Misogyny based on flawed/erroneous/outdated social science theories
August 5, 2017 4:19 PM   Subscribe

A software engineer’s 10-page screed against Google’s diversity initiatives is going viral inside the company. The document’s existence was first reported by Motherboard, and Gizmodo has obtained and published it in full. The memo, a lengthy MRA-rant, 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. Motherboard has an internal response from Danielle Brown, Google's new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance.

Mashable: Reminder: Google is being investigated by the Department of Labor for gender-based pay discrimination. And according to its most recent diversity report, the company is 56 percent white and 69 percent male.
posted by zarq (1244 comments total) 93 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why are people protecting the author's name? I personally would like to know, so I can avoid unintentionally working with him in the future.
posted by primethyme at 4:28 PM on August 5 [67 favorites]


Pulled from the Motherboard article:
"It's not worth thinking about this as an isolated incident and instead a manifestation of what ails all of Silicon Valley," the employee I spoke to who detailed the document's contents told me.
This. So much this.
posted by Fizz at 4:30 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


It's as if the soul of reddit were distilled into one wee Google doc.
posted by Sublimity at 4:32 PM on August 5 [52 favorites]


I can't read it. The entire past year has been about the universe repeatedly revealing to me that they hate us more than we even could have imagined. I just can't handle one more reminder of how much I am hated.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:36 PM on August 5 [200 favorites]


My roommate works at (a contracted service for) Google. It's not my place to tell stories on her behalf, but straight-up Mad Men sexism is absolutely a thing that goes on there, protected by a network of subtle factors.

I'm sure I don't have to tell Metafilter, this memo is crystallized Engineer's Disease, and horseshit of the purest kind.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 4:37 PM on August 5 [41 favorites]


The lack of effective response from Google is troubling. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, this whole mini PR crisis started on a Friday evening. But seeing the tweets from the many Googlers who started complaining about this yesterday, they were angry because nothing was being done internally to say this kind of sophomoric sexism is not OK.

See also Erica Joy's essay on the theme "why is the environment at Google such that racists and sexists feel supported and safe in sharing these views in the company?"
posted by Nelson at 4:38 PM on August 5 [34 favorites]


Google+ still exists?

I think Ingress is largely responsible for that.
posted by Rob Rockets at 4:39 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services)

Hold on. This sentence sticks out at me like a sore thumb. Did some asshole write a ridiculous 10 page screed because he thinks some SJW killed Google Reader?
posted by Talez at 4:45 PM on August 5 [129 favorites]


The notion that programming skill tracks with gender is moronic.

Like, you might as well foster a belief in Phrenology, or The Humours.

I would fire someone who believed such nonsense, because that sort of belief despite evidence is the reason stupid and obvious structural bugs occur in software design.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:45 PM on August 5 [65 favorites]


I’ve heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do, relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain—causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.

This is where I wish I had a raygun that would change someone's gender until they finally understand.
posted by Talez at 4:47 PM on August 5 [47 favorites]


the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ[8] and sex differences).

OH LOOK! LOOK LOOK LOOK! IT'S THE BELL CURVE! I FOUND THE BELL CURVE!

That's right folks if you CALL NOW we're giving you a two for one deal on prejudices! You can not only have a Google engineer with sexism and misogyny but we're giving away RACISM for the SAME LOW PRICE! Only with Google's unique startup culture can you find such value in white male hegemony, folks!
posted by Talez at 4:54 PM on August 5 [110 favorites]


Is this what passes for innovation culture in Silicon Valley? Someone distributes a 10-page paper on how women aren't as capable as men, and that fucker isn't instantly fired? Like what exactly does this guy do that is so incredibly valuable that it's worth tolerating him doing this? Is he literally curing cancer?
posted by Autumnheart at 4:56 PM on August 5 [98 favorites]


While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do

Apparently not strongly enough to actually to do it.
posted by axiom at 4:57 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


Is this what passes for innovation culture in Silicon Valley? Someone distributes a 10-page paper on how women aren't as capable as men, and that fucker isn't instantly fired? Like what exactly does this guy do that is so incredibly valuable that it's worth tolerating him doing this? Is he literally curing cancer?

Someone is taking "so much for the tolerant left" as constructive criticism.
posted by Talez at 4:59 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


Is this what passes for innovation culture in Silicon Valley? Someone distributes a 10-page paper on how women aren't as capable as men, and that fucker isn't instantly fired? Like what exactly does this guy do that is so incredibly valuable that it's worth tolerating him doing this? Is he literally curing cancer?

Google would not announce that he was fired unless they wanted to be sued.
posted by dilaudid at 5:02 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


So who is this guy? Someone has to know. We know it's a senior software engineer at the Mountain View campus. And -- this is just a guess -- a white male.

I just feel bad that his name was left off the article and he's missing getting the personal "constructive feedback" that women get when their posts go viral.
posted by mmoncur at 5:04 PM on August 5 [109 favorites]


Sued for what? Distributing hate speech on company systems sounds like a perfectly reasonable firing offense to me.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:04 PM on August 5 [34 favorites]


It sounds possible from the way this keeps being described that it was not at least immediately apparent WHICH male Google employee wrote this, which kind of amuses me that Google knows basically everything about me but quite possibly not that much about its own employees. Aside from the fact that they might not announce it, they may still be investigating, and it's possible that they store much less information about employee communications than they do about ours for liability reasons. (My company, for example, completely disables Skype history and only lets us keep a few months' worth of emails.)
posted by Sequence at 5:05 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


So this deep thinker starts off his thesis by listing his unsupported opinions on fundamental prejudices for the 'Left' and 'Right' and then charges off to use that to paint a broad picture on gender bias within Google?

Dude needs to be fired for a complete lack of self-awareness.
posted by N-stoff at 5:07 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


I saw a different version of this article and it also didn't name the author beyond "senior software engineer." So someone knows he is senior (maybe from details in the full screed, which I am not planning to read), but they are otherwise either protecting his identity or it is not yet known.

I sure hope Google fires his ass most quickly and publicly. As noted above, if he's dumb enough to believe all of this, he's dumb enough to put the company at risk in all kinds of ways.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:09 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


Either Google is infested with these guys or anyone who works around him knows exactly who it is.
posted by radiopaste at 5:10 PM on August 5 [10 favorites]


anyone who works around him knows exactly who it is.

"Missin' stair? Nah bro he's missin' a fuckin' brain!"
posted by Talez at 5:12 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


TONS of people at Google HAVE to know who wrote this. People who write this kind of detailed thesis manifesto about their opinions don't suddenly develop the habit out of nowhere. You KNOW he wrote a 10-page screed last week about why it's unfair that he has to park his car in Auxilliary Lot B while the Main Lot is under construction. And one the week before about the unfairness of the drink selections in the cafeteria.
posted by mmoncur at 5:15 PM on August 5 [84 favorites]


Is this a fireable offense? I'm not an HR person, but I feel like you'd need a history of abusive behavior before or after this came out. I'm not sure if under most company policies this event would be grounds for firing.

Please note I am not making a moral/ethical/intellectual statement about the contents of his letter. I'm merely questioning whether or not it is something he would obviously be fired for.
posted by Telf at 5:21 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


Heh. One of the comments on the Gizmodo article includes a link to the Metafilter thread on emotional labor. #metametafilter
posted by Autumnheart at 5:21 PM on August 5 [70 favorites]


Is this a fireable offense?
In the US, pretty much anything is a fireable offense, other than being a member of very specific protected classes. And given that Google is being investigated for gender discrimination, I don't think they'd want someone working for them who was known to have written this thing. It's like exhibit A in any discrimination trial that could happen in the future.

But that's probably naive, because Silicon Valley seems to be terrible beyond what I'm capable of imagining.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:24 PM on August 5 [36 favorites]


Funny how, given equal education and opportunities, women thrive in the sciences and engineering, but given all the opportunities in the world, there are still men who have absolutely no idea how to relate to other human beings and they cope with it by viewing their lack of skill as an asset.
posted by mikeh at 5:26 PM on August 5 [144 favorites]


Well, a brief search tells me that a) California is an at-will employment state, so they don't need to justify firing the guy, and b) IANAL but I would speculate that sharing a document encouraging discrimination against women on a company network would qualify as a hostile work environment in California, and as ArbitraryandCapricious pointed out, being investigated for those things already by the DOJ is not exactly an argument that Google is not violating the law.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:29 PM on August 5 [24 favorites]


Hint: if you view yourself as "logical" and without bias, then you're just refusing to examine your own biases because you believe your basic way of thinking is correct. Examining your own premises and acknowledging, maybe even working on, your biases takes more self-recognition than some people are willing to invest in.
posted by mikeh at 5:29 PM on August 5 [104 favorites]


In the US, pretty much anything is a fireable offense

Yeah, the vast majority of employment contracts are "at-will", especially in the tech industry.

I mean, usually HR tries to establish a clear cause before cutting somebody loose, just to reduce liability in the event of a lawsuit, but the paper trail doesn't have to be particularly solid, it just has to muddy the waters a bit. This is why every woman who comes out about sexual harassment they've faced in the workplace has to contend with all that "oh, she was a troublemaker, she was on a disciplinary plan" bullshit.

So if the guy's supervisors wanted him gone, he'd be gone. That he isn't gone means they don't want him gone.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:33 PM on August 5 [21 favorites]


Prioritize intention.

DOUBLE LOL.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:33 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


For all of you wondering, yes they can fire him. 100x yes. It is possible that they have a formal review process that they are conducting (and I don't think we should blame any huge company for having at least some kind of formal review process) but if they do not eventually fire him for this, it will be because they chose not to.
posted by cyphill at 5:35 PM on August 5 [11 favorites]


Heh, he complains about conservatives needing to be “in the closet” because if people find out he’s a conservative it’ll lead to open hostility.

Shortly thereafter he complains about how microaggressions aren’t hostile.

I wonder what makes him feel like he needs to remain hidden then?
posted by mikesch at 5:36 PM on August 5 [62 favorites]


Ok, we definitely cleared that up. Google can totally fire him. Continue!
posted by Telf at 5:36 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Some in this thread are calling for the author of the document to be fired. I think this is a dangerous overreaction.

Imagine if everyone acted this way. Right-wing business owners firing liberal employees. Christian companies firing nonbelievers. Is that the kind of world you want to live in?

Some in this thread describe the document as hate speech. But I don't see any evidence that the author is attacking minority groups, or calling for them to be suppressed. He advocates hiring practices that are blind to race and gender on the basis that affirmative action is ineffective. He is pushing for less racism and sexism, not more. His only crime is being on the wrong side of the culture war. He does not deserve to be fired because he believes the wrong things.

Affirmative action institutionalizes discrimination in order to fight institutionalized discrimination. This makes it dangerous and we should always be willing to reexamine it and adjust it when people are feeling discriminated against.
posted by foobaz at 5:38 PM on August 5 [39 favorites]


"No, see, when I pick on you for being a woman, it's because women are naturally inferior, as described in my 10-page manifesto. But when you pick on me for saying these things, you're unfairly oppressing my right to exchange my naturally superior views as a male conservative. Your lack of tolerance for hearing the evidence of your inferior capability is evidence that diversity doesn't work."
posted by Autumnheart at 5:40 PM on August 5 [192 favorites]


Foobaz,

Thanks for having the courage to write that. I think this thread has gained a lot of momentum in one direction. I was going to write something closer to your comment, but I backed down because I don't have the urge to be the target of metafilter ire today.

I don't think your comment is going to go down well, but thanks for sharing an unpopular opinion. I'm not going to comment anymore in this thread because this is one of those topics that doesn't go well when people go against the grain.
posted by Telf at 5:43 PM on August 5 [25 favorites]


I basically agree with foobaz and Telf. I would never have made foobaz's comment, and until Telf posted as well I still wouldn't have said anything. Just a cultural data point.
posted by value of information at 5:47 PM on August 5 [21 favorites]


Some in this thread describe the document as hate speech. But I don't see any evidence that the author is attacking minority groups, or calling for them to be suppressed. He advocates hiring practices that are blind to race and gender on the basis that affirmative action is ineffective. He is pushing for less racism and sexism, not more. His only crime is being on the wrong side of the culture war. He does not deserve to be fired because he believes the wrong things.

He is attacking minority groups, he absolutely is advocating for bias in hiring, he deserves to be fired like yesterday and preferably blacklisted from the industry, and his crime is creating a hostile work environment on the basis of gender, which is against federal law and the law of the state of California.

We don't actually need to tolerate shitstains at work. Google is not a government subsidiary, it's a corporation. You don't get to say whatever you want at work.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:47 PM on August 5 [93 favorites]


His only crime is being on the wrong side of the culture war.

Among other things, he makes literally every woman in the tech industry feel less safe in the tech industry by distributing something like this. I have to go to work every day wondering how many of the devs on my own team and the teams I work closely with believe that women are just less good at this and that I don't belong there. Every day. Every day. Every goddamn day. Because of guys like this. I will never, ever be able to think that people there genuinely have my back, because any one of them could just happen to be on the "wrong side of the culture war", and because every day I have to work with the idea that my coworkers may consider me a diversity hire who can't actually do my job. If you have to work with women, you have to be able to believe that women are capable of doing that job. It is a bona-fucking-fide occupational qualification, and if you don't have it, you don't belong there. Sorry.
posted by Sequence at 5:47 PM on August 5 [315 favorites]


It's not about which side of the culture war you're on. Shit like this is just utterly unprofessional. You're allowed to believe whatever odious shit you want to. What you're not allowed to do is go on the record with a 10-page rant about why half the population is intellectually inferior and therefore should not be encouraged to participate in your field. That kind of thing stirs up all kinds of shit. It exposes the company to liability, creates internal strife and hostility, sets the company up for bad PR, etc. It's spectacularly poor judgment.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:52 PM on August 5 [142 favorites]


I work in tech. No matter how well prepared I am, no matter what I do - since I am a woman I am a target. But I agree with Telf- he should not be fired for expressing himself. That is a slippery slope if there ever was one.
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 5:52 PM on August 5 [20 favorites]


foobaz: "He advocates hiring practices that are blind to race and gender on the basis that affirmative action is ineffective" (emph. added)

ctrl-f for "affirmative" in the article -- Phrase not found

[thinking face emoji]
posted by mhum at 5:53 PM on August 5 [37 favorites]


After 50 years of affirmative action, I'm not sure I see it as institutionalized discrimination. When people start so far behind the majority that they can never catch up on their own merits, something has to be done to make them eligible for consideration. The Google writer set off my alarms by disparaging it. Affirmative action is a method of increasing access, and institutionalizing it has benefitted women and people of color... even if they have a long way yet to go.
posted by lhauser at 5:53 PM on August 5 [21 favorites]



Imagine if everyone acted this way. Right-wing business owners firing liberal employees. Christian companies firing nonbelievers. Is that the kind of world you want to live in?


Yes, I absolutely want people who think that by the very accident of their genitals/genderpresentation/skin color that fervently believe they are superior to people who have the different genitals/genderpresentation/skin color should be driven into the sea. Of what value is that person to actual society? Society does not consist of cis/hetero white guys. Society consists only of all of us, and if you believe that I have inferior IQ or am "more neurotic" due specifically to skin color/genitalia, then yes - chainsaw away. I can only assume you're supporting this guy because you haven't read his little manifesto, and not because you think I am an inferior human being. #assumegoodintentions
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 5:54 PM on August 5 [49 favorites]


Full disclosure: I'm starting at Google soon. I found this sentence particularly galling:
Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.
This message was posted at the top of the help page for new hires in March:
President Trump signed an updated travel ban executive order that goes into effect March 16, 2017 and is scheduled to last for 90 days. If you think you'll be impacted by this, we're here to help.
You wanna talk about bad business?
posted by J.K. Seazer at 5:55 PM on August 5 [41 favorites]


Yeah, it takes a lot of courage to agree that white men shouldn't be fired for expressing repugnant and discriminatory views against other employees. Lord knows that's a really unusual viewpoint. Imagine a world where just talking shit about a woman at work, saying that she can't do the job or isn't as smart as you, gets you fired. That would be genuinely awful. You would have to go to work every single day and not talk shit about any of the women you saw. You'd even have to pretend they were just as competent as you and had every right to be there. Intolerance at its finest! Civilization is truly on the edge of collapsing.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:58 PM on August 5 [276 favorites]


Wait, wait. I thought that software engineering and computing was traditionally regarded as "women's work". How can I possibly take this guy's misogyny seriously if he is so blinkered as to be ignorant of women's historically validated great proficiency at computing?

I'm being sarcastic, and I guess I shouldn't feel the need to point out obvious problems with his document, but damn! The idea that women were naturally better at programming is within living memory for some. That kind of rapid change can't be due to men suddenly acquiring a natural aptitude for programming (should I be saying "software engineering?"). It could mmmmmaybe be due to overwhelming sexism, though.
posted by surlyben at 5:58 PM on August 5 [45 favorites]


I already burned out on the discussion shortly after stumbling upon it over at Hacker News and realizing that lots of people agree with him to some degree, see these posts. Puke warning.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:59 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


Imagine if everyone acted this way. Right-wing business owners firing liberal employees. Christian companies firing nonbelievers. Is that the kind of world you want to live in?

I don't need to imagine this. We *do* live in that world. Right in the FPP, Google is being investigated for gender based pay discrimination, and whether they're guilty or not, that's systemic in our society: women are paid *less* for the same work. PoC are paid *less* for the same work. Right now, transgender members of the military are facing the possibility of being tossed out for their gender identity, not their performance. Ever heard of redlining?

Discrimination on the basis of the shitty thinking this dirtbag espouses happens every second of every day. Not in theory, not because we're speaking up, but because of men like the one who posted that horrid manifesto.

The way forward isn't to roll over and tolerate people like this *bigot*, it's to demonstrate unequivocally that this won't stand. He should be fired. That's the proportionate response to circulating that sort of garbage openly. If he had kept his head down and his mouth *shut*, maybe things would be different, but as it stands? No.
posted by mordax at 6:00 PM on August 5 [98 favorites]


mhum, the words may not have been used, but anyone reading the article could have seen it. Here is one quote of several:

"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."

There are other problems in this paragraph (like, why would we want to increase female representation in those areas?), but the first part of the paragraph is an open an anti-affirmative action statement as any I've ever seen.
posted by lhauser at 6:00 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


I mean, if I published a rant at my company saying that men shouldn't be encouraged to work there because they're naturally too aggressive, violent, have poor impulse control, and generally only get where they are in life because of systemic biases that cover for their poor behavior and cause their mediocre performance to be viewed in a more positive light than it really should be, I'd expect to get fired over it. It's fucking unprofessional. That sort of thing has nothing to do with my job, and has zero upside and a whole lot of downside for the company. It would make me look totally unhinged, a loose cannon, a liability. I'd be fired, no question.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:01 PM on August 5 [205 favorites]


And, as my friends who've been to law school tell me, the real action is in the footnotes:
For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.

[...]

As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn’t going to overthrow their “capitalist oppressors,” the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics.

[...]

Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our
stereotypes around power.

[...]

