online.
After the Motherboard reported the existence of anti-diversity manifesto, titled “Google's Ideological Echo Chamber,” Gizmodo managed to get hold of the complete document and published it online, sparking harsh criticism on the left and receiving praise from the right.
The screed, penned by James Damore, was not only a direct attack on the tech-giant’s pro-diversity policies but also highlighted the author’s sexist rhetoric asserting how women are not suitable for high-profile jobs in the tech industry. Damore also insisted how diversity initiatives and programs, which are meant for members of minority communities or women, undermined conservative white men. He even cited pseudo-scientific facts and supposed values of evolutionary psychology to back his case.
As Bloomberg reported, Google fired Damore fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” The 28-year-old, who had been working at the company since 2013 and has a Ph.D. in systems biology from Harvard University, also said he is “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”
His termination seemed to have irked the so-called alt-right, which claims Google proved Damore’s point by silencing him — even though he was reportedly fired for breach of a company code. In fact, an alt-right crowd-funding platform even set up a fundraiser for the disgraced engineer “on his behalf at his request.”
At the time of writing, 47 people have contributed to the fund, raising $2,924 of the $60,000 target. The contributors not only called Damore an “American hero” but also claiming how the engineer became “the victim of a massive hate campaign from colleagues at his own company” after “rationally and politely expressing his opinion to fellow Googlers.”
Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly told employees Damore had violated the company's Code of Conduct.
“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” Danielle Brown, Google’s Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance, wrote in a memo responding to the now-viral document. “Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”
At a time when sexism in Silicon Valley has turned into a national debate, with increasing reports of female tech entrepreneurs and employees facing harassment or discrimination at workplace, this manifesto gives an in-depth look at the white male privilege the author thinks he is entitled to.
Susan Fowler, a former Uber employee who made headlines after sharing harrowing details of sexism at the company, also took to Twitter to criticize those supporting Damore for raising his voice against purported “injustice.”
Here are some tidbits from the divisive memo to put things into perspective:
“On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren't just socially constructed because: They're universal across human cultures, they often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone, biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males.”
“Women, on average, have more: Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance). This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.”
On Work-Life Balance
“Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average.”
“Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons and school dropouts.”
On Desire For High-Paying Jobs
“Unfortunately, as long as tech and leadership remain high status, lucrative careers, men may disproportionately want to be in them. Allowing and truly endorsing (as part of our culture) part time work though can keep more women in tech.”
On Female Biasness
“[H]umans are generally biased towards protecting females.”
On Gender Pay Gap
“Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social scientists learn left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what’s being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap.”
“Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.”
“Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.”
“Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn’t going to overthrow their 'capitalist oppressors,' the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics.”
On Diversity Initiatives
“Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races. These discriminatory practices are both unfair and divisive.”
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Mark Blinch