Google engineer James Damore, who penned the now-viral memo on Google’s intolerance of conservative viewpoints, has been fired from his job and plans to explore legal action against the company. He was allegedly fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”
Damore recommended that tech hubs like Google: 1) stop demoralizing diversity, 2) stop alienating conservatives, 3) to confront Google’s bias, 4) to “stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races,” 5) to “have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs,” 6) to also focus on “psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity,” 7) to de-emphasize empathy, 8) to prioritize intention, 9) to embrace the science of human nature, and 10) “reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.”
Here’s the gist of his memo:
- Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.
- This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
- The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
- Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
- Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
- Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.
And here’s the “contentious” portion about women in tech. (Warning: it’s not offensive)
Women, on average, have more:
- Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. 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 SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.
- Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
- This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
- 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.
In response to Damore’s memo, Google’s vice president of diversity, Danielle Brown, sent a memo asserting the engineer’s essay “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender”. But that will not help the case against Google, who is currently the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for allegedly paying women less than men– a claim the company has since denied.
Experts say Damore doesn’t have much of a case against his former employer, but that remains to be seen. As I wrote on Facebook this morning, it’s imperative for more conservatives and libertarians to enter the tech realm and offer some creative disruption in that industry. It’s needed now more than ever.