Political correctness is defined as “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against,” which makes it clear why it’s a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians.
posted by mhum at 6:01 PM on August 5 [52 favorites]


Ah, but mordax, our author discounts the pay equity problem. With "evidence" from alleged spending habits. It is a feat of intellectual something. This paragraph is my favorite part:

[9] Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.
posted by janell at 6:05 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Every excerpt from this rant I've seen so far should come with a [citation needed] tag. How far down the rabbit hole must this guy be that he thinks shit like this can just pass as if it were self-evident truth? At best some of the things he's saying are based on extremely dodgy science, at worst they're based on ideas that have been pretty conclusively debunked through research.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:06 PM on August 5 [32 favorites]


Oh, the irony of uploading a manifesto that includes an attempt to debunk the pay gap...in a company currently being investigated by the Justice Department for systemic pay disparity.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:07 PM on August 5 [20 favorites]


He advocates hiring practices that are blind to race and gender on the basis that affirmative action is ineffective. He is pushing for less racism and sexism, not more.

No one is blind to race or gender, and no one is impartial and logical. He's arguing for the status quo ante in Silicon Valley and across the country, which is white guys hiring other white guys. He's absolutely pushing more racism and sexism.

Further, both-sides-ism is as dumb in this context as any other. One side is advocating for more inclusiveness and equality, the other is arguing for permission to discriminate. These are NOT equal.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:12 PM on August 5 [70 favorites]


How far down the rabbit hole must this guy be that he thinks shit like this can just pass as if it were self-evident truth?

He even goes to the effort of proving he knows how to insert footnotes!
posted by Sequence at 6:14 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


lhauser: "the words may not have been used, but anyone reading the article could have seen it"

Yes, but I guess the question is why? Why didn't the author use the term? Also, does Google even have an affirmative action program? If so, what form does it take? If not, what kind of "discrimination" (mentioned almost 20 times) is the author railing against?
posted by mhum at 6:15 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


Same old "conservatives are the real persecuted minority because The Left / PC / Progressives are authoritarians" claptrap. "I don't believe that diversity and minority outreach are WRONG, I just want you to stop alienating conservatives by acting like diversity and minority outreach are NOT wrong." It's funny how "alienating conservatives" so often boils down to "not raising my beliefs above others'/the law's," whether it's Kim Davis or this guy.

Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason.

Pull the other one, it's got bells on.
posted by delfin at 6:19 PM on August 5 [31 favorites]


I work in tech. No matter how well prepared I am, no matter what I do - since I am a woman I am a target. But I agree with Telf- he should not be fired for expressing himself. That is a slippery slope if there ever was one.

How about firing him because his poor judgement in expressing himself has greatly lowered morale and productivity?

Freedom of expression doesn't stop you from being an asshole that's a detriment to the team.
posted by Talez at 6:21 PM on August 5 [61 favorites]


His name is widely known within Google (shit, I don't work there and I even know what division he's in), and they're doing their best to protect him from the consequences of this going viral. Make of that what you will.
posted by aramaic at 6:22 PM on August 5 [71 favorites]


The author makes a lot of claims like "women are more agreeable" or "women are more neurotic" but does not cite any of them. I understand this is a rant, not a research paper, but it's hard to find whatever kernel of truth may be present without any references.

Like, is this just random shit this guy made up, or does it have some actual basis in research? I know I could go on a Google Scholar binge trying to figure that out, but I'm just not feeling it.

I personally would have found the VP of Diversity's reply more compelling if she had asserted that the claims in the original post were not scientific, or that they had been discredited. For anyone actually trying to engage with different perspectives on this issue, simply saying "this is against what I and many think, and it does not reflect Google policy" does not seem very convincing.

Either the guy's (pseudo?) scientific claims have basis or they don't. If they don't, why not just say so?
posted by andrewpcone at 6:23 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


> Imagine if everyone acted this way. Right-wing business owners firing liberal employees. Christian companies firing nonbelievers. Is that the kind of world you want to live in?

This is the world we live in. In most states, employment is at-will and the company can fire you for any reason barring those specifically prohibited by law. So yes, a company run by conservatives can fire liberal employees if they want; in states without laws protecting the rights of lgbtq employees, they can be fired for being queer. Etc.

That you don't already know this tells me that you should not be commenting publicly on this issue.
posted by rtha at 6:24 PM on August 5 [137 favorites]


Funny how, given equal education and opportunities, women thrive in the sciences and engineering, but given all the opportunities in the world, there are still men who have absolutely no idea how to relate to other human beings and they cope with it by viewing their lack of skill as an asset.
posted by mikeh at 5:26 PM
I have never been more grateful for the painful and fearful experiences in my past that humanized me, and disabused me of the notion that my biases were first principles from which I could deduce a theory of everything.

Perhaps the opportunity they are missing is some legit suffering.
posted by Horkus at 6:27 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


Fuck this guy. I'm pretty sure he would define me as a "cuck."
posted by nestor_makhno at 6:28 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


"Imagine if everyone acted this way. Right-wing business owners firing liberal employees. "

The thing is, if right-wing business owners (oh, there are plenty) had an employee writing a 10 page screed about how awful the company was, it wouldn't matter if that employee were liberal, conservative, or anything - if they weren't a KEY* employee they'd be fired. The same is true of liberal business owners.... You don't write 10 page screeds about how much your company sucks, distribute it internally, and expect to still have a job.

That would be true if the 10 page screed were about how shitty the companies logo was, or any other subject you could possibly imagine. It has nothing to do with the political orientation of the employee, it has to do with employees actively harming company moral (and causing a PR issue when that screen on X topic goes public).

* by 'key employee', I mean an employee that is directly responsible for making the company a significant percentage of their revenue, and couldn't be replaced easily.
posted by el io at 6:38 PM on August 5 [23 favorites]




Ego, ego, ego. He's white. He's male. He wants you to know it's not his fault he's better than you and knows it. It's just biology. Bah. I'm a dude who sometimes thinks and acts in ways that are often mischaracterized as neurotic and feminine. I'm good at programming but not the best. If anything the fact my thinking and feeling style is more "female" has probably helped me be a better programmer because I'm usually overeager to please and be ingratiating even when it isn't strictly necessary. It's true some of my fellow lefties don't seem to like science when it gets in their way. Weirdly, right wingers do it, too, almost like it's not actually reflecting a political thing but just a general human tendency toward something something. But The Bell Curve and gender essentialism aren't science anyway, so why's he bringing science up? Bah, humbug.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:40 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


Anybody ever heard the term "culture fit?" If it's going to mean anything, it's going to have something to say about how Google reacts to this.
posted by rhizome at 6:40 PM on August 5 [19 favorites]


Disclaimer: I work at a large tech company (not Google), have interviewed with Google, and have several friends there. Based on all that I have an overall positive view of the company and most of the people who work there.

This guy should absolutely be fired. I find it disgusting and horrible to think that such views are advocated within my industry, and at a company widely regarded as being a leading company in that industry. I feel horrible for the women I know who work at Google, who will have to go to work knowing one of their colleagues wrote this. He did so in a format that was likely intended to be shared widely, possibly with the hope that management would read and act on it, and advocated changes to his company's policies that would damage some of his colleagues. I will be incredibly disappointed in Google if he is not let go.

I'm not familiar with Google's internal policies, but it does seem like the kind of place that would have a strong internal review process for all firings. (To be clear, I am entirely in favor of that kind of process.) So I expect there will be some delay in action as those wheels grind. But I hope and expect that his time at Google is done.
posted by fencerjimmy at 6:40 PM on August 5 [14 favorites]


given all the opportunities in the world, there are still men who have absolutely no idea how to relate to other human beings and they cope with it by viewing their lack of skill as an asset.

Textbook definition of Privilege.

Right-wing business owners firing liberal employees. Christian companies firing nonbelievers. Is that the kind of world you want to live in?

That's the world I worked in for 35 years. More of my professional success came from being Generic White Guy than from any specific talent I ever had. And I knew damn well to keep my mouth shut after narrowly avoiding losing a job after expressing some "anti-business" opinions.

I, for one, am now going to avoid Google and its parent "AlphaMale" corporation as much as I can until this LittleTrumpy is exposed and expelled. I would LOVE to work someplace where "Conservative Thought" is not tolerated, because that is where Authoritarianism is born, raised and lives to a ripe old age.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:40 PM on August 5 [17 favorites]






he should not be fired for expressing himself. That is a slippery slope if there ever was one.

A little bit of thought tells me that you would wholeheartedly support firing people for "expressing himself," for given values of expression.

the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics.

Don't give the game away man! This Marxism, is it cultural? It gets dressed up in these words because everyone learned about Fascist propaganda, but switch the words around and suddenly it seems like a new idea...

We have to be careful of the things we pick up, just by half-listening.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:44 PM on August 5 [19 favorites]


I know a lot of people are going to see this and think it's the smoking gun that proves Google is full of misogynist assholes, but...

1. This particular doc represents the views of one person out of around 60,000.

2. It's not the kind of thing people write when they feel like they're surrounded by people who agree with them. It's pretty much the opposite of that.

3. The fact that it was shared widely doesn't indicate that the people sharing it approve of the content any more than people quoting Trump tweets on Metafilter are endorsing Trumpism.

4. It's likely that most of the people at Google who saw the doc don't know who wrote it. The author may have shared it anonymously, or it may have been shared anonymously by someone who saw it and disapproved, but who wasn't sure they wanted to turn their coworker into a pariah.

5. It's not that easy to track down the original author if they don't want to be found. On a purely technical level, the capability exists, but the number of people who can bypass privacy settings is pretty small, and the number of people who can do so on their own authority without getting fired is even smaller. Tracking down the people with the necessary skills, access, and authority on a weekend is even harder, because at Google there's a pretty strong taboo against asking people to work outside regular hours unless it's an explicit part of their job description.

6. When it comes to internal power structures, even "senior" engineers are pretty close to the bottom. They have limited authority to make purely technical decisions, they can be lead developers on very small projects, and lower-ranking engineers often ask them to contribute to their performance reviews, but that's about the extent of their power. They don't make decisions on hiring, promotion, personnel policies, etc., and they have little to no influence over issues like which projects get funded, what features make it into a product, or how much personal data their product is allowed to collect from users or request from other teams.

In numerical terms, a senior engineer is level 5. Most new hires start at level 3 or 4, and they're promoted to level 5 within a few years, so level 5 is very much a "rank and file" position, not a leadership position. The majority of engineers never make it past level 5. People with the word "engineer" in their job title aren't likely to be very influential below level 8 or 9 out of a possible 10. (Technically the levels go up to 11, but level 11 was only created so that one engineer—Urs Hölzle, IIRC, or maybe Vint Cerf—could be given a mostly symbolic promotion.)
posted by shponglespore at 6:45 PM on August 5 [30 favorites]


Here's the very last point the author makes:
Spend more time on the many other types of biases besides stereotypes. Stereotypes are much more accurate and responsive to new information than the training suggests (I’m not advocating for using stereotypes, I [sic] just pointing out the factual inaccuracy of what’s said in the training).
I really, really, really wonder what he means by "much more accurate and responsive to new information than the training suggests"? Is it anything more than "the stereotypes that I believe in are def true"?
posted by mhum at 6:47 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


What is his opinion of Megan Smith, former CTO of the United States, and former VP at Google? (Megan was a member of the MIT Swim Team one year behind me in the mid-80s and she had greatness written all over her even then.)

Seriously, I hope Google can fire this guy. He will probably end up on Fox News, though.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:48 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


> Imagine if everyone acted this way. Right-wing business owners firing liberal employees. Christian companies firing nonbelievers. Is that the kind of world you want to live in?

I have a friend who went into work on Wednesday after the 2016 election, tired and sad and upset. She still managed to get her work done, and said nothing to anyone, but hey, guess what happened on Thursday? Boss called her into the office, asked what had been going on, and when she told her boss that she was upset by the election results, her boss got visibly annoyed and said that people shouldn't bring politics to work with them.

My friend was out on her ass by Friday. The employee break room had been set to Fox News for the entirety of the election season.
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:50 PM on August 5 [89 favorites]


If aramaic is correct that "His name is widely known within Google (shit, I don't work there and I even know what division he's in), and they're doing their best to protect him from the consequences of this going viral. Make of that what you will.", then this is Google's problem and it's a BIG problem.

Google
Don't Be Evil (to Men)
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:51 PM on August 5 [13 favorites]


If this is one person out of 60,000, then fire him. If he's just a cog in the machine, if he's not very high up in the food chain, if he's really just so replaceable, then he is obviously not significant enough to be retained. There are thousands of people who could do his job who have not demonstrated themselves to be a liability to the company culture. Fire him and hire one of them.

I also feel fairly confident that Google could figure out who wrote it. They do specialize in data collection and tracking and personalization.

And moreover, people don't publish manifestos because they think the people around them don't agree. They do it because they think people do agree. And we know perfectly well that this attitude is pervasive in SV culture, we've seen a bazillion articles about it, we have reports from any number of women who have sued their employers for exactly that. Can we please stop pretending like this is such a rare, forgivable thing that is so not a big deal and the poor, misunderstood dude should just go back to work like nothing happened? What kind of bullshit is that? Why do we even have anti-discrimination laws then, if nobody thinks they should ever be enforced when someone actively and provably discriminates?
posted by Autumnheart at 6:53 PM on August 5 [57 favorites]


OK, so, the objections to firing this guy are some kinda Horseshoe Theory nonsense. We do not live in a world where all races, genders and beliefs are treated equally, so table-turning is a woefully ineffective way of testing whether firing him would be OK. The core of the issue is this: Google has a big diversity problem. Someone defending the (largely male) status quo sends out a 10-page screed on why there is in fact no diversity problem but rather biological differences. In other words, it's a screed designed to uphold the same system of oppression Google has been tasked with trying to dismantle.

At some point "opinions" are not just opinions. Opinions reflect policy. And if there's a harmful policy in place at a workplace that one person takes upon themselves to defend, within the channels of that workplace, I really think showing this person the door is entirely reasonable.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:54 PM on August 5 [34 favorites]


Imagine if everyone acted this way. Right-wing business owners firing liberal employees. Christian companies firing nonbelievers. Is that the kind of world you want to live in?

you've never lived in a small town, have you?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:57 PM on August 5 [39 favorites]


If Google really is trying to protect him, is it possible that the reason is that this person has sued Google in the past? Certainly doesn't make sense otherwise.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:58 PM on August 5


I think it's more likely that he's a high-level employee and they'd have trouble replacing him, or else they know that a lot of people at Google agree with him or at least support his right to say sexist douchebaggy stuff, and there would be open revolt if he were fired.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:59 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


If Google really is trying to protect him, is it possible that the reason is that this person has sued Google in the past? Certainly doesn't make sense otherwise.

Is it really so hard to believe that a company currently being sued for gender discrimination might protect him without having its hand forced?
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 7:00 PM on August 5 [18 favorites]


Hint: if you view yourself as "logical" and without bias, then you're just refusing to examine your own biases because you believe your basic way of thinking is correct. Examining your own premises and acknowledging, maybe even working on, your biases takes more self-recognition than some people are willing to invest in.

the people who kick up a big fuss about how logical they are almost always seem to know nothing about logic, which is a beautiful subject that really can mostly tell you which sets of sentences can be true together..."validity is not a term of praise", as Quine said
posted by thelonius at 7:07 PM on August 5 [13 favorites]


The current Trump Thread quotes Bertrand Russell’s Response To British Fascist Oswald Mosle, and it's all I have to say to GoogleBoy and all his supporters...
"It is always difficult to decide on how to respond to people whose ethos is so alien and, in fact, repellent to one’s own. It is not that I take exception to the general points made by you but that every ounce of my energy has been devoted to an active opposition to cruel bigotry, compulsive violence, and the sadistic persecution which has characterised the philosophy and practice of fascism. I feel obliged to say that the emotional universes we inhabit are so distinct, and in deepest ways opposed, that nothing fruitful or sincere could ever emerge from association between us. I should like you to understand the intensity of this conviction on my part. It is not out of any attempt to be rude that I say this but because of all that I value in human experience and human achievement."

So fuck you and your fucking "thought experiment"
Well, that's a more succinct way of saying it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:07 PM on August 5 [39 favorites]


Gee whiz, my company's CEO did sexist douchebaggy stuff, and they damn well replaced him, much to the benefit of the entire company whose business has never been better. I seriously doubt there's any senior engineer that's somehow so critical to a business that they need to tolerate his publicly shitty views above the engagement and morale of the tens of thousands of women who also work there.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:08 PM on August 5 [14 favorites]


Autumnheart, since you seem to be responding to what I wrote, please take note that I'm not defending the guy or anything he said, or saying he shouldn't be fired. The point I was trying to make is that he's very much not representative of the company culture (and I would know, because I've worked there for a while and I pay attention to this kind of stuff), and the fact that Google hasn't publicly announced that he's being fired is no indication of anything other than it being a weekend. The clock starts on Monday.
posted by shponglespore at 7:08 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


Protecting this guy is terrible PR and terrible for morale, and so no it doesn't make sense to me. I'm not defending Google's protection of this guy, if that is what is really going on. Merely speculating.
posted by haiku warrior at 7:11 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


They don't have to publicly announce it, but there's nothing preventing them from actually firing him right this minute. Call his cellphone, tell him he's fired, and his last check will be mailed to him and his stuff will be shipped to him. Done.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:12 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


The point I was trying to make is that he's very much not representative of the company culture (and I would know, because I've worked there for a while and I pay attention to this kind of stuff)

As of last count, there are roughly 72k employees working at Google. Which is, as folk have mentioned, being actively investigated for gender discriminatory practices. I don't think any one person can say definitively what the culture is.
posted by XtinaS at 7:16 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


As of last count, there are roughly 72k employees working at Google. Which is, as folk have mentioned, being actively investigated for gender discriminatory practices. I don't think any one person can say definitively what the culture is.

It's a culture that allows you to post hate speech without being walked off the premesis by the end of business.
posted by Talez at 7:18 PM on August 5 [64 favorites]


"The fact that colleagues are calling for him to be fired—on very public forums—proves his point that there is an ideological silo and that dissenting opinions want to be silenced," the second employee told Motherboard. "Why don't they debate him on his argument? Because it's easier to virtue signal by mentioning on a social network how angry and offended you are. Debate and discussion takes time."

Exactly. It takes time. Valuable time. Time that no one should expect their colleagues to waste.
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:18 PM on August 5 [12 favorites]


Wow. That wasn't nearly as hard as it was made out to be.
posted by Talez at 7:18 PM on August 5


Tough topic...

I'd like to relate a conversation I had as part of a management group in one country with a management group in another. It was an opinion expressed by without malice that it was not so efficient hiring women, because to keep them they needed to be given concessions to work part time and we'd pair two women working 3 day weeks together to fill what a man would do. So not only were they paying for more than 6 days of work due to non salary benefits and overheads, they were seen to be getting in terms of work output, less than 5 days of output, due to lack of knowledge continuity (huge one!) and frictions due to the day to day handovers.

My viewpoint was that it was a necessary cost of doing business, because we know women have significant influence over purchasing decisions around our product., and we can't have an organization of 90 percent men even if they were theoretically more efficient, otherwise how would we understand the needs of women who are our customers?

Basically we should, and do, pay more for women because they are relatively more valuable than men.
posted by xdvesper at 7:19 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Engineers who work at Google know his name; he signed it. I've heard a name but am not comfortable repeating it, even in private, largely because I have no way of verifying that I have it correct. It's not a name I recognize. I'm also told he's "senior" but not very senior.

