Google roiled by samizdat critique of diversity policy

Lawyers, grievance groups, and their media touts are salivating at the prospect of cutting themselves in on the high technology industry, which has too few women, Hispanics, and blacks to suit them.  At Google, a Department of Labor investigation into “extreme” gender disparities screams “deep pockets” to class action lawyers, and whispers, “be quiet” to Google executives and lawyers.

Google long has embraced progressive causes, a posture that cynics see as an attempt to buy off predation from the progressive grievance groups.  On Easter Sunday in 2013, it chose to commemorate Cesar Chavez, a left wing hero. 

Shhh...nobody tell Google that Chavez opposed illegal immigration because it depressed farmworker wages. That might be awkward when it comes to H1-B visas.

So, when an anonymous Google employee circulated a devastating critique of that company’s wrongheaded diversity policies -- because they are based on politically correct assumptions that are inconsistent with human nature – it went “internally viral.” The website Motherboard was first to catch wind of the samizdat late Friday.

At least eight Google employees tweeted Friday about a document that was circulated within the company calling for replacing Google's diversity initiatives with policies that encourage "ideological diversity" instead. The document, which is the personal opinion of one senior software engineer, was shared on a company mailing list but has since gone "internally viral," according to a Google employee who spoke with Motherboard.

 

 

Motherboard has not viewed the full document, but a screenshot we reviewed shows it's titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber." Descriptions of its contents were tweeted publicly by Google employees, and it was described in detail to me by a Google employee, who requested anonymity because of the company's notoriously strict confidentiality agreement. (A lawsuit against the company was filed in a San Francisco court last year over the company's "spying program" to prevent leaks.)

After the story broke, Gizmodo was able to obtain and publish the full contents of the memo, minus a couple of charts. Read it there, as it is an exclusive. Here is Gizmodo’s summary:

In the memo, which is the personal opinion of a male Google employee and is titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” the author argues that women are underrepresented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination in the workplace, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he writes, going on to argue that Google’s educational programs for young women may be misguided.

Google’s management responded with a memorandum to employees.  

The author issued a response to the controversy:

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten 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. This needs to change.

The genie is out of the bottle at Google, and perhaps eventually in court.

Lawyers, grievance groups, and their media touts are salivating at the prospect of cutting themselves in on the high technology industry, which has too few women, Hispanics, and blacks to suit them.  At Google, a Department of Labor investigation into “extreme” gender disparities screams “deep pockets” to class action lawyers, and whispers, “be quiet” to Google executives and lawyers.

Google long has embraced progressive causes, a posture that cynics see as an attempt to buy off predation from the progressive grievance groups.  On Easter Sunday in 2013, it chose to commemorate Cesar Chavez, a left wing hero. 

Shhh...nobody tell Google that Chavez opposed illegal immigration because it depressed farmworker wages. That might be awkward when it comes to H1-B visas.

So, when an anonymous Google employee circulated a devastating critique of that company’s wrongheaded diversity policies -- because they are based on politically correct assumptions that are inconsistent with human nature – it went “internally viral.” The website Motherboard was first to catch wind of the samizdat late Friday.

At least eight Google employees tweeted Friday about a document that was circulated within the company calling for replacing Google's diversity initiatives with policies that encourage "ideological diversity" instead. The document, which is the personal opinion of one senior software engineer, was shared on a company mailing list but has since gone "internally viral," according to a Google employee who spoke with Motherboard.

 

 

Motherboard has not viewed the full document, but a screenshot we reviewed shows it's titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber." Descriptions of its contents were tweeted publicly by Google employees, and it was described in detail to me by a Google employee, who requested anonymity because of the company's notoriously strict confidentiality agreement. (A lawsuit against the company was filed in a San Francisco court last year over the company's "spying program" to prevent leaks.)

After the story broke, Gizmodo was able to obtain and publish the full contents of the memo, minus a couple of charts. Read it there, as it is an exclusive. Here is Gizmodo’s summary:

In the memo, which is the personal opinion of a male Google employee and is titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” the author argues that women are underrepresented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination in the workplace, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he writes, going on to argue that Google’s educational programs for young women may be misguided.

Google’s management responded with a memorandum to employees.  

The author issued a response to the controversy:

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten 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. This needs to change.

The genie is out of the bottle at Google, and perhaps eventually in court.

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