August 8, 2017 Last Updated 2:32 pm

Google experiences conservative media’s wrath as it fires engineer who wrote ‘diversity’ memo

Whether James Damore becomes the next right-wing martyr of not, Google is not likely to be hurt by any called boycott — in fact, it continues planning for a massive expansion of its facilities throughout the Bay Area

The Google engineer who wrote a memo that claimed that, because men and women have biological differences, women are less suitable for technology jobs, has been fired by Google. Cue the controversy.

Google

I doubt this is something Google really would have wanted right about now. The company is already dealing with an investigation by the US Department of Labor over whether Google unlawfully pays women less than men. Now it is facing a backlash by right wing media over the firing of a male employee who is trying to shift the reason for that firing from his memo about why females are unqualified to work for Google into a case involving suppressing of conservative speech.

The odd thing about all this is that unlike many controversies involving famous brands, this one can’t possibly end with a boycott of Google and its Android products, can it? Is the alternative, in the eyes of those that might contemplate such a thing, to urge consumers to buy Apple products? Highly doubtful. I also doubt that large segments of the population will now become regular Bing users, either.


If you are unfamiliar with the controversy, let’s try and explain in briefly.

James Damore, an engineer at Google, wrote a memo in which he accused his employer of “shaming into silence” those who do not hold the company’s “left leaning” work philosophy. In his memo he goes on to argue that because of the biological differences between men and women, that women are not as qualified to be engineers at Google as are men.

But it is his claim that Google is “alienating conservatives” that has many in the conservative media rallying to his cause.

“In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves,” Damore said.

“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.”

My own confusion in reading the memo is where he feels that Google is biased against conservatives, except if one accepts the premise that conservatives all believe that women are unsuited to work in Silicon Valley. Google has decided that this is not the case, and that it is in their best business interests to have a diverse workplace. Damore believes that this position in and of itself equates to silencing his view that Google should not move in this direction.

Kevin Drum, writing in the liberal magazine Mother Jones, thinks Damore has a sinister motive for writing the memo he did.

So why did he write what he did? Maybe I’m overestimating Damore’s sophistication, but something about his writing style made me think he had deliberately chosen not to take this tack. There was something about the amateurishness of his analysis that seemed strained, as if he was playing a role. And that role was simple: not to write about why he thought Google’s diversity programs were misguided, but to write something as offensive as possible in a way that allowed him plausible deniability. In other words, he was trying to get fired so he could portray himself as a lonely martyr to Silicon Valley’s intolerance for conservative views. Maybe he could even go to court, funded by some nice right-wing think tank.

Owen Jones, also a liberal writer, says in The Guardian, that the firing of Damore gives us insight into the election of Donald Trump, seen by many of the triumph of white maleness.

You’re going to hear a lot about him in the coming weeks: he’ll probably be a star guest on alt-right shows and the rightwing lecture circuit, splashed on the front covers of conservative magazines, no doubt before a lucrative book deal about his martyrdom and what it says about the Liberal Big Brother Anti-White Man Thought Police. For the online right, he’s already a hero: I’ll wager that soon thousands of angry male rightists will change their Twitter profile pictures to Damore’s face, and their Twitter names to I Am James Damore.

In a way, Owen is certainly right. Already, many conservative websites are rallying around the issue, and as predicted, that issue isn’t the right to be biased against women engineers, it is that conservatives are being oppressed.

Breitbart News, Charlie Nash:

Google Fires Viewpoint Diversity Manifesto Author James Damore

In his email to Breitbart Tech, Damore claimed, “They just fired me for perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

Damore’s writing has revealed a divided Google, in which some employees agree with his outlook, but are afraid to speak out for fear of repercussions from social justice warriors in the company, such as being added to blacklists.

RedState, Sarah Lee:

Google Values Diversity (Just Not Of Thought)

In a mind bending move, Google has fired the author of a memo that suggested that bias against women at the company — and in tech fields in general — may not be as much about gender discrimination as about biological differences and the preferences of women.

It’s mind bending because in the statement following the circulation of the memo around the company, Danielle Brown, Google’s new VP for for diversity, integrity and governance, said that James Damore, the author of the memo, violated the company’s code of conduct which includes an “unequivocal” belief “that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company.”

InfoWars, Chris Menahan:

Google Fires Diversity Manifesto Author James Damore For WrongThink

I guess Google needs to keep up the left-wing’s ideological reign of terror…

…As I noted earlier, Google had no response to his thoroughly detailed arguments other than to proclaim diversity is an unqualified good, “Nuff said.”

One of the few major newspapers to weigh in on the controversy is the Los Angeles Times, which wrote a rather disjointed editorial on the incident this morning. They appear to be both defending Damore’s right to claim “left bias” at Google, which also acknowledging that since the overwhelming majority of employees at the company are male that the company does have a diversity problem.

I suppose that does, in its own way, describe Google’s dilemma. It needs to fix its diversity problems while understanding that doing so will upset many on the right, who feel they have a right to advocating against diversity.

Los Angeles Times, Editorial:

The ‘left bias’ of Google, where 70% of employees are male, comes under attack

Granted, much of the debate seems to be over the memo writer’s views about why women hold such a small percentage of the leadership jobs, not his opinion that “Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.” Although he insisted that he shares the goal of a more diverse workplace, he argued that part of the blame for the gender gap in hiring and promotion was a function of uncorrectable chromosomal differences, including an innate inability or disinclination among women to handle the stress that comes with leadership.

Naturally, that triggered the sort of outrage that gender stereotypes usually produce, and rightfully so. Hiring and promotion decisions, after all, are about individuals, not statistical averages. Imagine the reaction if a woman argued that older men were underrepresented in some female-dominated field because they need too many bathroom breaks…

…The disgruntled software engineer seemed more concerned about Google’s efforts to train more women and minorities to become engineers than about the shortage of women and minorities entering the field. The former isn’t the problem — the latter is. But at least he has demonstrated how easy it is to foster a debate over Google’s goals and methods, at least outside the top offices of the Googleplex.

It’s worth noting that the lead story in the San Jose Mercury News right now is about Google.

But not about this incident, but about the company’s plans to expand in the Bay Area, in particular downtown San Jose and in Sunnyvale.

In fact, the paper has published an editorial, which is probably ill-timed, entitled Google’s San Jose plan is not evil, it’s a fabulous opportunity. So far, at least, the comments for and against the expansion do not mention James Damore.

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