The primary reason I see for wanting to know his name is for women who feel offended or threatened by this kind of behavior to be able to know who he is and protect themselves. Inside the industry it's worse for these jackasses to be anonymous, because you never quite know where the threat is. The women engineers I know of are very good at sharing this kind of information with each other via backchannels.

Could you imagine having to work with this guy? Yuck. I mean even if you're a white bro just like him, yuck. If nothing else his lack of critical facilities makes me question his judgement in all sorts of matters. I'm not comfortable with the idea of firing someone just because they wrote something stupid and offensive, but OTOH I sure as hell wouldn't want to be on a project with him.
posted by Nelson at 7:21 PM on August 5 [26 favorites]


I wonder what social expectation requires women to need concessions to work part-time and not men? It's a mystery.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:22 PM on August 5 [70 favorites]


It's a culture that allows you to post hate speech without being walked off the premesis by the end of business.

I'm trying to imagine working somewhere where I post a 10-page screed against the business about any topic at all and not being immediately let go. He must've had some indication that his views would be at least tolerated. This is backed up by Google not firing him the second they learned of this.

"The person in question has been let go. Our apologies that this document ever saw the light of day." It's under 140 characters, even; Google could fire him and tweet that they'd done so in less time than it's taking me to drink my damn tea.
posted by XtinaS at 7:23 PM on August 5 [28 favorites]


The women engineers I know of are very good at sharing this kind of information with each other via backchannels.

The Missing Stair.
Have you ever been in a house that had something just egregiously wrong with it? Something massively unsafe and uncomfortable and against code, but everyone in the house had been there a long time and was used to it? "Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you, there's a missing step on the unlit staircase with no railings. But it's okay because we all just remember to jump over it."

Some people are like that missing stair.

...

People had gotten so used to working around this guy, to accommodating his "special requirements," that they didn't feel like there was an urgent problem in their community. They did eventually expel him, but it was after months of it being widely shared knowledge that he was a rapist and had done other unethical sexual things as well.

I think there were some people in the community who were intentionally protecting him, but there were more who were de facto protecting him by treating him like a missing stair. Like something you're so used to working around, you never stop to ask "what if we actually fixed this?" Eventually you take it for granted that working around this guy is just a fact of life, and if he hurts someone, that's the fault of whoever didn't apply the workarounds correctly.
posted by anem0ne at 7:24 PM on August 5 [34 favorites]


I wonder what social expectation requires women to need concessions to work part-time and not men? It's a mystery.

I'm more kind of puzzled how they took the leap from "some women require concessions" to "write the whole gender off".

Like the pit of being a misogynist shit the hierarchy goes something like this:
| Give everyone reasonable concessions when asked for
| --- BELOW SEA LEVEL ---
| Employ only people who can work full time
| --- BELOW HERE BE DRAGONS ---
|
|
|
|
| Write off the entire female gender because women are also expected to tend to the children
There was literally no reason to go below where there be dragons. Straight to the bottom of the pit of misogyny.
posted by Talez at 7:27 PM on August 5 [22 favorites]


Well, now that he's provided compelling evidence for the prosecution in the lawsuit about Google's discriminatory practices, he will no doubt cost Google millions of dollars in legal fees, not to mention the lost productivity in the office, the backlash against purchasing their products, the credibility of their brand, and their access to future talent in the industry. I'm sure that will totally validate their decision to keep him around to push some code out.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:29 PM on August 5 [35 favorites]


I saw a different version of this article and it also didn't name the author beyond "senior software engineer." So someone knows he is senior...

IDK about Google specifically, but these days "senior" in Silicon Valley means you know where two bathrooms are.
posted by fleacircus at 7:29 PM on August 5 [17 favorites]


that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices

ROFL. HAHAHAHHAHAAHAA.

Dude has never worked a real job in the real world. How can he call himself an engineer and so completely misunderstand how society fucking works, I don't know.

-- Signed, an actual engineer with an actual engineering degree in engineering.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:31 PM on August 5 [70 favorites]


they needed to be given concessions to work part time and we'd pair two women working 3 day weeks together to fill what a man would do.

and

Basically we should, and do, pay more for women because they are relatively more valuable than men.

What you are paying in additional benefits is directly related to societal expectations of women performing the majority, if not all, of unpaid labor in the home. Women are overwhelmingly expected to be the caregiver, the cleaner, the chef, and perform all the other necessities of a family home, not by virtue of some sort of natural propensity towards it or ineffable skill associated with their gender, but because societal expectations force it upon them.

I'm the recipient of the opposite effect: I am the partner with the flexible job that enables me to take time off at short notice for a sick kid or doctor's appointment, and because I'm a dude I receive extra kudos for being so devoted and willing to help out. No one would ever accuse me of not working up to the standard of my female colleagues who do not have such obligations, and no one would ever draft a shitty 10 page polemic about how I deserve to be paid less.

Women are worth just as much as men, and should be paid commensurate to men.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:32 PM on August 5 [43 favorites]


One other point about theorizing about gender essentialism as an explanation for occupational gender disparities. It wasn't that long ago when the legal field was entirely male-dominated. As of the most recent ABA report, 36% of lawyers in private practice are women. This breaks down as a little under 20% as partners and around 45-50% as associates. And, women have basically achieved parity in law schools. I think a roughly similar story holds for the medical profession, i.e.: women roughly at parity in med schools, almost but not quite at parity in junior professional positions, still pretty under-represented in senior positions, but still overwhelming better represented than in software engineering.

Basically, I would hypothesize that this same author would propose the same kind of bullshit gender essentialist theories about why women were so under-represented in the legal and medical fields in, say, 1967. Heck, the one about status-seeking doesn't even need to be changed.
posted by mhum at 7:33 PM on August 5 [19 favorites]


Gah. I work in tech, and I don't share political opinions, details about my personal life, or even my semi-work-related side projects with coworkers unless they really need to know. I've put on conferences with 1000 attendees and just gotten approval from my boss for the days off. I tweet and blog a lot, and studiously avoid anything that could possibly be seen as political or adversarial, and never on company time. Even if I had a angry rant that was absolutely 100% factually correct, I'd never share it with my coworkers. And one that's completely incorrect? What a pointless way to destroy your career!
posted by miyabo at 7:33 PM on August 5 [13 favorites]


Two observations:

Only a white man could write something so pompous and not even bother to cite it, thinking his white maleness could be citation enough. Oh right, the citations would be discredited racist and sexist studies, and some posts on Reddit, 4Chan, and probably Stormfront.

And as several people have said, Google knows who it is, whether he signed it or not. They know how long he took to wrote it, where he was, whether he was at work, using a work computer, etc. That he is still employed, and his name protected, is indication of what kind of "environment" Google values.
posted by petrilli at 7:36 PM on August 5 [24 favorites]


No one would ever accuse me of not working up to the standard of my female colleagues who do not have such obligations, and no one would ever draft a shitty 10 page polemic about how I deserve to be paid less.

Another direct effect of gender discrimination: I know (because I work at a public institution and our salary info is public) that I do in fact make more than some of my colleagues. This is likely because I negotiated fairly well on the salary, and because men are expected to do so and rewarded for doing so. Women are often penalized for doing so. Salary based on merit is a complete fucking joke: it's whatever the artificial market rate says, plus your hiring manager's implicit biases.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:39 PM on August 5 [39 favorites]


For those who think this dude is advocating for "less racism and sexism," uh, did we read the same article? From the bullet points right at the beginning:
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.
Dude is literally saying equal representation is unfair (!!!) because men and women be different, I guess. You can't advocate for less sexism when you begin from a fundamentally sexist axiom. It doesn't work that way.
posted by speicus at 7:44 PM on August 5 [28 favorites]


It doesn't have to satisfy anyone here for it to be the ethically and legally correct action, let alone good business. It's not just about the employees, after all, it's about their clients and customers. How many companies and consumers are going to think twice about aligning themselves with the brand that just publicly outed themselves as promoting the philosophy that women are inferior? That's a billion-dollar mistake right at the point where they're trying to gain market share in multiple consumer spaces.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:47 PM on August 5 [10 favorites]


One of the things that I've found super-helpful when reading these kinds of things is to ask "if I really believed what the author claims to believe, and genuinely didn't want to cause harm, what would I write?" Almost always, the answer turns out to be "definitely not this". Like, suppose I believed that my organisation was doing itself a disservice by pursuing aggressive equity and diversity policies (I don't), but nevertheless absolutely agreed that we need a culture that allows minority groups to feel safe and included (I do). As far as I can see this is ostensibly the position that the author claims to be in: but if so, why write this specific piece? The moment you start using language like "ideological echo chamber", framing equity policy as "discriminatory practices", and "lower[ing] the bar" you're setting the stage for a very ugly fight that does nothing other than cause distress, especially among those who feel most vulnerable within the organisation. So why write it if your intentions aren't malicious?

About the only thing I found myself agreeing with in the piece was this: If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. But this isn't what honest discussion looks like. This is careless, self-indulgent grumbling that doesn't help. Either he is very clueless, or it's thinly-concealed bigotry. In the spirit of charity I'd like to imagine he's just really clueless, but even so I'm still mildly annoyed I wasted half a hour thinking about him
posted by saltbush and olive at 7:48 PM on August 5 [46 favorites]


> I'm not comfortable with the idea of firing someone just because they wrote something stupid and offensive

Why not, exactly? This chucklefuck didn't just say one stupid and offensive thing in a meeting with a few coworkers, he wrote a manifesto and distributed it to be shared freely. Whether he realized it would go viral or not, he took an action that has led to a lot of fellow employees feeling uncomfortable, marginalized, and alienated. Doesn't the harm he's done to the company deserve punishment, up to and possibly including termination?
posted by tonycpsu at 7:51 PM on August 5 [25 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.

I have never written that about someone on MetaFilter before, but this guy really deserves to be My First. Shut up, oh mighty engineer.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:53 PM on August 5 [13 favorites]


I'm not comfortable with the idea of firing someone just because they wrote something stupid and offensive

It's happened before and will continue to happen.

Note that Adria Richards didn't really write something stupid and offensive, and all the people that sent hate her way, well, they weren't fired.
posted by anem0ne at 7:53 PM on August 5 [22 favorites]


If the guy gets fired for his Punching Down Manifesto, he gets to be a martyr. He'll do the conservative talk circuit and have a book written for him and spark a wave of media conservabots droning about how Isn't It Sad How Intolerant The Left Is And How They All Hate All Good White Men?

But here's the thing -- they're ALREADY doing that. Constantly. So if he ends up on his Fox News-branded cross, I'm not losing any sleep over it.

If he stood up in the company cafeteria and yelled "So we all know we have too many women and spearchuckers here, am I right?", he'd get canned so fast that he'd need a neck brace for the whiplash. Does covering that with flowery language and presenting it as We Need To Have A Corporate Discussion About Why The Bell Curve Is Unfairly Denigrated And How Our Hiring Practices Should Reflect It make it better and more acceptable?

Dude is literally saying equal representation is unfair (!!!) because men and women be different, I guess.

"I am not saying that equal representation is unfair. I am merely suggesting that steps to rectify unequal representation are inherently unfair to those who would otherwise acquire those positions." The "...because after all, if we were REALLY equal those steps wouldn't be necessary" part is pitched just out of our normal hearing range.
posted by delfin at 7:56 PM on August 5 [39 favorites]


brb writing and publicly distributing a screed about all the things I think my employer is doing wrong.

Oh wait, no I'm not, because I would be fired.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:57 PM on August 5 [23 favorites]


[Just as a reminder, ironically saying the worst thing you can think of and/or inserting words into terrible people's mouths doesn't forward the conversation much and isn't the best way to comment in a tense thread.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:58 PM on August 5 [17 favorites]


Either he is very clueless, or it's thinly-concealed bigotry.

a little from column A, a little from column B
posted by edeezy at 7:59 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


Also, this is some next level Engineer's Disease. It should be studied, in a lab. Far from other humans.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:00 PM on August 5 [17 favorites]


As of last count, there are roughly 72k employees working at Google. [...] I don't think any one person can say definitively what the culture is.

So...people with no firsthand knowledge can draw accurate conclusions about a company's culture based on dribs and drabs of information that make headlines, but someone who goes to work there every day can't possibly know anything?

That's like pretending you know all about the culture of Cleveland because you watched The Drew Carey Show and then dismissing the opinion of anyone who lives there because there are just too many people for any of them to know anything.
posted by shponglespore at 8:03 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


Motherboard has a follow-up article, "Internal Reactions to Google Employee’s Manifesto Show Anti-Diversity Views Have Support":
"Honestly, more people have been agreeing with it than I would like," a current Google employee who spoke to Motherboard on the condition of anonymity told us. Motherboard is granting Google employees anonymity because of the company's notoriously strict confidentiality agreement. The employee said the comments they saw came in internal company email threads.

"From what I've seen it's been a mix of women saying, 'This is terrible and it's been distracting me from my work and it shouldn't be allowed;' Men and women saying 'this is horrible but we need to let him have a voice;' and men saying 'This is so brave, I agree,'" the employee said.
Further down in that article, there are more quotes from Google users of Blind, an app where if you register with corporate email address, you're given access to that company's specific threads.
posted by mhum at 8:04 PM on August 5 [21 favorites]


> So...people with no firsthand knowledge can draw accurate conclusions about a company's culture based on dribs and drabs of information that make headlines, but someone who goes to work there every day can't possibly know anything?

With the former, the question is "does X exist." A single example among those "dribs and drabs" can determine that X exists if X is among those dribs and drabs. With the latter, as in your original statement, the assertion is "X does not exist." This negative is much harder to substantiate than the positive claim of, in this case, retrograde attitudes toward diversity among some Google employees.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:07 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


I'm not comfortable with the idea of firing someone just because they wrote something stupid and offensive
Why not, exactly?


I'll answer on the assumption you're asking and not arguing. I am willing to have a little forgiveness because people make mistakes, particularly socially immature people. Sometimes it's possible to teach them. Also because sometimes employers can be wrong about knee-jerk decisions to fire someone for what they said, Alison Rapp and Adria Richards being examples. I think it's good to have a little bit of.. not tolerance, but understanding for mistakes and making room for rehabilitation.

OTOH there's a real problem with this Google engineer. Because what he published means no one can work with him. Well maybe someone with a strong stomach could. But I wouldn't dream of asking a woman to sit in a meeting with this guy, and really not any decent man either. Could you imagine him reviewing your code? Giving feedback on your promotion? His strident belief in a 19 year old's view of gender means he is not fit to work with grown-ups. And if you can't effectively work with other people, should you be working at the company at all? I guess if I were his boss (and thank goodness I'm not) I'd give him a few weeks time off to cool down, then one chance to make it right or throw him out on his ass.

The key thing is for management to send an unambiguous signal that this kind of manifesto is unacceptable in a work environment. So far Google has failed to do that. All we have is a milquetoast response from their head of diversity about "releasing its demographic data". (Which is some fucking bullshit, btw.) It's the weekend, so maybe it takes a few days. OTOH I've heard this manifesto was distributed a few days ago and there's been no response so far, hence the escalation to the press.

I'm pretty stressed out about this. And I haven't worked at Google in ten years and I'm a white guy and not directly victimized by this kind of bullshit. I feel terrible for the women I know who work at Google. They deserve better.
posted by Nelson at 8:11 PM on August 5 [21 favorites]


Personally, I'm all for waiting a few days before sharpening the pitchforks for google because the man hasn't been fired (as far as we know).

For all we know he's already fired. Google may be kind enough so that a PR/crisis response person isn't being called in for weekend work for this asshat. It's possible HR isn't being called in over the weekend early. Let folks have the weekend off, eh?

Getting HR, PR, engineering (to ensure his job gets performed well upon his immediate dismissal) might take one or two working days, you know.
posted by el io at 8:15 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


The Drew Carey Show is fiction. This is real life and actually happened.

"Employee publishes 10-page sexist manifesto and isn't fired" and "Company currently under investigation for systemic discrimination" is really all anyone needs to know. Google supports a culture of systemic discrimination. Is it fair for all Google employees to be tainted with this reputation on behalf of a subset who have terrible views? Yes it is. It is, to paraphrase the movie "Margin Call", really fucking fair, and this is what happens when you tolerate this kind of behavior in the workplace. Everyone owns the company culture.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:17 PM on August 5 [18 favorites]


With the latter, as in your original statement, the assertion is "X does not exist." This negative is much harder to substantiate than the positive claim of, in this case, retrograde attitudes toward diversity among some Google employees.

I never said blatant misogyny, sexism, etc. don't exist there. I wouldn't say that, because they obviously do. My claim was that that kind of attitude does not reflect the company culture in general. More specifically, most people I've worked with there show zero indication of having that kind of attitude. Many of them speak out against it fairly regularly and are applauded for doing so. People who hold those sorts of attitudes mostly keep it to themselves, and when they don't, the response is always overwhelmingly negative.
posted by shponglespore at 8:21 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


For all we know he's already fired. Google may be kind enough so that a PR/crisis response person isn't being called in for weekend work for this asshat. It's possible HR isn't being called in over the weekend early. Let folks have the weekend off, eh?

People got called in for a memo and sob story.

They want to properly handle this? Publicly fire this asshole and then invite anyone who thinks their coworkers aren't up to the same standard as themselves because of said coworker's gender or race to take severance and get the hell out of the company.
posted by Talez at 8:24 PM on August 5 [13 favorites]


Suddenly, Google cares very much about work/life balance.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:24 PM on August 5 [14 favorites]


People who hold those sorts of attitudes mostly keep it to themselves, and when they don't, the response is always overwhelmingly negative.

From the article mhum posted:
"Honestly, more people have been agreeing with it than I would like," a current Google employee who spoke to Motherboard on the condition of anonymity told us.
One of these things is not like the other.
posted by XtinaS at 8:27 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


So I realise this is a Hot Take Without Evidence but: if you're a truly meritocratic company working in a biased space (so, if you're a truly meritocratic company) shouldn't you have more women, minorities and LGBT representation than what's coming through the pipe, by a significant margin, particularly within leadership?

I mean, you're willing to give a bunch of people a chance who you don't have to compete as hard for, because they're going to get way fewer offers than mediocre white men. To compound it, these new recruits will see people like them in management and figure that it's going to be a positive environment for them, so you're probably going to be somewhat more attractive than average to these recruits. So, by rights, you should have more than comes through the pipeline, and probably more than the population breakdown.

(Also let us remember that when diversity is enforced by quotas, usually the quality bar stays fine because there's a bunch of mediocre white men who did not deserve to be there. This lends credence to the idea that ability in complex reasoning is probably distributed roughly evenly amongst the population, and is probably learned rather than being tied to genetics.)
posted by Merus at 8:28 PM on August 5 [24 favorites]


Google may be kind enough so that a PR/crisis response person isn't being called in for weekend work for this asshat. It's possible HR isn't being called in over the weekend early. Let folks have the weekend off, eh?

This one man is costing Google untold amounts of damage to their brand literally every minute he remains an employee. The idea that someone can't call a director at 8:30pm PDT on Saturday night to handle an enormous legal liability because "it's the weekend" is utterly laughable.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:32 PM on August 5 [31 favorites]


This whole thing about so-called "gender-blind hiring" is complete nonsense. If hiring guidelines, job descriptions, strategic goals, and corporate norms are developed and, more importantly, approved by one group of people, individuals who are a member of that group of people are going to have an inherent advantage. If an organization isn't intentional about specifically going after diverse talent and showcasing different dimensions of leadership, it's really easy for power structure to continue replicating itself.

