Former Google engineer James Damore is suing Google after he was fired last year for penning an internal memo identifying various methods in which the company was intentionally (and illegally) discriminating against “white, conservative men” in favor of hiring more women and people of color. In a 10-page document titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” Damore spoke out against Google for embedding political bias in their business practice. “Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence,”
Damore outlined secret diversity meetings, diversity hiring quotas and creating an unsafe workspace that inhibited different points of view. At first glance, the narrative leads one to hate Damore, the sexist google engineer who detests diversity in his workspace. Reading the memo – which is available online – may lead one away from this sentiment. I recommend you read it to know the full context to this story. The reason the memo has received so much attention is the few pages where Damore mentions biological differences between men and women. “I’m simply stating the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”
Damore elaborates that men and women have different personality traits that push them to enter different occupations and careers. Damore’s memo wasn’t inflammatory or offensive (for the most part); he presented employment practices that concerned him. I remain sympathetic to Damore because he is being discriminated against his ideas. I certainly don’t agree with all of his views, but everyone should be allowed input within their own company.
We live in a time of highly politicized and divisive rhetoric, so much so that discourse seems counterproductive. It’s easy to just try to silence different perspectives. We also live in a time of inclusivity, yet we are unwilling to open a dialogue with those whose political views are misaligned with ours.
Cases such as these should remind us all that as much as we promote diversity, we should also promote different ideas and perspectives that are subject to the same scrutiny as every other idea.