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In July 2017, a then-Google employee, James Damore, wrote a ten-page essay, including footnotes, about Google’s approach to diversity.

While other sites posted abridged versions, you can read ‘Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber’ in full here and here: recommended reading for all.

Consider that things like this are happening — or could so easily happen — i.e. blacklists, suggested in this supposed joke:

Summary

James Damore’s perspective is one of promoting diversity but doing it in a realistic, individualised way that looks at people’s strengths and perceived weaknesses — and making good use of both. He wrote that his commentary pertained only to the Mountain View, California location where he works.

Two excerpts follow. The first is the introduction:

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 second is this brief part from his detailed conclusion:

I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

Heavy summarised his detailed conclusion as follows:

He suggested Google do the following: De-moralize diversity; stop alienating conservatives; confront its biases; stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races; have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of its diversity programs; focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity; de-emphasize empathy; prioritize intention; be open about the science of human nature; and reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.

Reaction

This is a summary of the reaction by Damore’s colleagues:

On Saturday, August 5, Business Insider reported on the reaction from certain Google employees (tweets at the link):

Google employees are up in arms after a senior engineer at the company penned an anti-diversity manifesto that has spread through the company like wildfire.

At that time, no one knew the author’s identity because only excerpts were available. Business Insider contacted Google for comment:

A Google spokesperson referred Business Insider to internal memos posted by Google’s head of diverisity, Danielle Brown, as well as to an internal post by Ari Balogh, a Google VP of engineering.

Business Insider found out about the document from Vice‘s Motherboard, whose team saw it at Gizmodo.

Dilbert’s Scott Adams tweeted the link to the Business Insider article:

On Monday, August 7, Google fired Damore. Bloomberg reports:

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” …

Earlier on Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees that said portions of the memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” But he didn’t say if the company was taking action against the employee. A Google representative, asked about the dismissal, referred to Pichai’s memo.

Damore’s 10-page memorandum accused Google of silencing conservative political opinions and argued that biological differences play a role in the shortage of women in tech and leadership positions. It circulated widely inside the company and became public over the weekend, causing a furor that amplified the pressure on Google executives to take a more definitive stand.

After the controversy swelled, Danielle Brown, Google’s new vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, sent a statement to staff condemning Damore’s views and reaffirmed the company’s stance on diversity. In internal discussion boards, multiple employees said they supported firing the author, and some said they would not choose to work with him, according to postings viewed by Bloomberg News.

“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” Brown said in the statement. “We’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”

It looks as if Google might have been trying to protect themselves:

The memo and surrounding debate comes as Google fends off a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Labor alleging the company systemically discriminates against women. Google has denied the charges, arguing that it doesn’t have a gender gap in pay, but has declined to share full salary information with the government. According to the company’s most recent demographic report, 69 percent of its workforce and 80 percent of its technical staff are male.

However, Bloomberg stated that the subject of diverse opinions at Google arose during their shareholder meeting in June (emphases mine):

A shareholder asked executives whether conservatives would feel welcome at the company. Executives disagreed with the idea that anyone wouldn’t.

“The company was founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking,” Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the time. “You’ll also find that all of the other companies in our industry agree with us.”

Yes, and that is the problem. I have read anecdotally from conservative Silicon Valley employees that they keep their heads down and get on with the work. They said they would not dare to discuss social issues or politics and do their best to fit in with the prevailing culture because they like their work.

Heavy says that Damore told a New York Times reporter:

he will likely take legal action against Google. He said he believes the company acted illegally by firing him.

“I have a legal right to express my concerns about the terms and conditions of my working environment and to bring up potentially illegal behavior, which is what my document does,” Damore told the New York Times. He said he wrote the memo to start an “honest discussion” about what he believes to be Google’s intolerance for ideas that don’t fit into its left-leaning biases, according to the Times.

Damore told the Times he submitted a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board before he was fired, claiming Google’s upper management was “misrepresenting and shaming me in order to silence my complaints.” He said it is “illegal to retaliate” against a complaint made to the NLRB.

An account to help with his legal fees is now open on WeSearchr.com.

Twitter lit up.

Alternative media’s Mike Cernovich had this pertinent comment:

A young woman took exception to Google employees who were happy about Damore’s dismissal:

A professor of evolutionary psychology defended Damore:

Who is James Damore?

Heavy tells us that Damore is originally from Illinois.

He graduated from the prestigious — and rigorous — Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in 2007.

He was also a chess champion in his youth:

As a child, Damore was a chess champion, earning the FIDE Master title, putting him in the >99th percentile, according to his CV. He won regional tournaments in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, and finished second in the Nation Youth Action 2003 Chess Tournament.

He graduated with high honours from the University of Illinois:

he graduated in 2010 in the top 3 percent of his class with a degree in molecular and cellular biology, according to his CV. He graduated as a James Scholar and was given the Bronze Tablet, the highest awards given to graduates, he said.

He then enrolled in a graduate programme at Harvard University:

Damore also pursued his Ph.D. in systems biology from Harvard University in from 2011 to 2013, according to his Linkedin profile. He is listed in the alumni section of the Harvard Systems Biology Ph.D. program, but it is not clear if he completed the degree.

He was employed as a researcher at Harvard, MIT and Princeton:

He published two research papers while working at Jeff Gore’s biophysics laboratory at MIT in 2011 and 2012: “Understanding microbial cooperation” and “A slowly evolving host moves first in symbiotic interactions.”

He says that he has “Senior or graduate level knowledge of biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, game theory, and computer programming.”

He was delighted to be offered a job at Google in December 2013:

“Flying home tonight and starting at Google in two weeks, so excited,” he wrote on Facebook. Damore worked on infrastructure for Google’s search product, according to the New York Times.

Heavy delved into Damore’s Facebook musings and posted a few of them. Not surprisingly, this genius is an introvert, although not without friends. He also tries to make life as efficient a process as possible. He does not like to waste time. He is also an artist and posts his charcoal drawings on Facebook.

Instant popularity and job offers

James Damore’s Google memo has made him a national hero.

He has attracted the attention of many online, including Julian Assange:

Gab — similar to Twitter but less censorious — also wants to interview Damore:

It looks as if James Damore has an even brighter future ahead of him. I wish him all the best and applaud him for his guts.

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