I can't tell you how many hiring committees I sat on, how many promotion discussions that I witnessed, in which people - in this case, white men - advocated for people just like them. The hiring managers only rarely (if ever) questioned their assumptions about what leadership, excellence, peak performance, and teamwork looked like. They also rarely, if ever, questioned what made someone a "good fit" or why they were comfortable with one candidate and not another - and trying to get them to do so often brought such comments as "We don't have time for this!" or "Let's not reinvent the wheel here."

I occasionally got thrown a bone, usually a position that wasn't in the direct line of succession - or, occasionally, we'd get a candidate that was so obviously a rock star, they'd have to be hired - but they couldn't be too good, or then they were accused of being pushy, strident, or " not a team player" - and heaven help the PoC or female employee who under-performed.
posted by dancing_angel at 8:34 PM on August 5 [35 favorites]


Also let us remember that when diversity is enforced by quotas, usually the quality bar stays fine because there's a bunch of mediocre white men who did not deserve to be there.

Boom. Yes. Thank you for that, Merus.
posted by Songdog at 8:35 PM on August 5 [21 favorites]


Reading this, I did a thought experiment. I figured I'd examine the various theories that came to mind as to why this dude is still sitting there making $200K a year for spewing out hate speech, BUT I would carefully try to argue the other side's point of view so I could be fair:
  1. So maybe douchebro's genuinely senior, like level 8 or 9 or whatever indicates one of those people who reports directly to the VP of whatever? Instinctively I think "that fits", but approached from the other side, it arguably could be argued that the theory "fits that".
  2. Maybe he's one of the above-people's besties? This also fits; though it could be argued from an alternative point of view that "ibid" was perhaps a better way to express this.
  3. Maybe this happens all the time, to the point where people have folders in their email to "86" this stuff? "Maybe the real hate speech is not reading the bigoted diatribe?" Gotta admit, this was a powerful...nah.
  4. Maybe HR is, essentially, bigot central? My "other side" viewpoint argues that HR could simply be filled with more powerful bigots' sycophants, and I gotta admit that's a good point. Humbled.
  5. Does Google's top brass have skin in this game? Appallingly bigoted or simply awful humans without empathy? Arguments were strong on both sides, so went with "metriotic-spewing soulless ghouls".
  6. Is this guy is just the tip of the iceberg? If they fire him, there are hundreds more who need firing? I think both my imaginary arguers got a sad thinking of the hapless mailroom staff having to listen to some HR person berate them for asking "When you say you need six gross cardboard boxes, are we talking soggy with unidentifiable fluids and crawling with earwigs, or 864 of them? Ah, the latter, of course."
  7. Does keeping this guy around send a message to the rest of the staff that Google wants to underline? The alternative view: Maybe firing him sends the wrong message, did I think about that?
  8. Does this attitude by assholes, as enforcers of the status quo, save companies like Google big fucking bux by artificially suppressing wages for a portion of their workforce? Not sure what it means when the alternative viewpoint asks if I caught the ball game last night instead of answering.
I must say, at the end of this I can conclude: Fuck douchebros and neck-beards like this guy, and the people who actively and passively protect them. You fucking assholes need to be better humans, or get out.

QED.
posted by maxwelton at 8:36 PM on August 5 [14 favorites]


Disclosure: I'm an old white guy, and I've got a lot of privilege blindness built in to my opinions

I am willing to learn, and change those opinions.

I also feel very frustrated that there is (based on past experience here in the blue) a very high probability that any opinion I offer here is likely to be deleted, without notice... which is quite frustrating, and tends to make me want to not bother.

In spite of all of the above, here is my view... which is consistent for me, and may prove helpful if you wish to change the opinions of people like myself in a constructive matter.

---

It didn't seem like hate speech, or a call for discrimination, or anything like that (to me), but rather a call for discussion about the rational and effectiveness of anti-discrimination efforts at Google.

I have no doubt in my mind that systemic discrimination is real. I have no doubt that it needs to be corrected for.

Calling any call for discussion about this "hate speech" if if comes from someone who isn't a victim will lead to an even stronger echo chamber.

I, for one, welcome discussion, and correction of my views should they prove to be in error.

---

PS: I find it telling that the Google Diversity person chose to dismiss and discount the document rather that try to actually address the issues raised.
posted by MikeWarot at 8:37 PM on August 5 [11 favorites]


MikeWarot: There are all these comments above yours that might go a long way to show how your views are almost boringly thoughtless and offensive.

Alternative response: Are you trolling us? You must be trolling us. No one writes a comment that perfectly clueless.
posted by XtinaS at 8:41 PM on August 5 [50 favorites]


Yes, your views are in error, and you should reflect on why you didn't see the patently obvious discriminatory language in the manifesto, and why you think that anti-discrimination efforts should be a matter for debate, in the sense that you believe there's merit to the argument that a workplace should discriminate on the bases of gender and ethnicity.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:44 PM on August 5 [36 favorites]


If you can look at this and not immediately think "hostile work environment" you are in need of training.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:45 PM on August 5 [39 favorites]


PS: I find it telling that the Google Diversity person chose to dismiss and discount the document rather that try to actually address the issues raised.

Yes, it's telling in that it demonstrates that Google leadership is willing to tolerate openly discriminatory behavior. That's the problem.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:45 PM on August 5 [20 favorites]


" there is (based on past experience here in the blue) a very high probability that any opinion I offer here is likely to be deleted, without notice"

Usually because you're busy pre-emptively complaining about moderation like you just did here, which almost always gets deleted because it belongs in MetaTalk but, hey, I'm feeling generous tonight.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:47 PM on August 5 [102 favorites]


If I was Sundar Pichai right now something like this is what I would immediately send to all staff:
Dear Googlers,

You may have read a certain document that has now gone viral throughout the Internet at large. To say I am disappointed that anyone could consider attacking the competency and ability of anyone at this company is an understatement of the highest magnitude.

This person is no longer with the company. We will not be naming them as we wish to give them the ability to think about their actions and perhaps restart their career elsewhere with a better indication of what is required in a professional environment. For those of you who would agree with this individual -- that our friends and coworkers only have that prized status because of their gender, or race, or religion -- you may leave your prox card on the security desk on the way out. We don't want you here. We will pay your severance to make the transition to find another company more aligned with your cultural sensibilities easier.

Anyone who wishes to have a discussion about freedom of expression within the workplace is free to come and see me. My door will be open and my secretary will have appointments available to those who wish to make their thoughts known. I warn you in advance that any sort of attempted justification for that which has no justification inside a professional environment will be a short meeting and the conclusion of our professional relationship. That being said, we aren't going to be pro-actively seeking out those who expressed support for the document. You can consider this both your amnesty and your one and only warning. You might do well to put yourselves in the shoes of your compatriots and make frank and sincere apologies as required. Should you wish to try and covertly push the issue in the background we will find out and you will be asked to move on.

We at Google are proud of the work we've done so far to try and change an industry. It doesn't happen overnight. It won't be finished tomorrow. But let it be known that we do not settle or compromise when it comes to the best staff in our effort to be more inclusive. On the contrary, we find the best staff from more inclusive backgrounds because we don't stop looking for them. We don't just settle for those who may be good enough but fit the traditional mold of a tech worker.

All of our people, you should know that you are welcome here and that you are all both valued and that you are first rate at what you do. That's why you're here. For someone to come and minimize your achievements, whatever they are, because of things that are both irrelevant and that you cannot change, will forever be unacceptable to this company.

Have a great day,
Sundar
So yeah. I'm not sure what was difficult about that. Took me ten minutes to write.
posted by Talez at 8:49 PM on August 5 [66 favorites]


Call for discussion: "I find myself having trouble fully understanding the reasoning behind Google and other tech companies' Diversity and Inclusivity initiatives. I'd like, perhaps as part of our mandatory bias training, to see the cited research that has led to this movement so I can educate myself, and I'd like to feel free to discuss it with our new VP of D&I - right now it feels like those conversations aren't welcome for people who want to understand better and I think creating a space for those conversations to take place would be beneficial."

Creating a hostile work environment: "Everything Google is doing is wrong, here are my uncited, unscientific, well-debunked reasons why, and coincidentally, people like myself are the ones who are much better at this job because of reasons I have just made up. Let me throw out some sexist stereotypes to justify my claims, and then insist that anyone who argues with me is an anti-free-speech authoritarian who is discriminating against my political views. Let me also discount the experiences of the people affected by the discrimination I don't believe exists, because I am logical."

What is especially painful to me (hi, I'm a woman engineer in the Bay Area tech industry) is not just the knowledge that people are constantly questioning my right to have my job, or my right to have gotten my engineering degree, or my right to do any of the not-stereotypically-feminine things that I actually fucking love doing, but that when stuff like this comes up people like you, MikeWarot, get all "but can't we maybe just discuss it because maybe there are some points here" - what you're missing is that we're not discussing economic theory or existential philosophy where we can all maybe agree to disagree. What we're discussing is my right to be treated as an equal to someone else in pay, work environment, work opportunity, etc. To me, that seems like a really fucking fundamental right most white men take for granted, and yes, it greatly offends me for someone to consider that my equal rights are up for academic debate among friends as opposed to a deeply personal, human thing they themselves would consider untouchable. This isn't abstract. This is my life, and it is many other women and PoC's lives. It's the same whether we're debating the rights of LGBTQ people or the rights of immigrants or anyone else - this isn't just a "huh, interesting thought experiment" kind of discussion. It is a "do [marginalized group] deserve to be treated like people the way I am" discussion. And that kind of discussion has to be managed extremely carefully, because it is deeply hurtful, not just in a "oh no poor offended snowflake" sort of way, but in a way that can push people out of jobs, out of families, out of society and further marginalize them in dangerous ways.

So sure, by all means let's discuss it, but let's up the standards for this discussion - throwing out uncited claims about evolutionary biology and how societal expectations are "identical across all cultures" (which is utterly untrue - ask any of my friends who grew up in the former Soviet bloc for whom engineering was always considered women's work) doesn't fly. Come in educated. Come in with citations. THEN we can have a conversation if a conversation must be had. But making wild claims without any backup, the way this guy did, pretty much just looks to most people like you're parroting talking points from MRA groups to advance your internally biased agenda, not making some really good points no one had ever considered before.
posted by olinerd at 8:56 PM on August 5 [187 favorites]


The Drew Carey Show is fiction. This is real life and actually happened.

I could have picked a documentary. Or talked about how watching the news on 9/11 doesn't qualify someone to speak about the culture of New York City. I just picked a random bit of popular culture that's associated with a particular city, and that's the first thing that came to mind. Mea maxima culpa.

I think I'm done with this thread, because it's getting pretty tedious trying to have a conversation with people who seem intent on willfully misinterpreting my words and trying to discredit me based on arguments that don't even make sense. Obviously very few people are interested in hearing what I have to say, but nobody is willing to say out loud that it's because they think I'm too motivated by self-interest, or because they assume I'm a walking techbro stereotype, or maybe because it just doesn't fit into their preferred narrative about tech companies.
posted by shponglespore at 8:57 PM on August 5


This fucker is a menace.
posted by odinsdream at 8:59 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


> It didn't seem like hate speech, or a call for discrimination, or anything like that (to me), but rather a call for discussion about the rational and effectiveness of anti-discrimination efforts at Google.

At minimum, it was an incredibly unprofessional way of inviting "discussion." People who have been in the workforce for long enough to attain whatever senior-ish level this guy is at should already know this, and that he didn't doesn't say a lot for his judgement. I sure as hell wouldn't want to work with or for someone like this.
posted by rtha at 8:59 PM on August 5 [15 favorites]


MikeWarot: "It didn't seem like hate speech, or a call for discrimination, or anything like that (to me), but rather a call for discussion about the rational and effectiveness of anti-discrimination efforts at Google."

Ok, I would agree that this manifesto likely doesn't rise to the level of hate speech (btw, the US is actually one of the few industrialized nations not to have hate speech laws so I'm drawing on what little I know about Canada's hate speech laws).

However, this guy does say that women are, on average, predisposed to "Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas." He says that women have on average more "neuroticism." He espouses The Bell Curve-esque biological explanations of IQ differences. He says that "women spend more than men." So, in spite of (or perhaps because of?) these declarations, you maintain that the correct course here is to engage the author in discussion of anti-discrimination efforts at Google. Are you reading these assertions as essentially neutral and not, say, barely-veiled retrograde sexism? I mean, to me, these sound a lot like "ladies prefer feelings and pretty things to logic and facts and actual thinking", "bitches be cray", "whites are smarter than blacks", and "women be shoppin' amirite?", respectively.
posted by mhum at 9:00 PM on August 5 [49 favorites]


maybe because it just doesn't fit into their preferred narrative about tech companies.

Many of them work at tech companies, including Google.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:00 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


Perhaps I am a terrible person, but I don't see how protecting the identity of someone who has spent this much time "sharing" his "concern" serves any purpose other than the insulate him from consequences, thereby demonstrating that his privilege is absolute.
posted by petrilli at 9:00 PM on August 5 [33 favorites]


Yes, it's telling in that it demonstrates that Google leadership is willing to tolerate openly discriminatory behavior. That's the problem.

I see a difference between having discriminatory thoughts, as this person apparently does, and doing discriminatory things, which I don't think I've seen evidence of. If this nitwit every *does* anything he advocates, I'm pretty certain Google would pull the trigger and fire him, especially since he's being watched.

I suspect a senior dev doesn't have a whole lot of sway over people, like a manager.

With that said, I will observe that in my team at a $VERY_LARGE_BANK writing software to process tax returns, 3 of the 5 people on our team were women.
posted by mikelieman at 9:03 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


A recently-departed senior Googler's take on this.
All of which is why the conclusions of this manifesto are precisely backwards. It’s true that women are socialized to be better at paying attention to people’s emotional needs and so on — this is something that makes them better engineers, not worse ones.
This is exactly my experience.
posted by petrilli at 9:06 PM on August 5 [59 favorites]


I work on a pretty brotastic setting, where a lot of poor behavior is ignored or even encouraged. And yet, I have every confidence that if I were to send a screed like this company-wide, I'd be jettisoned as a corporate liability almost instantly. There are norms in modern workplace culture and this kind of trash goes way beyond what is acceptable.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:06 PM on August 5 [13 favorites]


In my work, I have observed that when PoC and women and other marginalized groups raising concerns, someone invariably says, "Well, if you don't like it, why don't you just leave?"

If he doesn't like Google's diversity practices, why doesn't he just leave? And why isn't anyone telling him to shut up and just suck it up or quit?

The usual chorus is silent.
posted by dancing_angel at 9:08 PM on August 5 [90 favorites]


I see a difference between having discriminatory thoughts, as this person apparently does, and doing discriminatory things, which I don't think I've seen evidence of.

He published a discriminatory manifesto and distributed it to employees on the company network! That is obviously evidence of doing discriminatory things. The act of writing and distributing the manifesto is the doing of the discriminatory thing.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:09 PM on August 5 [60 favorites]


mikelieman: "If this nitwit every *does* anything he advocates, I'm pretty certain Google would pull the trigger and fire him, especially since he's being watched."

But how would anyone know? For example, how would anyone know if any particular candidate that he interviewed and rejected really flunked the interview or if he was applying a sexist standard? I mean, given how hard it was for other tech companies to deal with much, much, much more glaring episodes of straight-up sexual harassment and hostile workplace, how well do we think that Google might handle more subtle examples?
posted by mhum at 9:11 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


> If this nitwit every *does* anything he advocates, I'm pretty certain Google would pull the trigger and fire him, especially since he's being watched.

Given what studies have shown people do but don't say when it comes to discrimination and unconscious bias, how can you believe that he would say these things but not act on them?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:14 PM on August 5 [15 favorites]


Mike Warot: I'm an older white guy too. Mostly heterosexual. Middle class. Maybe you don't understand how much privilege we have. There's all sorts of privilege that we have, but the best and greatest part is that people usually just let us be. We can do what we want, go where we want, pick the career we want.

I can be a firefighter, I can be a teacher, I can be a wedding planner, I can be a lumberjack, I can be a programmer, I can be a florist, I can be a farmer. Anything and everything is open to me without anyone second guessing me because of my gender or race or sexuality. No one's going to write a paper about how men like me are questionable hires for anything.

And that's why the very existence of a paper like this is offensive. Even if it's mild and "just asking questions", it's still labeling an entire gender as "the other" and questioning their place. It's denying them their individuality and personhood, and compressing them into gender stereotypes. It denies the women at Google, and women in general, the privilege of just letting them be. That's a privilege that should be extended to everyone of all races and genders and sexualities, and not just white guys like us.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:15 PM on August 5 [79 favorites]




It also assumes that the viewpoint of the white guy is the rational and sensible one by default, and that everyone who doesn't agree has to "prove" it by convincing him personally. There is no "Let's compare both sides and see which one is supported by the evidence," instead it's "The world works this way, and you only think otherwise because you have a skewed view of reality" against which everyone has to continually demonstrate actual examples of reality that contrast with the accepted "rational, sensible" view.

It's exhausting to have to prove to someone who is utterly convinced that his subjective experience is the right one and that other people just don't know how to process reality.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:22 PM on August 5 [63 favorites]


Mike Warot you should read the article by rhizome.

Particularly the money quote:
Not all ideas are the same, and not all conversations about ideas even have basic legitimacy.
posted by Talez at 9:22 PM on August 5 [19 favorites]


People who have always benefited from the system perceive it as fair, and so when corrections are done to make it fair for other people, perceive that as a reduction in fairness. They don't want to acknowledge that they've been getting privilege all along.

For example, men actually benefit from affirmative action, because they tend to have lower scores than women, but colleges want a balanced student body so accept them anyway.

A major reason for the gender gap is higher academic achievement by girls, said David Hawkins, director of public policy and research at National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC).

"It's not surprising," said Hawkins. "Women are on average performing better than young men coming out of high school."


So fuck you very much, Google guy. You probably underperform next to a woman of comparable experience already.
posted by emjaybee at 9:23 PM on August 5 [51 favorites]


if you're a truly meritocratic company working in a biased space (so, if you're a truly meritocratic company) shouldn't you have more women, minorities and LGBT representation than what's coming through the pipe, by a significant margin, particularly within leadership?

Assuming a perfectly spherical cow, this would totally work out that way and all discrimination would self-resolve forever and that's perfectly spherical bullshit. The hiring process has absolutely no way of determining merit; it attempts to approximately model merit based on the things you do know about a person when they apply. This model degrades even further when you attempt to compare people of wildly disparate backgrounds.

Problem: You can only gather so much information about prospective applicants.

Solution: Break the applicants down into categories that at least roughly correlate to greater degrees of shared experience. Broadly determine what scores, schools, past experiences, and interview performance are "amazing" or "not as amazing" for each group and then hire the ones who look amazing for where they come from, not amazing compared to a nonexistent objective standard. Put the amazing people into a room together and get them to learn from each other to do amazing things.

This is not any different than comparing the high score lists of people who play a game on easy, normal and hardcore separately to determine who's actually good at the game. The white boys just cannot be convinced, it seems, that they aren't the ones playing life on hardcore.
posted by Sequence at 9:33 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


when people are feeling discriminated against.

feelings aren't facts. lots of men have trouble with fully appreciating this snappy little truism when it is being said to them instead of coming out of their own face-holes. I am going to go ahead and bet that the author of that tedious document is one of those men with this problem.

I'm not comfortable with the idea of firing someone just because they wrote something stupid and offensive,


I wrote all kinds of offensive things (they were all brilliant, though, not stupid) in all kinds of venues during my last three jobs at least, can't remember much further back than that. under the weakest veil of anonymity you can imagine; my name is for my friends as Lawrence of Arabia says but anybody who knows me knows this is me. I said things that would and should have offended some co-workers, had they seen them, both personally and as members of the man class. This creep should be fired, whereas I should not have been, and indeed never have been.

why is that?

well, it is because I was not an entitled dipshit who sent my opinions ABOUT my company TO my company positively begging for attention FROM my company and directly attacking and degrading employees OF my company. I did not even attach the name of my company to my opinions about them, however private the places I talked about it.

and even so, what if some jerk had found some bullshit I wrote online and sent it to HR and they confronted me and brought me in to ask me, Can you give us any reason why we should not terminate your employment effective immediately considering that your brilliant garbage made me nervous? well, in that case I would have said Because fuck you, that's why! and been fired.

and that is how jobs work, the end.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:36 PM on August 5 [18 favorites]


Mike Warot you should read the article by rhizome.
I did, and it helped me see some of my biases better... thanks!
posted by MikeWarot at 9:37 PM on August 5 [40 favorites]


> Commentary by a (recently former) Google Distinguished Engineer

Bunch of good stuff there, including
I need to be very clear here: not only was nearly everything you said in that document wrong, the fact that you did that has caused significant harm to people across this company, and to the company’s entire ability to function. And being aware of that kind of consequence is also part of your job, as in fact it would be at pretty much any other job. I am no longer even at the company and I’ve had to spend half of the past day talking to people and cleaning up the mess you’ve made. I can’t even imagine how much time and emotional energy has been sunk into this, not to mention reputational harm more broadly.

And as for its impact on you: Do you understand that at this point, I could not in good conscience assign anyone to work with you? I certainly couldn’t assign any women to deal with this, a good number of the people you might have to work with may simply punch you in the face, and even if there were a group of like-minded individuals I could put you with, nobody would be able to collaborate with them. You have just created a textbook hostile workplace environment.

If you hadn’t written this manifesto, then maybe we’d be having a conversation about the skills you need to learn to not be blocked in your career — which are precisely the ones you described as “female skills.” But we are having a totally different conversation now. It doesn’t matter how good you are at writing code; there are plenty of other people who can do that. The negative impact on your colleagues you have created by your actions outweighs that tremendously.

You talked about a need for discussion about ideas; you need to learn the difference between “I think we should adopt Go as our primary language” and “I think one-third of my colleagues are either biologically unsuited to do their jobs, or if not are exceptions and should be suspected of such until they can prove otherwise to each and every person’s satisfaction.” Not all ideas are the same, and not all conversations about ideas even have basic legitimacy.
posted by rtha at 9:43 PM on August 5 [91 favorites]


I know several white guys who are really interested in discussion. They also tend to consider themselves particularly rational and clear-headed.

They frequently manage to piss off folks they like and respect when discussing social issues, and are always bewildered why. I tell them that they're talking theory about someone else's life, so of course the other person is more invested in the discussion than they are. I also point out that it's hurtful to start playing devil's advocate with your friend's humanity. They then get defensive and ask me rhetorically how they're supposed to talk about sensitive things or learn if no one will let them do so without getting pissed off.

Last time I had this convo I observed, "you know, I rarely make people angry just by asking questions and listening to what they say." I mean, it seems so obvious. And yet that answer totally flabbergasted the person I was speaking to.

So to anyone, regardless of race or gender or identity, who has ever cried out, "I feel like I can't even talk about this thing that is bothering me without upsetting people!" I would humbly suggest: asking more questions and listening to the answers! You'll find you can talk about any sensitive subject till the cows come home, that way.

I'm not being snide. I also struggle to remember to do this sometimes. But I'm sure this letter-writer's job would not be in jeopardy if, upon feeling bothered by affirmative hiring practices, he had gone and asked some women their opinion and then listened thoughtfully to what they said instead of stewing over it in the boy zone and then kool-aid manning out a 10-page letter about what women are like.
posted by Emily's Fist at 9:53 PM on August 5 [122 favorites]


I am totally willing to own my clueless nature... I thank you all here for your generosity of spirit, and putting up with me and any grief I caused.
posted by MikeWarot at 10:07 PM on August 5 [37 favorites]


It's entirely possible that this 'manifesto' that was just written won't just ruin his life in the short-term, but in the long term.

It's reasonable to assume that he will no longer have a job at google (google, like all companies, has senior staff that is ex-FBI/law enforcement with technical assistance available to them as they need it; he most likely will be found), but he may never have a job in his industry (or perhaps any industry) again. Why? Well, if his name ever gets made public (which, due to his poor judgement in writing this there is a good chance he himself will make himself public or someone he tells about this saga will out him) no employer could in good conscious hire him - he is an HR liability.

Even outside of the toxic nature of his writings, the mere fact that he cost a company so much energy, created such bad PR shows that he will be a general liability to the company. Any company could (rightfully) assume that he is going to keep going through life with these viewpoints and will create a toxic environment for the company he works for. Any women who know his identity will be loath to work with him.

He is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Normally I think someones toxic viewpoints should not prevent them from gaining employment (the last thing we need are hateful angry bitter people that have *all the time in the world* on their hands and are desperate and broke), but in this case he made a worse mistake than having toxic viewpoints on the internet - he himself associated those toxic words with the company he works for and himself made those words a real problem for his employer.

So unless he was a complete ninja about disseminating this screed (unlikely), his identity is already known to google, and he is currently in the process of being fired. If he's very likely, he will keep his identity a secret forever, and be eligible to be a nightmare employee for a different company.

As I said before, if his angry 10 page screed was about the company logo, height of the stairs at his company he'd still be a liability that the company would probably be let go... But given the content of his message, he very well might be unlikely to be hired anywhere else again.

Even if his identity remains a secret, he'd be a fool to list google on his resume (instead there should be a gap) because one of the few questions a former employer can and will answer: "is that person eligible for rehire" will be met with a "no."
posted by el io at 10:32 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


I'm a manager, so I've been thinking about this from that perspective. If someone who reported to me wrote and spread this on company time, I'd fire them on the spot.

That this hasn't happened tells me that either his manager (and his manager, and so on) is fine with this, or that Google is protecting him. Either way, pretty fucked up.
posted by jacobian at 10:41 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


"That this hasn't happened tells me that either his manager (and his manager, and so on) is fine with this, or that Google is protecting him. Either way, pretty fucked up."

Or that he's already fired (although, I'd expect him to out himself as the writer foolishly if he was fired, whining about it), or he's in the process of being fired (it's possible that summary firing isn't really how things work at an org that large - there is a process).
posted by el io at 10:45 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


he should not be fired for expressing himself. That is a slippery slope if there ever was one

I stand by this. He wrote a bunch of words. They did not make sense, they were poorly researched and even worse, badly organized. He did not shoot anyone, physically harm anyone, or create a dominant culture where these ideas are welcomed. He expressed an opinion, and while it's one that annoys the heck out of me as I have run up against it so many times - this is still a country where freedom of speech is allowed.

Who generally writes manifestos? Failed political movements and guys in shacks in the middle of Montana with their mama still propped up on a rocking chair 10 years after her death. . You know who else are "the only ones who know the truth"? Conspiracy theorists with chemtrail hardons. Not people who have the hearts and minds of the people around them.

Extrapolating that there are other people who believe the way he believes is probably about right. You fire him, you turn him into a martyr. The one who 'sacrificed himself for the glorious cause'

And FWIW- I imagine his little diatribe is going to be excellent proof in the gender pay gap trial.
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 10:48 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


MikeWarot, thank you for reconsidering.

It takes a lot of practice to see through the "hey I just want a discussion of some complex subjects; why is everyone getting angry?" garbage that seeks to cloak sexism, racism, and various other forms of discrimination in pseudo-academic, techie-geek article form.

One of the things to watch for is: What are the core unquestioned facts he is stating? In this case, it's that women are biologically unqualified to do the work he wants men to do, and that diversity on engineering teams results in lower productivity. He also does a strawman breakdown of "Left" vs "Right" traits that does not match with what a lot of people on the Left believe, and I'm pretty sure some on the Right would disagree as well.

From those core premises, what kind of valuable, useful conclusions could he reach?

And sure enough, he manages to spend several pages insisting that his core values are true, without offering a shred of citation or evidence in support of them, and concluding that since those all are true, what Google needs is more consideration given to white men so they won't feel uncomfortable working with their intellectual inferiors.

Those of us who have seen this before - because we watch for it, because it will cost us our jobs or worse if we don't - caught the phrase "evolutionary psychology" and the rest of his rant snapped into place from that. Someone who is just coming into the awareness that sexism and racism are still powerful forces in modern business, may not recognize the keywords, and the "reasonable" tone will disguise the fact that what he's saying is: Women's work is not worth as much as men's, and therefore they shouldn't be paid as much; diversity makes me uncomfortable and since I'm more valuable, I shouldn't have to put up with it.

And from a company viewpoint - setting aside the vileness of his personal opinions, he just went on record declaring that he thinks half his coworkers are incompetent. If they don't fire him, Google's going to lose millions; no company that actually values diversity will be willing to work with them if they condone someone who publicly says "women do feelings; men do hard math thoughts." As it is, they'll have to do an interesting dance if they want to keep his name private.

(There is no question that Google knows who he is. None. There is no anonymity at Google. I doubt they have every keyboard tracked, but they absolutely have cameras in every room and record every bit of data that crosses a viewscreen.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:49 PM on August 5 [14 favorites]


this is still a country where freedom of speech is allowed.

That's why the author of this document won't be arrested. "Freedom of speech" isn't a concept that really exists within a corporation.

In other words, I can put a huge banner in front of my house that says "THE PRESIDENT SUCKS" and I won't be arrested. But if I work at Google do I have a right to hang a banner above my desk that says "GOOGLE SUCKS"?

Obviously that would get me fired. Now what if I want to hang up a banner that says "MEN ARE SMARTER THAN WOMEN. ASK ME FOR PROOF!"? Should that be allowed?

This has *nothing* to do with freedom of speech. Companies shouldn't discriminate against people based on their opinions - TRUE! But when their opinions are written up and posted on a corporate-owned network for other employees to read, the company needs to protect its interests. He did something bad for Google, and bad for its employees, and something that makes them even more liable for legal problems they're already having. Of course he should be fired.
posted by mmoncur at 10:54 PM on August 5 [71 favorites]


My company has over 100,000 employees and, even at corporate, you absolutely can be fired and perp-walked out within hours or even minutes of your firing offense. I've seen it done.

In terms of this dude's future hireability, part of his baggage as of now is that any company that hired him would be giving tacit approval to his discriminatory beliefs. I say with a big frown that "luckily", he's in an industry and culture where there are plenty of start-ups that would have zero problem with that! But any company mature enough to have a public image would certainly not benefit from someone like him on board. That's just for getting another job, though. I think that no matter where he works, he can kiss goodbye the idea of ever getting a position of acknowledged authority in his field (executive level, even well-known senior role) because that comes with a certain amount of public image that is now very tainted. So I hope he really likes what he does because he just peaked.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:56 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


I stand by this. He wrote a bunch of words. They did not make sense, they were poorly researched and even worse, badly organized. He did not shoot anyone, physically harm anyone, or create a dominant culture where these ideas are welcomed. He expressed an opinion, and while it's one that annoys the heck out of me as I have run up against it so many times - this is still a country where freedom of speech is allowed.

Sure, all of that can be true. It's still unacceptable for a college educated professional. This was something you'd expect out of a 17 year old. Not a 20-30 something with an education and substantial experience (i.e. "senior" engineer).

If I'm his supervisor, I should be thinking "work this sloppy, poorly researched and thought out is indicative of some lapse in either education or higher thinking". I'd be double checking his code to make sure he closed his braces and didn't name every variable X and X#2.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:56 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


They did not make sense, they were poorly researched and even worse, badly organized. He did not shoot anyone, physically harm anyone, or create a dominant culture where these ideas are welcomed.

He did, in fact, harm the reputations and credibility of every single person to whom his list of negative characteristics applied. He reinforced negative and damaging bias and created an environment in which their expertise would be questioned. Words matter.

If you stand by your assertion that this didn't hurt anyone, then I seriously question your own professionalism and ability to work with a diverse group of people, because you're demonstrating a considerable amount of don't-get-it-ness here.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:00 PM on August 5 [54 favorites]


Another great quote from the commentary that rhizome linked:
One very important true statement which this manifesto makes is that male gender roles remain highly inflexible, and that this is a bug, not a feature. In fact, I suspect that this is the core bug which prompted everything else within this manifesto to be written. But the rest of the manifesto is basically about optimizing around the existence of this bug! Don’t optimize your bugs; fix them.
posted by clawsoon at 11:01 PM on August 5 [19 favorites]


Freedom of speech is a thing, and also a thing is the suffering the consequences for being an unprofessional jackhole with really questionable judgement. Being fired for exercising one's unprofessional poor judgement and exposing one's company to liability is one of those consequences.

Not harming or shooting someone is a pretty low bar, so I don't even know why you'd bring that up.
posted by rtha at 11:02 PM on August 5 [21 favorites]


If they don't fire him, Google's going to lose millions; no company that actually values diversity will be willing to work with them if they condone someone who publicly says "women do feelings; men do hard math thoughts."

You seriously think that other companies will not do business with google over this? That any tech company would say- awwwww, that milllions of dollars? You didn't smack down the jerk hard enough, we'll pass.
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 11:02 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


he should not be fired for expressing himself
There is no freedom of speech at work. He can express himself to his boss, his HR helper, his EAP person, whatever. He can talk to his therapist, his wife, or his mommy. But he does not have the right to disseminate discriminatory material on an employer's network.
posted by xyzzy at 11:04 PM on August 5 [37 favorites]


I doubt they have every keyboard tracked, but they absolutely have cameras in every room and record every bit of data that crosses a viewscreen.

I alluded to this above, but if they don't, it's likely for the same reason I can't close Skype chat screens and open them back up to get a link someone sent me an hour ago at my job. As I understand it, data that companies aren't obligated to retain, if they retain it anyway, it's subject to discovery in a lawsuit. If they collect that much data, they might be able to dump it all on someone and assume that someone's incapable of sifting through it all, but that would be risky. If Google has a record of everything every Google employee has ever done while on campus or using company tech, that would be very useful for Google but probably terrible in the face of, say, a pay gap lawsuit.

On the other hand, if that data's never saved, or if that data is subject to a standard about when it gets deleted, they can't get in trouble for not being able to provide it as long as they're following their own internal standard, whereas destroying documents in other contexts is very frowned upon. Google might well want everybody else's info more than they want their own.
posted by Sequence at 11:10 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


You seriously think that other companies will not do business with google over this? That any tech company would say- awwwww, that milllions of dollars? You didn't smack down the jerk hard enough, we'll pass.

Um, yeah? Duh? Between that and the discrimination lawsuit? Especially when there are equally relevant competitors for most of the things Google does? Yes. Let alone all the people who are like, "Wow, Google is a fucking jerk. I think I'll buy an iPhone and an Amazon Echo instead. And maybe I'll sell some of my Google stock because they seem like they're having some problems." A $5 hit on their stock price would be a loss of about a billion dollars just on its own.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:11 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


They are valued at about 90 Billion dollars. . Billion, with a B. They are the second largest company Internet company in the world. Their software and browsers sit on at least 75% of the world's computers and devices , and that is a conservative estimate. More importantly- they basically said - we will allow this. Their statement said so.

I will be looking for their stock to drop so I can pick some up cheap.
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 11:20 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


> I stand by this. He wrote a bunch of words. They did not make sense, they were poorly researched and even worse, badly organized. He did not shoot anyone, physically harm anyone, or create a dominant culture where these ideas are welcomed. He expressed an opinion, and while it's one that annoys the heck out of me as I have run up against it so many times - this is still a country where freedom of speech is allowed.

And, serious question: You really think he - and anyone else with judgement so poor as to publish something like this - shouldn't suffer any professional consequences for it? That he should just continue to be allowed to work with and possibly supervise or be in a position to hire people he pretty clearly thinks are not as competent as he is because of their gender or race? That Google should just act as if something like this couldn't possibly contribute to a hostile work environment, and he's not a liability with a huge blinking neon "LIABILITY" sign over his head? Is that your proposal?
posted by rtha at 11:23 PM on August 5 [26 favorites]


"You seriously think that other companies will not do business with google over this? That any tech company would say- awwwww, that milllions of dollars? You didn't smack down the jerk hard enough, we'll pass."

Google is a company that can only exist if it has the ability to recruit employees. If it looses the ability to recruit just two employees because they gave the impression that this sort of sentiment was endorsed, they've already lost more than this person is going to contribute.

When in reality, if they give tactic support to this manifesto (and the lost work it has already cost - probably already racking up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars of hours of productivity), they will lose the recruitment of hundreds if not thousands of employees.
posted by el io at 11:25 PM on August 5 [12 favorites]


They're actually valued at $649 billion, but that just means that right now they can absorb the loss without it impacting operations. But losing consumer confidence is very, very expensive. Ask Uber. Hell, ask the mortgage industry. And if you think shareholders are cool with Google having the government going through their books with a fine-toothed comb while the Googlebomber publishes obvious liability bait all over the company network, to the tune of potentially losing 7-9 digits of their money, you have another think coming.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:26 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


"More importantly- they basically said - we will allow this."

Did they? Did they really? Their response might seem a bit mealy mouthed (their initial response, published hours after the story broke, on the weekend), but I parsed it a bit differently.

"Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws." (emphasis mine)

I read that as saying "you totally can be a conservative, and have conservative viewpoints, but we sure as heck can fire you for creating a hostile work environment."

It's entirely possible that google will never discuss firing the employee, and if they do they'll certainly use very neutral language to describe it, but I doubt that googler will still have a job next week. And if this matter comes up in the course of litigation, it will come out that he was fired. Hell, when executives at large publicly traded companies are sued for sexual harassment and it comes out as a PR issue there is generally a vague hand-wavy statement about him no longer being at the company.
posted by el io at 11:33 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Here's another note on the "why are people mad at me for talking ideas?" topic.

There are a small number of places and times where people are open to formally debating, mooting hypotheticals, or devil's advocating. If you spring this classroom stuff on someone in a social setting they generally do not recognize that this is what you are doing. They do not join you in a Socratic Dialogue, they assume you are a jackass promulgating bad ideas directed at them personally. They see it as parsing and discrediting their lived experience, which is what it is. Failure to recognize this causes people to bristle and write you off.

If you want to learn then ask and listen, just as Emily's Fist said above.

I would not be surprised to learn that the author of this document was fresh off campus.

(Side note, not directed at any specific person: don't invoke "logic" to support your argument unless you are wearing a cardigan with chalk dust on the sleeve.)
posted by Horkus at 11:36 PM on August 5 [24 favorites]


I feel like a lot of these companies that strongly promote identity with the company as the kind of person you are, as opposed to the kind of work that you do, open themselves up to this kind of mentality, where people start getting tribal about who does or doesn't belong in the tribe. Like if you work somewhere where you identify more with your role and your career trajectory, and not with being a ~*Google Employee*~ (or an Apple employee, etc) then chances are you won't get hung up on all the people in the building who "don't really belong".

And on a larger scale, the company culture won't become so internalized that they lose their sense of normalcy and start accommodating really toxic ideas and attitudes--like the one about how fostering different ideas and viewpoints is always good and that's why we shouldn't fire the asshole who wrote the 10-page paper justifying sexual and racial discrimination.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:43 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


One piece of context coming from an ex-Googler - manifestos / screeds / treatises / etc are not uncommon at Google. They are usually on things like product decisions people think are anti-user, or explanations of why a policy is harmful to the writer / group of employees or users. They are a tool that has been used to make important positive changes, and might well get the employee in trouble elsewhere.

I expect that this author believes they are in that tradition - apparently unable to tell the difference between "I believe people unlike me are inferior" and "this is why we should have kept Google Reader". That makes me frustrated and upset, but the D&I director's response also failing to distinguish that almost makes me more disappointed.
posted by lorimt at 12:00 AM on August 6 [35 favorites]


That makes me frustrated and upset, but the D&I director's response also failing to distinguish that almost makes me more disappointed.

HR folks generally never discuss personnel issues; it can create legal liability for them. I'd be surprised if a lawyer didn't help construct that response. The way I read the response was "yes, we love some discourse here, but within the fucking context of your code of conduct and the goddamned (anti-discrimination) laws."
posted by el io at 12:43 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I've said before that I myself am an older white dude who has seen my white-dudeness get me farther than any actual talent I have in any area (in fact, I have progressed in some areas in which I excel LESS because I had accidentally picked up white dude mentors). Maybe I just lack the inflated self-esteem that normally comes with my DNA or maybe the shame over my extremely bigoted father colored my worldview, or maybe I've just seen too many really talented women and POC who have been left behind. I do know the one time that I missed out on a promotion I really wanted, I lost to a white dude who was identifiably MORE mediocre than I was. YMMV, but it has been over 20 years since I considered American Business to be anything close to a "meritocracy". And maybe that's a big reason why the rise of President YouKnowWho is less a surprise to me than to many other MeFites.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:59 AM on August 6 [18 favorites]


I have a "friend" who is considering a role at Google and they will be closely watching how this all develops.

As for not naming names... as I see it any potential hire at this point is facing the prospect of having to wonder about every person they work with, and more generally what the actual values of the company are.

So you know, if you know specifics and want to send me a PM, it would help my "friend" who is in an actual, non-hypothetical scenario where this makes a difference
posted by danny the boy at 1:15 AM on August 6 [14 favorites]


Engineers who work at Google know his name; he signed it.

If a woman had written something as offensive as this, her name would be public knowledge by now and she'd be doxxed to hell.
posted by daveje at 1:50 AM on August 6 [106 favorites]


Metafilter: don't invoke "logic" to support your argument
posted by Sebmojo at 1:57 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


All these people worrying about someone being fired for expressing himself, I wonder how many of them would be equally worried by someone getting fired for telling their manager to go fuck themselves. Words are just words, man! Sticks and stones, you oblivious fucking bigot, right?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:39 AM on August 6 [20 favorites]


I see a difference between having discriminatory thoughts, as this person apparently does, and doing discriminatory things, which I don't think I've seen evidence of.

Writing and distributing this manifesto is a thing that he did.
posted by Dysk at 4:15 AM on August 6 [39 favorites]


Writing and distributing this manifesto is a thing that he did.

He's white and male, consequences weren't supposed to be part of it!

I mean, not to harp on MikeWarot, who seems to have seen some light, but the preamble to MW's original note in this thread is basically "I'm about to say something bad, but in a just world I should not suffer any consequences for it."

That's wrong. It's baked into all of us white dudes by our shitty society, and it needs to be extracted with extreme prejudice. Only way I learn diddly about being a better person (so much left to do) is by being called on bullshit.
posted by maxwelton at 5:11 AM on August 6 [20 favorites]


Given what studies have shown people do but don't say when it comes to discrimination and unconscious bias, how can you believe that he would say these things but not act on them?

Sr. Devs likely don't have any authority over other people.
posted by mikelieman at 5:19 AM on August 6


They have the authority to make their female peers feel like shit, which is an authority granted to every man who questions the basic competence of women based on nothing but their gender.
posted by supercrayon at 5:29 AM on August 6 [45 favorites]


They also have the authority to change the culture, by posting such screeds where everyone can see and making it seem like that's just the normal way of thinking (or a perfectly reasonable way of thinking). This sort of thing is absolutely setting the tone for all the other staff, especially for more junior people on the way up who can reasonably be expected to look up to senior people and use their actions as an example.

Apparently it's already the case that a bunch of people have come out of the woodwork to agree with this rant, making the "hostile workplace" issue far more widespread than it might have been if those people had continued to believe that spouting this kind of thing was unacceptable in the workplace.
posted by emilyw at 5:44 AM on August 6 [22 favorites]


It's a Google Doc: it's not a matter of monitoring keyboards or monitors. You have to be logged in to create the doc. So Google definitely knows who created the doc.
posted by oheso at 6:09 AM on August 6 [12 favorites]


By the sounds of it, everyone within Google who can view it knows who created the doc. It’s no secret.

The Gizmodo article says “The text of the post is reproduced in full below, with some minor formatting modifications. Two charts and several hyperlinks are also omitted.” I would be interesting in knowing what those links were. Were they links to other internal docs? Research papers the author believed backed up their thesis?

It seems odd to omit them, point out that you’ve omitted them & but not say what they were.
posted by pharm at 6:19 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


So, my dude here, apparently a senior employee with his own team, disseminates company-wide an elucidation of why he cannot possibly be a fair supervisor or make fair hiring decisions that comply with both company policy and federal law and people are advocating that he shouldn't be fired? So, I can send all my bosses a 10 page essay on why I can't perform several vital functions of my job for vague uncited reasons and just go on my merry way? Cool! That'll really free up some hours in my work day!

Jesus. I knew being a white dude must be a pretty sweet deal, but I had no idea how sweet. The loathsome, retrograde opinions in this thing aside, this is mind-bogglingly unprofessional. How can anyone trust the professional judgement of someone who wakes up one morning and decides that doing this is a totally legit thing to do at work? This is like Xeroxing your ass level of poor professional judgement.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:22 AM on August 6 [52 favorites]


he should not be fired for expressing himself. That is a slippery slope if there ever was one

Extrapolating that there are other people who believe the way he believes is probably about right. You fire him, you turn him into a martyr. The one who 'sacrificed himself for the glorious cause'
You keep him, you turn him into a cancer. It is perhaps telling which tribe we're prioritizing in this scenario. However, to make this less binary of choice, this is what I might do, if I were his manager (loosely phrased)

Email/Chat thread #1: "Hey, {douchebag}. Can we talk about your post? I feel that you're experiencing some frustrations about your colleagues that we should discuss. I can understand the impulse to write these frustrations out in a manifesto but I don't think that's an effective way to address the underlying problems. It looks like you have some time open in 30 minutes. Please attend."

Email/Chat thread #2: "Hey, {female colleague of douchebag}. I've seen the manifesto that they posted, and I am genuinely troubled and upset by it. I feel that it may be part of a pattern, and I was wondering if you have experienced any harassment or disparagement from him due to your gender."

Email/Chat thread #3: "Hey,{HR}, I just wanted to bring this manifesto to your attention. I'm intending to start a dialogue with {douchebag} to have them withdraw the manifesto and talk about any recent events that may have led up to it. I'm also gathering information from other colleagues about whether {douchebag} has exhibited a pattern of fostering a hostile work environment. Please consider this manifesto the primary document in that pattern. If they don't agree to withdraw the manifesto on their own, I intend to have it deleted myself by EOD, and am just letting you know in case you have guidance for this scenario."

So, basically, you could choose not to fire the person right away, and you can give them a choice to have a dialogue and come to withdraw the manifesto, but if the person does not change their mind and has been acting to make their colleagues uncomfortable, then that absolutely is a terminable offence.

Canning somebody on the spot may be arguable as being severe, arbitrary, and dangerous. Canning somebody after a week to give you time to form up your paper trail and establish evidence to have for the eventual wrongful termination lawsuit is a more responsible, though perhaps less dramatic choice.
posted by bl1nk at 6:24 AM on August 6 [12 favorites]


Apparently he’s a senior engineer. If my (vague admittedly) understanding of the internal Google hierarchy is correct I think that means he doesn’t actually supervise anyone. Given recent events I doubt he’ll be supervising anyone in the near future either...
posted by pharm at 6:26 AM on August 6


being called on bullshit
We had a thread on callout culture awhile back and there were a variety of strongly held opinions about what constituted shaming, calling out, etc, and whether it was bullying or warranted correction. I think that in the end, getting called on your bullshit and actually making changes is about context. I've very occasionally pointed out a few misogynistic things my best friend has said and he took it pretty well, although sometimes there was an initial period of defensive sulking. He always came around, though, and now I literally never hear any of that stuff since he took ally training at the LGBTQ+ center at the university he attended.

There are safe places to ask these questions, listen to others, and express your own opinions. I mentioned a few of them earlier--therapists, friends, spouses, family members, etc. But work is not the place to air your grievances about white males, women, Republicans, gay people, Christians, whatever. It's simply the wrong context. If Google is actively encouraging oversharing of this type via internal communications channels, this is a culture problem that they've fostered and it should be nipped in the bud. (It may have something to do with Google's apparent desire to encourage their employees to turn Google into their lives, which is a whole other problem.)
posted by xyzzy at 6:29 AM on August 6 [16 favorites]


“... Two charts and several hyperlinks are also omitted.” I would be interesting in knowing what those links were.

Would not be surprised if 50%+ of them were to slatestarcodex.
posted by fleacircus at 6:40 AM on August 6 [13 favorites]


Sr. Devs likely don't have any authority over other people.
Maybe not in the sense that people report to them and they can hire and fire. But I'm sure that there are ways that he can shape his colleagues' reputations. If Paul says something stupid first thing in the morning, asshole senior developer guys will be like "oh, I know Paul knows that isn't right. He must have been out partying last night, and he's tired, and he had a slip of the tongue." If Paula says the same thing, asshole dude goes straight to the breakroom and tells everyone and uses it as evidence that Paula is a diversity hire, and soon all of Paula's male colleagues know the funny story about how she proved she's a diversity hire by not knowing some simple thing that every CS101 student knows. If Paul and Paula's team does something really cool, asshole dude immediately assumes that Paul, rather than Paula did it, and he tells everyone about the awesome thing that Paul did. Later it may come out that Paula was actually responsible for that thing, but at that point, all anyone is going to remember is that word around the office is that Paul is really creative and talented. There are lots of ways that biased people can spread their biases to shape people's reputations, and often they're not even conscious they're doing it. (In fact, I've done this and been horrified to realize I was doing it.) And I mean, unconscious bias is a complicated problem, and I'm not sure we know how to deal with it yet. But you're facing a whole other order of problem when people aren't even trying to deal with it, because they think their biases are true and awesome.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:45 AM on August 6 [55 favorites]


I'm not comfortable with the idea of firing someone just because they wrote something stupid and offensive
Why not, exactly?


I am writing this from a country, at the moment, that at least from the outside, seems amazingly tolerant in comparison to the US. Maybe it's just the glow talking, but I find myself envying this peace. I'm starting to see the value of leaving people to themselves, and everyone shutting their mouths about their terrible beliefs so that we can live together. I don't see any advantage in this stuff being out in the open.

To be frank, I think Google is at fault for facilitating this screed, and they should stop giving everyone in the company a soapbox for their terrible ideas. It would be wrong to fire this guy when he was invited to verbal diarrhea like that - so stop inviting it and then go from there.
posted by corb at 7:15 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Omg I just actually read the letter and y'all that shit is so godamn stupid how the fuck is anyone taking it seriously? If that constitutes what software engineers think of as a rigorous examination of a given topic then I'm sorry but you need your entire discipline overhauled because apparently they teach you to code but not to critically think. Embarassing, sophomoric, completely lacking in empirical evidence, full of faulty assumptions and inaccurate data, based on spurious and easily disproven leaps of logic, and lacking internal consistency. Color me supremely unimpressed.
posted by supercrayon at 7:16 AM on August 6 [37 favorites]


mikelieman: "Sr. Devs likely don't have any authority over other people."

While this person may or may not have direct supervisory/managerial authority over other people, surely he must do interviews, no? And provide feedback for annual performance reviews and promotions? Heck, there's basically no chance that he doesn't do code reviews.
posted by mhum at 7:18 AM on August 6 [7 favorites]


I'm thinking this was engendered by the author assuring a bro he could get him on at Google in a sweet position that's opening up, only to have it filled by a woman/PoC/anything other than a straight white guy.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:32 AM on August 6 [5 favorites]


This Marxism, is it cultural?

Best kind...
posted by acb at 7:36 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


It's as if the bacilli of Nazism and Fascism and “Racial Science” and variously creepy things euphemistically described as “neo-traditionalism” and such were thawing out of the permafrost and starting to infect new hosts, and the tech industry was a particularly fertile fever-swamp for them (see also: Ayn Rand, Mencius Moldbug, Scott Adams, &c.)

The internet's disintermediation of communications probably has a lot to do with it. A similar thing happens with mental illness. In the old days, if someone was suffering from schizophrenia or psychosis and were not familiar with it, they'd infer that the symptoms were some malign external agency assaulting them with evil magic/magnetic rays/something. Some would blame witchcraft, some the CIA or Freemasons or someone, and some would coin something like the “Secret Underground World Society” who were responsible for all evil. Then, when the internet came along, those afflicted staerted comparing symptoms and collaboratively building them into broader conspiracy theories, in which the Illuminati lizard people controlled the CIA, the Freemasons and the Secret Underground World Society.

What does this have to do with the MRAs/alt-Right? Well, as alt.conspiracy and Reddit and political fringe forums have been for schizophrenia, there seems to be something similar for the condition of being an intelligent, possibly socially awkward misfit, and the adolescent state of imagining oneself to be one of a handful of truly alive/intelligent beings surrounded by sheeplike automata that many go through. Instead of muddling through it and eventually realising that the real world doesn't work that way, these days, the afflicted compare notes on 4chan and build up their sophomoric delusions into an ideological fortress. And when they run out of materials for this, others find plenty of sources to borrow from, from Rand to actual proto-fascist intellectuals forgotten for the past hundred years, to dusty old man nonsense that would have died with the John Birch Society.
posted by acb at 7:52 AM on August 6 [13 favorites]


I get the idea that even though he likely doesn't have any authority over anyone ( hence the manifesto ), he's still toxic.

Given that I have no idea of the employment history of this nitwit, I think I'm coming around to , "Is his posting of his scientifically invalid, and downright stupid manifesto an Overt Act violating the company's code of conduct?"

Which is a lesser standard, but central to the company's vision and mission.

With that in mind, it LIKELY is in violation of their Code of Conduct, and that's a firing.
posted by mikelieman at 7:58 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just the glow talking, but I find myself envying this peace. I'm starting to see the value of leaving people to themselves, and everyone shutting their mouths about their terrible beliefs so that we can live together. I don't see any advantage in this stuff being out in the open.

What you are describing is pretty much precisely what MLK referred to as "negative peace" (the absence of tension). It stands in stark opposition to "positive peace" (the presence of justice).

"Let's just not talk about it" does not solve any problems, and in fact simply creates space for awful and destructive beliefs to fester and grow until you end up basically where we are today with the modern re-emergence of avowed nazis and people pretending they're not nazis while in fact being nazis.
posted by tocts at 8:04 AM on August 6 [40 favorites]


Imagine me, a female engineer, joining their team. "Oh that's Jim/Chad/Matt. He hates women. You have to work with him every day and spend more time with him than you will with your loved ones. We can't fire him because some guy on the Internet predicted he'd be martyr if we did."

NO.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:06 AM on August 6 [74 favorites]


Also: "ya you just spend 10 hours a day with him and his garbage but he's not your boss so, cool, right?"
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:08 AM on August 6 [17 favorites]


I didn't read the screed, but I've certainly got the gist from reading the comments, so I've spared myself the aggro. For the record, I disagree with its alleged assertions.

One thing I will point to, which sort of ties into the resentment that drove people to Trump, is that the author calls for a "diversity of ideologies". Again I disagree, but what this does highlight is that many people are told that if their thoughts and beliefs aren't right on that breaking edge of the progressive wave, they're markedly inferior and wrong. This resentment is often expressed as a lashout against what they call PC and SJWs. And in the US it's part of the political polarization where it's "we're good and they're evil" and the middle ground of compromise and cooperation is barren and unpopulated.

To me this is a reminder that those of us with progressive values need to keep in mind that we can be shrill and intolerant, when we should be calm and encouraging. Social progress is a wave, it doesn't sit still, and what's at the forefront today will be the norm tomorrow and quaint by next week. Not everyone will move in lockstep, some won't ever catch up.

Do I think this screed is a firing offence? All by itself, maybe not, depending how and where it was distributed. If it's just a more overt expression of a latent hostility that's already poisoned his sphere of influence, then yes.

I think it's appropriate that Google has not done an instant knee-jerk termination. That would just be a pander to PR and optics. Monday or Tuesday would be fine. Maybe the guy will even resign out of embarrassment. I also think it's a little bit classy of Google to not publish his name. You all know what that would result in, besides being a total career-ender.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:16 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


The manifesto is white male privilege articulated. Could / should the author be fired? When I read this, it's pretty clear that the author is contributing significantly to a workplace that is quite hostile to women and other members of protected classes. If I were a member of a protected class at Google and had reason to sue for discrimination, the manifesto would absolutely be included in my documentation. This person is contributing to sexism in the workforce, has documented it, and is likely to cost Google a fair amount of money in lawsuits. Most of those settlements will be mediated and not public, so you won't see articles about payouts.

I work in technology and have experienced repeated, serious, sexism, ageism and discrimination on the basis of disability. It definitely feels like companies are a lot less worried about discrimination these days, and the current administration's policy on affirmative action is likely to make that worse. My ability to do my job has been destroyed by young, arrogant men who are literally unable to believe that a person with no Y chromosome or with gray hair can do technical work. This is in the face of lots of documentation to the contrary. They just can't see it because they are blinded by white male privilege in the form of arrogance. The discrimination on the basis of disability was way easier to document because they just don't get it, so they ignore it.

Google should fire or otherwise take immediate very strong action against an employee who is aggressively promoting a hostile work environment.
posted by theora55 at 8:16 AM on August 6 [31 favorites]


If Paul says something stupid first thing in the morning, asshole senior developer guys will be like "oh, I know Paul knows that isn't right. He must have been out partying last night, and he's tired, and he had a slip of the tongue." If Paula says the same thing, asshole dude goes straight to the breakroom and tells everyone and uses it as evidence that Paula is a diversity hire, and soon all of Paula's male colleagues know the funny story about how she proved she's a diversity hire by not knowing some simple thing that every CS101 student knows. If Paul and Paula's team does something really cool, asshole dude immediately assumes that Paul, rather than Paula did it, and he tells everyone about the awesome thing that Paul did. Later it may come out that Paula was actually responsible for that thing, but at that point, all anyone is going to remember is that word around the office is that Paul is really creative and talented. There are lots of ways that biased people can spread their biases to shape people's reputations, and often they're not even conscious they're doing it. (In fact, I've done this and been horrified to realize I was doing it.) And I mean, unconscious bias is a complicated problem, and I'm not sure we know how to deal with it yet. But you're facing a whole other order of problem when people aren't even trying to deal with it, because they think their biases are true and awesome.

QFT (and flagged as fantastic) as I've lived it and seen this played out in the careers of lots of women. Time and time again, in the exact same scenarios, the guy is given the benefit of the doubt, cut some slack, given the credit, etc., while the gal is viewed as an acceptable target of one-upmanship and/or credit theft. That gets to the root of why folks can be so attached to their biases. It's an unskillful, lowest common denominator way for them to "deal" with their insecurities when they don't have better ways of dealing.
posted by jazzbaby at 8:21 AM on August 6 [32 favorites]


I didn't read the screed... Do I think this screed is a firing offence?

No really, if you want to share an opinion you should read it first. There's no being "calm and encouraging" with this kind of bullshit, or at least the people who have to work with him shouldn't be expected to rise to that level. Sometimes angry and outraged is the appropriate response.

I also think it's a little bit classy of Google to not publish his name. You all know what that would result in, besides being a total career-ender.

Google hasn't published or not published the name; Google has published nothing except one bland statement in response to the PR mess. As for "what that would result in", what are you hinting at? Men don't get rape threats and stalked the way women do. I doubt this even affects his career, somehow young white men have a way of landing on their feet. No doubt it's evolutionary psychology, their inherent superiority.
posted by Nelson at 8:26 AM on August 6 [21 favorites]


Citations certainly would have been helpful, but this may not be the author's fault. The published versions on the internet notably omit several hyperlinks and charts from the original. I suspect many would be surprised at how many of his apparently inflammatory statements (that appear to be unsourced assertions), comport completely with current scholarly literature on these topics.

I can't find a single line in this document that would qualify as anything close to "hate speech." There's no otherizing, there's no fearmongering, and there's certainly no call to arms. If this sounds like hate speech to you, I'd suggest reading Mein Kampf, or listening to David Duke or Michael Savage.

This, for example, does not sound like hate:
I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. (...) Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance (...)
The author thinks statistically, with clear delineation between population-level and individual-level phenomena. He also has an understandable emotional detachment from the issue relative to people who self-identify as PoC, LGBTQ, or female. He uses scholarly shibboleths such as "generally," "typically," or "on average" to help clarify when he speaks of population-level phenomena, but to those who feel individually victimized or oppressed, this is small consolation, especially coming from a coworker.

Consider:
Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
This is from Simon Baron-Cohen's theory of autism, and related notions of EQ and SQ, which is completely within the bounds of rational, polite, and active scholarship. This academic work also seems to inform the author's suggestion to de-emphasize "empathy" in internal culture-building initiatives. But I imagine that individual women reading this summary of real research in a citation-stripped office-policy document may perceive it as an attack. (And of course, I may be wrong.)

Breathless comments in this thread claim the author believes that women are "biologically unqualified to do the work" (real quote from the thread!). This all-or-nothing statement is obviously false; the author speaks only of general population trends, not individuals, and certainly not about discriminatory hiring practices.

The author states the following, and I think he should be taken at face value:
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.
He's being civil. He seems to support a version of liberal feminism. He openly admits that systematic bias is a problem. On pure merit of his arguments, he expects that a caveat like this is sufficient to handle the inevitable fallout and blowback. That is, he's trying to act in good faith, expected a good faith response, but was wildly naive and optimistic about the politics and emotions that would be roiled. In short, high SQ, and low EQ (in Baron-Cohen's formulation).

The lesson for him to learn is that getting things done in an organization or even the world depends on forming personal relationships with individuals and gaining their trust. Missives from behind the screen, no matter how well-intentioned and well-founded in scholarly literature, will be interpreted within the reader's context, not his. Emotional detachment about these topics is a privilege of the enfranchised, and I suspect he doesn't quite see that.

Sometimes being right isn't as important as helping others, individually, or writ large.
posted by phenylphenol at 8:27 AM on August 6 [12 favorites]


Artful Codger: If I never ever hear the word "shrill" again it will be too soon.

And if we gotta leave behind someone who is misogynistic enough to write a 10-page bigoted and unsourced screed on (metaphorically) company letterhead and send it around with his name attached... okay. Not seein' the problem. Sorry not sorry, not willing to "compromise" with people who want people like me at best given fewer opportunities, and at more likely want to do me and folk like me active harm.
posted by XtinaS at 8:30 AM on August 6 [14 favorites]


If this effects his career, it won't make him unemployable. What it might make him is employed at a midsize company, possibly in a less-fashionable city. What this will make him is something other than rich. He is not entitled to be rich. Nobody is entitled to be rich. He isn't going to starve to death because of this--there will be a salary over a living wage that someone is willing to pay him to write code, no matter how bad his reputation is. But it might not be a Google salary. And why should he be entitled to a Google salary? I don't make a Google salary. Why are we so worried about protecting the ability of white men to get rich over the ability of women and POC to take advantage of the same opportunities?
posted by Sequence at 8:31 AM on August 6 [21 favorites]


He's being civil. He seems to support a version of liberal feminism. He openly admits that systematic bias is a problem. On pure merit of his arguments, he expects that a caveat like this is sufficient to handle the inevitable fallout and blowback. That is, he's trying to act in good faith, expected a good faith response, but was wildly naive and optimistic about the politics and emotions that would be roiled. In short, high SQ, and low EQ (in Baron-Cohen's formulation).

He isn't doing anything remotely related to any of that, his arguments have no merit, he's not acting in good faith to supposedly promote a "liberal feminist" point of view, and I am honestly agog at your attempt to legitimize what this man said about his colleagues as valid and forward-thinking.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:36 AM on August 6 [60 favorites]


Eurgh, I only got as far as using evpsych as an excuse for some fascinating levels of transphobia before I had to stop.

One day, maybe people will realize that these "thought experiments" involve real living people whose lives are at risk. Alas, we're still stuck with Google engineers who think that they're accredited biologists.
posted by XtinaS at 8:36 AM on August 6 [14 favorites]


He uses scholarly shibboleths such as "generally," "typically," or "on average" to help clarify when he speaks of population-level phenomena, but to those who feel individually victimized or oppressed, this is small consolation, especially coming from a coworker.

It's small consideration because the people he's making generalist statements about have spent their fucking lives having their individual traits, strengths and interests papered over by assholes considering things in aggregate and nullifying whatever the individual brings to the table.
posted by Talez at 8:40 AM on August 6 [23 favorites]


phenylphenol, a few quotes directly from the manifesto:

"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."

"On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed because:
They’re universal across human cultures
They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone
Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males
The underlying traits are highly heritable
They’re exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective"


"I’m simply stating that 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."

How is this not the author saying there are biological differences that mean women are not as good at the jobs Google is actively trying to hire them to do? Backpedaling to say "well SOME women can maybe do it" doesn't solve the problem - he's saying that, on the whole, women probably aren't good at this job and many who are hired under D&I initiatives probably fall within that category. And I'm a woman, and I work in tech, and let me tell you, waking up every morning wondering whether I'm a weird special woman or a woman who has a job she didn't deserve is a pretty shitty way to start the day, and even if I can convince myself that I *am* actually good at what I do and deserving of what I have, it's even worse going into work wondering which of my coworkers thinks which thing about me and trying to work around that *ON TOP OF* the job I was actually hired to do. Actively perpetuating this idea *throughout your work environment* creates... wait for it... *a hostile work environment* for the women there.

Also, yes, there are theories out there he could point to. Many of them are highly controversial and not necessarily based on rigorous research. Did you read the "criticism" portion of the Empathizing-Systemizing Theory link you added? Evolutionary psychology, also, highly controversial. Stating that differences are "universal across human cultures" is flat out untrue. I fail to see what citations he could have provided that have not already been debunked again and again.
posted by olinerd at 8:40 AM on August 6 [54 favorites]


Nelson: No really, if you want to share an opinion you should read it first. There's no being "calm and encouraging" with this kind of bullshit, or at least the people who have to work with him shouldn't be expected to rise to that level. Sometimes angry and outraged is the appropriate response.

Fair comment. We don't yet know exactly what this person has heard from their superiors so far; I imagine it wasn't "calm and encouraging". I was referring more to the more general case where anyone not totally "woke" to the standards of the minute often gets beat on, which generates resentment in some people.

This demand for "instant" justice, (and a pillory, it seems) is an example of the sort of progressive intolerance I'm calling out. At the moment, I still expect Google will do the right thing, and nothing is lost by pausing a day or two. If this hasn't been publicly resolved by Wednesday, then I'll agree that Google has mishandled it.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:41 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


This demand for "instant" justice, (and a pillory, it seems) is an example of the sort of progressive intolerance I'm calling out.

So much for the "tolerant left", AMIRITE?
posted by Talez at 8:42 AM on August 6 [17 favorites]


what this does highlight is that many people are told that if their thoughts and beliefs aren't right on that breaking edge of the progressive wave, they're markedly inferior and wrong.

This is the most depressing sentence in your depressing comment. Believing that women are the equals of men isn't "the breaking edge of the progressive wave"; it's a bare minimum standard for not being a regressive bigot.

I am honestly agog at your attempt to legitimize what this man said about his colleagues as valid and forward-thinking.

I am honestly not at all surprised at this coming from a "tech startup guy." It's an excellent example of the problem.

Some of the men in this thread really need to do some serious work on themselves. My suggestion is that they actually listen to the women in tech who have spoken up here about why this is so serious.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:44 AM on August 6 [72 favorites]


Look I'm sorry if he's getting "beat on" for not being up to speed on something he should know, but this is a work environment. He probably also gets criticized if he's not up to speed on basic technical skills he needs to do his job, so I don't see a problem with criticism if he's not up to par on the basic social skills he needs to do his job - like treating your coworkers, whom someone above your pay grade has seen fit to hire, as a human being who is capable until proven otherwise. How is it we can expect software engineers to be up-to-the-minute on the latest and greatest technologies, to the point that they're in job descriptions a week after Apple or whomever announces them, but not up-to-the-decade on how to treat other people?
posted by olinerd at 8:45 AM on August 6 [23 favorites]


olinerd. Speaking purely in statistical terms, saying that there are differences on average between men and women says nothing about the specific men and women that are working for Google: Google employees are not a random sample of the wider population - they are people who have chosen to apply to work at Google and have made it through Google’s hiring process.

But failure to appreciate that these distinctions don’t necessarily come across effectively in his article is one of the more obvious reasons why writing it was a no good, terrible, very bad idea.
posted by pharm at 8:46 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


I agree that the rush for demands of "instant justice" is not great. I think it's just the nature of the hot media cycle, the story is the story of the day and here we are all talking about it. Trump will tweet something stupid tomorrow and the outrage du jour will move on. That doesn't make this event any less outrageous though.

But this whole event is not entirely "instant". From what I understand this manifesto was distributed internally days before the public learned about it on Friday. It's a serious mistake that someone internal at Google didn't move immediately on it. Encouraging debate and contrarian opinions in internal discussions? Good. Allowing sexist pseudo-science that creates a hostile work environment? Bad. I'm pretty sure their not coming down hard on this trash is why this spilled out in public. There's more on this in Kara Swisher's article
The employee memo —which has been up for days without action by the company — went viral within Google this weekend with some decrying it and others not. Sources said execs have been struggling with how to deal with it and the fall-out, trying to decide if its troubling content crosses a line or should be allowed to be aired.
posted by Nelson at 8:48 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


pharm, the point of this piece is literally that he believes Google hires people, and will in the future hire people, that they shouldn't because of D&I initiatives encouraging them to lower the bar. So it does have a lot to do with the specific men and women he works with.
posted by olinerd at 8:48 AM on August 6 [17 favorites]


I'd say that the constant insistence on cushioning a member of a privileged demographic from the consequences of his own actions is really more of an example of progressive intolerance. It comes with different words and phrasing, but it still tells women and minorities that their livelihoods are expendable and that they wouldn't make up for the loss of this one dude!
posted by Autumnheart at 8:49 AM on August 6 [33 favorites]


If expressing an opinion gets defined as bad.... how is a conversation ever going to occur? Conversations are error correction mechanisms.... the alternative is to shun everyone not in your tribe.... which is what we all want to avoid, right?
posted by MikeWarot at 8:50 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


I'd say that the constant insistence on cushioning a member of a privileged demographic from the consequences of his own actions is really more of an example of progressive intolerance. It comes with different words and phrasing, but it still tells women and minorities that their livelihoods are expendable and that they wouldn't make up for the loss of this one dude!

And that's the heart of tech brogressivism. Because one white fuckhead's right to free speech is more fucking important than anything else, including those who aren't viewed as fully human (i.e., anyone not-white, not-cis, not-straight, not-male).
posted by anem0ne at 8:51 AM on August 6 [27 favorites]


MikeWarot, there are vast resources on the internet that he could - wait for it - Google - if he wanted to answer some of his own questions. He could, as someone earlier suggested, ask people questions about their experiences, rather than making unfounded statements presented as baseline logical truth and then acting surprised when people say no, that's not right. There are many ways to have a conversation that don't start with "expressing an opinion that is in its nature hurtful and harmful to the people I work with every day."
posted by olinerd at 8:52 AM on August 6 [26 favorites]


talez, do you think Google should have instantly fired him, or are you ok if they take a day or two to investigate and discuss it?

Kutsuwamushi: "Believing that women are the equals of men isn't "the breaking edge of the progressive wave"; it's a bare minimum standard for not being a regressive bigot.

I'm sorry that everyone is thinking that I'm trying to downplay or rationalize what was in that manifesto. I'm not; I was trying to relay my impression that in general many people feel that the progressive movement can be intolerant, and it is part of the explanation for the backlash that includes charges of elitism, and seems to be one of the triggers for this document (as expressed in his wish for "Diversity of Ideologies").

I'm not a great writer, so the fault for this misunderstanding is clearly mine and I apologize.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:53 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


If expressing an opinion gets defined as bad.... how is a conversation ever going to occur? Conversations are error correction mechanisms.... the alternative is to shun everyone not in your tribe.... which is what we all want to avoid, right?

So, would you say that the anti-vaccination autism opinion is bad? The climate-denialist China-hoax opinion is bad? The anti-Semitic banker-conspiracy opinion is bad? The homophobic gays-are-disease-carriers opinion is bad? The white-supremacist mud-races-are-inferior opinion is bad? The sexist women-should-only-be-in-the-kitchen-or-making-babies opinion is bad?

Yes, we definitely need to have these conversations. TEACH THE CONTROVERSY!
posted by anem0ne at 8:53 AM on August 6 [29 favorites]


NB. When the original author talks about things/people preference split, I strongly suspect he’s referring to this metaanalysis published by the APA in 2009: Men and Things, Women and People: A Meta-Analysis of Sex Differences in Interests. pdf here.

I have zip background in this stuff & therefore can’t assess the paper in question, but it was published in the APA & is a meta-analysis that covers > 500,000 individuals so probably fairly robust - the quoted effect size is large.
posted by pharm at 8:54 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


I was trying to relay my impression that in general many people feel that the progressive movement can be intolerant, and it is part of the explanation for the backlash that includes charges of elitism, and seems to be one of the triggers for this document.

It seems to me that most of the people who think of the Intolerant Left as a thing tend to be bigots in one form or another across one or more axes. So fuck me for not giving a fuck about their feelings, right? Feels not reals, as they so often say.
posted by anem0ne at 8:55 AM on August 6 [18 favorites]


The male gender role is currently inflexible

Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles.
Take this one for instance. The author just whines and complains about the male gender role being inflexible. Well buddy, what the hell do you think women have been doing for the past fifty/hundred/thousands years? They've put their necks out at great risk to their professional careers and personal safety to force a change in their gender's role inch by every god forsaken hard fought inch.

How about if you want the male gender role to change to your liking you take the same risks to be an actor for change? It's not the woman's or the minority's or the gay person's responsibility to see that your gender role changes into something you don't find personally disagreeable. If you need help, ask for help. If you want to spend more time with your kid then make it happen. That's not women leaving men behind, that's men being too afraid to take the same risks that women have been taking since time immemorial.
posted by Talez at 8:55 AM on August 6 [58 favorites]


talez, do you think Google should have instantly fired him, or are you ok if they take a day or two to investigate and discuss it?

I think even if you think debating gender roles is valid, as soon as the screed got to The Bell Curve he should have been walked out the door that afternoon.
posted by Talez at 8:57 AM on August 6 [20 favorites]


If expressing an opinion gets defined as bad.... how is a conversation ever going to occur? Conversations are error correction mechanisms.... the alternative is to shun everyone not in your tribe.... which is what we all want to avoid, right?

To quote the article posted by rhizome, "Not all ideas are the same, and not all conversations about ideas even have basic legitimacy."

In other words, one does not have the right to have every word out of their mouth respected and considered as though it had merit. When one has opinions that would violate company policy and/or state and federal employment law if expressed, then one keeps one's fucking mouth shut on those topics while at work. If one feels the need to talk about why under-represented demographics don't belong in the workplace, one does it outside of work and in the privacy of their own space.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:57 AM on August 6 [21 favorites]


Talez: yeah, dropping random MRA talking points into the document is one of the things that was a terrible, terrible idea. Want to make a point? Stick to a topic and argue the case. Don't drop in tangentially related ideas that are *guaranteed* to piss off your audience and close them down.

anem0ne: telling people to shut up doesn’t stop them thinking bad thoughts unfortunately. It just means you get horribly surprised when they all vote for Trump.
posted by pharm at 8:58 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


Some key phrases from the manifesto, for those who don't want to dive into a 10-page screed that boils down to "I only want to work with other white men;" these are not the most offensive, but the dogwhistles he's using to declare his affiliations:
  • evolutionary psychology
  • politically correct monoculture
  • We need psychological safety and shared values to gain the benefits of diversity
  • relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain—causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.
  • Competitiveness and self reliance can be valuable traits and we shouldn’t necessarily disadvantage those that have them, like what’s been done in education.
  • I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason.
  • men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.
I could see Google following bl1nk's hypothetical protocol - let's wait until Monday, give dudebro the chance to declare that he was running on four days of caffeine and Fox news and also his girlfriend just broke up with him and he just wanted to say "ugh, women," and he's very sorry that it bothered his coworkers and now he wants to apologize to all of them... or more likely, the opportunity to say "no, of course that's what I think; all sensible men think like that!" so they can encourage him to name which of his team members agree with him.

Also, firing may legally have to come with "you get your severance check that day," so firing on a weekend brings up a swarm of hassles with HR staff.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:59 AM on August 6 [9 favorites]


pharm, nice paper. At the end the authors take care to indicate that they have not studied WHY those differences exist (and the sample dataset starts at age 12, well after many known social factors are at play), whether they are biological, social, cultural, etc, and note that they haven't differentiated across ethnic or cultural groups. So I think we all agree with these authors that there are sex differences in interest in STEM from age 12 and up. I disagree that this proves anything about biological differences that explain away the disparities in the field.
posted by olinerd at 8:59 AM on August 6 [19 favorites]


anemOne: It seems to me that most of the people who think of the Intolerant Left as a thing tend to be bigots in one form or another across one or more axes. So fuck me for not giving a fuck about their feelings, right? Feels not reals, as they so often say.

I'm old. Seeking understanding, resolution and harmony is in the job description. Fuck me for caring. :-)
posted by Artful Codger at 9:00 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


NB. My eyes may have glazed over what with all the MRA talking points etc in the doc, but I don’t recall (nor can I find) any mention of either the Bell Curve, or transphobia in it. Any pointers appreciated; I may just not be picking up on a right wing thought code that you guys are.
posted by pharm at 9:00 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


anem0ne: telling people to shut up doesn’t stop them thinking bad thoughts unfortunately. It just means you get horribly surprised when they all vote for Trump.

I respectfully disagree about this. Telling people to shut up stops the spread and normalization of their views. It wasn't a surprise that these people all voted for Trump, it was a surprise that someone like Trump was accepted and promoted as the agenda-carrier for a national political party, and his views allowed to be broadcast and promoted unchallenged by the media.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:01 AM on August 6 [29 favorites]


I would also point out that telling people to shut up and thus stopping the spread and normalization of their views is what prevents social progress too, and is a huge factor in the current Republican agenda to roll back social progress on any number of issues. Controlling the media and defining the message is a huge part of that.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:03 AM on August 6 [12 favorites]


My wife is a HR executive who worked for years at a giant tech company headquartered in the Valley. To reiterate what many have said, as an at-will employee they don't need any reason or cause to get rid of him. Regardless, even if they did they have plenty of reasons including creating a hostile work environment to reputational damage to the company. As far as the statement, she wasn't surprised that it was fairly bland. The one area where they open themselves up to potential liability, defamation, etc., is publicly commenting, releasing his name. She thinks they'll come out with more once, if, a decision is made that company reputation outweighs the potential liability. Obviously not the bravest stance.

And personally I'm fucking agog at the unexamined sexism/misogyny by people here defending this who claim to be progressive. While he tangentially touches on race, if it had been the primary focus of the screed and he'd said that most blacks weren't smart enough to be engineers and genetically were better suited to physical labor rather than mental would you be defending it? Even just to "discuss" and said "politely?" Because that's basically the equivalent. Holy fuck the need to forgive/excuse/explain/listen to whatever white men say is unbelievable.
posted by chris24 at 9:05 AM on August 6 [83 favorites]


Former Googler Yonatan Zunger has an excellent response that's well worth reading.

His stance, appropriately, is to immediately recognize that this was probably written by a relatively junior engineer who still has a lot to learn about being an effective leader. I think Mr. Zunger is overly punitive, though.
posted by phenylphenol at 9:07 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


yeah, dropping random MRA talking points into the document is one of the things that was a terrible, terrible idea. Want to make a point? Stick to a topic and argue the case. Don't drop in tangentially related ideas that are *guaranteed* to piss off your audience and close them down.

I don't think, though, that for this guy, they come separately. The MRA talking points are not random. The MRA talking points are where he started. The other stuff is the stuff he gathered up to try to support the MRA talking points. This is the thing that makes me assume this is not a good-faith "let's have a discussion" document. This is someone who's spent a lot of time in MRA or Red Pill communities who thinks he's very smart who thinks, even if this doesn't tip the company over into MRA territory, that distributing this document at Google will recruit a lot of other people at Google into this way of thinking. You don't wind up accidentally in Red Pill territory.
posted by Sequence at 9:08 AM on August 6 [49 favorites]


pharm: Search the text for "castrated at birth", in re transphobia. (I will be delighted if I'm wrong... but I'm probably not.)
posted by XtinaS at 9:09 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


anem0ne: telling people to shut up doesn’t stop them thinking bad thoughts unfortunately. It just means you get horribly surprised when they all vote for Trump.

I wasn't surprised, but then again, being a twofer, perhaps I already expected people to have these terrible thoughts? The difference is when they're not emboldened to keep talking about those terrible ideas, other people who wouldn't have been exposed don't suddenly think, "hey, maybe there is a real difference of opinion."

If we hadn't had so many people debating whether climate change was a fucking thing, we wouldn't have the rates of denialism we have now. If we hadn't had so many people echoing that vaccines cause autism, we wouldn't have the measles outbreak in the Somali community in the Twin Cities. If we didn't have so many people preaching that gay people are a plague and can be cured with prayer, maybe we wouldn't have so many religious conversion prisons and suicides.

If we didn't have so many people telling white folk that reverse racism is real, that Muslims are here to destroy the country, that immigrants are bad hombres, every fucking night on Fox News and every fucking moment on Breitbart and Facebook and Twitter, maybe we wouldn't have Trump.

All of this shit was already there. If it was a surprise to people that Trump was elected, you weren't fucking paying attention to the endemic bigotry that is woven into the very fabric of white America.
posted by anem0ne at 9:12 AM on August 6 [23 favorites]


A possible name for the author is appearing on Twitter, along with a history of near-Shkrelian “world champion of easy mode” lack of self-awareness.
posted by scruss at 9:13 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


XtinaS: the topic of trans-ness of any kind is not mentioned anywhere else in the document. I think that was a genuine attempt to argue that male/female behaviour differences are not just hormonal - genetic + environmental influences are also involved. Dropped in there in that bald fashion it’s of a piece with the rest of the document though - the argument being made is unclear.
posted by pharm at 9:13 AM on August 6


If expressing an opinion gets defined as bad.... how is a conversation ever going to occur? Conversations are error correction mechanisms

Conversations are also self-correcting processes. As are basically all processes; feedback is a key part of any kind of change and growth.

You do a thing. Your environment reacts to the thing you did; other people around you react to the thing you did. You receive feedback, you incorporate it, and you do the thing differently the next time. Repeat.

Sometimes the feedback is mild; sometimes it's strong. Depends on what you did. Cleaned the bathroom and missed a spot? Feedback might be "hey, try and be more thorough on the counters." Cleaned the bathroom and
mixed bleach and ammonia? Feedback is deadly gas; hopefully nobody was permanently injured or killed.

So, conversation is a process of expressing ideas and opinions. It produces feedback; that's arguably, for conversation, more purely the point than for most processes. And sometimes conversational feedback is mild; a gentle nudge or disagreement, a counter-argument, a complaint that part of the point you're making seems poorly founded or that there's some inadvertent dismissiveness or hostility or cruelty in how you phrased something.

And sometimes the feedback to conversation is strong. Sometimes it's understandably hostile. Sometimes you do something as stupid as mixing up some deadly gas, and instead of a nudge or a patient explanation you get told that shit you just said was bad. Sometimes you get told that you fucked up the process of communicating your ideas so badly that the people responsible for accommodating your ability to converse with and around the rest of the people they're responsible for aren't gonna let you keep trying.

This shouldn't be remarkable and shouldn't be something presumed to not apply to communications when it very much applies to just about every other process, every other thing that people do and sometimes do very badly. Conversation is self-correcting, and like every self-correcting process part of that mechanism is to shut down the stuff going so wrong that it's a danger to the process functioning at all.
posted by cortex at 9:16 AM on August 6 [56 favorites]


In other words, people should be shamed and shut up for thinking bigoted thoughts. They should fear being outed, and they should be forced into closets where it festers and rots their souls until it breaks them. They should always be looking over their fucking shoulder, worried about getting fired like any Queer person does in the following 28 states:
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Carolina, North
  • Carolina, South
  • Dakota, North
  • Dakota, South
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Virginia, West
  • Wyoming
Their ideas should not succeed in their vaunted marketplace of ideas. They should suffer every consequence from the rest of the marketplace, not be insulated against it by people defending them. If you want to defend them, you're buying their product. You're voting with your wallet, so to speak, supporting their bigotry.
posted by anem0ne at 9:17 AM on August 6 [30 favorites]


anem0ne: I can see how you reached your conclusions about anti-vax, climate change, and all the other things... but I disagree with you. It is my opinion that the cause of non-fact based waves of opinion flowing around the internet is a symptom, not a cause...

If government and our institutions hadn't been been so corrupted (by capitalism) as to be un-trustworthy over the past century, a lot of this wouldn't have happened.

We need governance that is willing to admit past mistakes, route out corruption, and try to make things better for everyone. Neither political party is up to the task.
posted by MikeWarot at 9:20 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Imagine if he wrote a screed saying Google has a problem with drugs because women have a well documented history of abuse of antidepressants, people of other races smoke crack and opium, while men have a healthy pot habit with occasional cocaine to improve performance.

He wouldn't be accusing anyone at Google directly of drug use. He's just bringing up important points that he feels need to be discussed.
posted by Talez at 9:21 AM on August 6 [13 favorites]


We need governance that is willing to admit past mistakes, route out corruption, and try to make things better for everyone. Neither political party is up to the task.

Which is why.
You fire.
The asshole.
Who published.
The sexist manifesto.

That is, by definition, rooting out corruption and making things better for everyone.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:22 AM on August 6 [47 favorites]


I would like to see Google categorically challenge every assertion in that manifesto, reaffirm that while they promote discourse, they do not condone assertions that oppose Google HR policies or directly or indirectly harm other people.

And from that, announce the firing.

The confirmation is as important, maybe more important than the firing.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:30 AM on August 6 [5 favorites]


Who get to define what is "better for everyone," though? Because if you asked the guy who published this thing, he almost certainly published it to make things "better for everyone." He and others like him get jobs they're better suited to, more easily! Women get to do - other things, whatever those are, and may not make as much money, but they're not always around! Yay! We can stop having those tedious, pesky, inclusive conversations and drop the word "intersectionality" from our lexicon, because it's no longer needed, right?

Except that it's not better for any woman working in tech, who now gets to prepare even harder and second-guess her words even more, and check her work for the umpteenth time, because if she fails, it isn't because she's human or made a mistake or because she received bad data - it's because she's a woman and women don't belong in tech.

And, if she's spending all of her time focusing on that, well, she isn't going to have a lot energy left over to ask why she doesn't make as much money as the guys on her team do, even the new ones; or hasn't gotten to lead a project, when every other person - all men - on her team have led them, and now they're starting over again with the first guy; or why all of the resumes she's gotten to review are from white guys. She's going to focus on surviving.

Which clearly benefits men like the author, even if the document was just "a thought experiment" or an "attempt to start dialogue."
posted by dancing_angel at 9:33 AM on August 6 [19 favorites]


anem0ne: I can see how you reached your conclusions about anti-vax, climate change, and all the other things... but I disagree with you. It is my opinion that the cause of non-fact based waves of opinion flowing around the internet is a symptom, not a cause...

The conversion prisons are the symptom, and they are private, not state-funded. They are very much a result of people normalizing and perpetuating toxic, bigoted ideas like the notion you can pray the gay away.

I get that you want to stand for free speech. That's admirable. You do not, however, seem to want to stand for consequences for said free speech.

If government and our institutions hadn't been been so corrupted (by capitalism) as to be un-trustworthy over the past century, a lot of this wouldn't have happened.

Which is why you fucking burn the toxicity out root and branch. You fire the fucker. You strip them of influence and you shame them. It's why you denazify the government. It's why you denazify the organizations. Otherwise, you end up losing the fucking Reconstruction, you help create the next ISIS, you entrench the bigotry into tech.

It's nice to kvetch about how the government and institutions have been so corrupted, but if you're going to just pretend it's only about class and not about sex and race, then at best you're seeing a fucking shadow on the cave wall.

We need governance that is willing to admit past mistakes, route out corruption, and try to make things better for everyone. Neither political party is up to the task.

Who the fuck was talking about political parties?
posted by anem0ne at 9:37 AM on August 6 [13 favorites]


Who get to define what is "better for everyone," though?

Handily, we have existing laws on the books that prohibit discrimination and harassment toward several protected classes, of which two are applicable in this scenario.

In a larger sense, Google gets to define what is better for everyone. If they think that being diverse and inclusive is better for everyone, then they can fire the guy tout-suite in order to preserve their goals of an inclusive workplace environment.

In an even larger sense, we get to define what is better for everyone, by choosing to consume Google's products (or not) and by supporting the laws and legislators that promote our desired goals.

And in the largest sense, the Constitution has already laid the groundwork for what is better for everyone, and our government is supposed to be continually checking itself against those stated principles in order to make sure we're meeting that standard. (Whether or not it's actually doing that is for the other thread.)
posted by Autumnheart at 9:39 AM on August 6 [5 favorites]


In other words, the idea of "checks and balances" exists outside of our legal system, and it's high time we remembered that it doesn't just have to be about balance, it also has to be about checks. Checking prejudice and discrimination where it occurs is a social positive and we should absolutely be doing that, and we don't need lawyers and due process to provide social direction. People have a right to their opinions, but nobody has a right to a soapbox.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:45 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


NB The guy’s name is all over Twitter / the blogosphere at this point, so I guess his much vaunted privilege (see above) didn’t get him that far.
posted by pharm at 9:52 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


Oh the Presumption of Anonymity is only the start of privilege. We've long since moved on to Benefit of the Doubt here in this discussion. Still to see if he gets Freedom From Consequences.
posted by Nelson at 10:00 AM on August 6 [19 favorites]


He's being civil.

sealion.jpg

If expressing an opinion gets defined as bad.... how is a conversation ever going to occur?

The conversation "Hey, should our company keep hiring unqualified people such as women?" is not one worth having. Some opinions are bad, should not be expressed, and their expression is a mark of low character.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:03 AM on August 6 [63 favorites]



This article from The Atlantic has some good commentary on the situation and its representation of tech as an industry. It also includes this gem:

Women used to avoid computer science because they didn’t know what it is. Now they avoid it because they know exactly what it is.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:06 AM on August 6 [25 favorites]


The first link calls it an "anti-diversity manifesto," and the second link calls it an "anti-diversity screed." It is neither. He criticizes attempts to achieve diversity through discrimination, but he proposes numerous other ideas to increase diversity.
posted by John Cohen at 10:07 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


Ooh somebody saw the batsignal
posted by ominous_paws at 10:08 AM on August 6 [31 favorites]


but he proposes numerous other ideas to increase diversity.

Is it really diversity if the diverse element is the sport these driven white men partake in on weekends.
posted by Talez at 10:12 AM on August 6 [7 favorites]


So, for the few people who claim that this manifesto should be met with open debate and discussion, I would like to offer a counter-hypothetical. It was not that long ago that the suitability of black athletes to play quarterback was a topic of live discussion. And we're not talking about 1968 here. In my recollection, this is more like 1988. There was talk of whether or not black players possessed the "football sense" and "leadership" and sometimes, yes, just straight-up "intelligence" to be quarterback. There was also all kinds of sympathetic tut-tutting about "well we would hire a black quarterback but the player pipeline just isn't there."

Now, let's say that someone working in an NFL office or maybe a Div I NCAA university posted on their internal mailing lists and Slack channels a manifesto reviving those old arguments about the suitability of black QBs today. Would the correct response be to engage the author in conversation or debate? If so, what form would that debate take?
posted by mhum at 10:12 AM on August 6 [40 favorites]


No, he criticizes attempts to achieve diversity by insinuating that not hiring white men is a detriment to the company, because of course white men are the smartest, most qualified candidates, and if you don't hire white men, you're not hiring the smartest, most qualified candidates.

It's not discrimination to not hire a white dude when there's a qualified person who doesn't match that description. Why, because white dudes are not automatically entitled to priority consideration. That's the whole point.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:14 AM on August 6 [33 favorites]


If so, what form would that debate take?

"This is why Trump won".
posted by Talez at 10:14 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


he proposes numerous other ideas to increase diversity.

Yes, hire more conservative white men was a real game changer.
posted by chris24 at 10:15 AM on August 6 [46 favorites]


And here's another concept that might come as a surprise to some people, one's qualifications for performing the actual job duties are not the only things that matter as a job candidate. You might be the best coder, but companies don't need just the best coder. They need coders who are capable of doing the job and who bring other valuable characteristics to the table, like a variety of interests, backgrounds, educations and upbringings.

Why is this especially critical in a tech company? Because those are your customers. And the people who understand your customers best are the ones who are just like them. Do you want to sell to 60 million white dudes, or do you want to sell to 300 million Americans, or better yet, 7.5 billion everyones? Well, then you need to know what kind of things those people would like to buy and use. You get that information by HIRING those people and having them contribute to the development of your products.

It's a very simple concept.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:20 AM on August 6 [44 favorites]


I really wish I had the sweet faith in human nature that would allow me to believe that a Trump voter would totally have voted for Hillary if only he had felt more comfortable expressing his hateful opinions around everybody else and thus felt less oppressed. No. If you voted for Trump, at the very best you already considered the importance of basic rights for women, minorities, and other marginalized groups to be of limited and contingent importance. More likely, you didn't give a damn about them at all, especially if caring about them might interfere with your own looting of the system.

Let me put it this way: we've had millennia now of men saying shitty things about women, along every single possible axis. Women making even the mildest, gentlest, most status-quo-supporting of objections in the past have suffered every imaginable consequence and then some. When, exactly, is this coddling of male hatefulness supposed to result in justice?
posted by praemunire at 10:25 AM on August 6 [66 favorites]


Ooh somebody saw the batsignal

But MRAs don't exist here!

/s
posted by zombieflanders at 10:36 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


but he proposes numerous other ideas to increase diversity

I think that telling Google to let misogynists, racists, and other bigots have free reign to use their immense social and cultural capital to punch down is the opposite of "increasing diversity," but then again maybe that's just my emphasis on that horrible, horrible empathy.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:42 AM on August 6 [21 favorites]


Can we please crush this myth of the irreplaceable genius dude who (because of his giant brain ofc) is incapable of emotional intelligence? 1) Brains and talent doesn't give you a pass to be a jerk. 2) This guy is an adult and gets to face adult consequences like the rest of us. 3) He swallowed moron talking-points hook, line, and sinker, so he's hardly a brilliant critical thinker.
posted by Stonkle at 10:45 AM on August 6 [50 favorites]


mhum: Yes, but I guess the question is why? Why didn't the author use the term? Also, does Google even have an affirmative action program? If so, what form does it take? If not, what kind of "discrimination" (mentioned almost 20 times) is the author railing against?

I don't know, ask him! Why do we choose to use or not use any particular term? Dislike of the term? Fear of triggering? Didn't occur to him? Even if Google doesn't have a formal affirmative action program, that doesn't mean they don't practice affirmative action in their hiring. I'm pretty sure it's the kind of discrimination the author it talking about -- the kind that considers hiring women instead of hiring men, in particular.
posted by lhauser at 10:48 AM on August 6


There really needs to be a term for the weaselly, pseudoscientific language that dudes like this use to justify misogyny. For how "logical" these dudes claim to be, they're pretty shit at not contradicting themselves every 10 seconds (e.g. "I don't endorse sexist stereotypes" immediately followed by discussion of "differences in distributions of traits"). These dumbfucks will believe anything that confirms their biases, as long as it's on a x/y graph.
posted by speicus at 10:50 AM on August 6 [14 favorites]


Antigynology?
posted by Autumnheart at 10:52 AM on August 6


"Biotruths"/ "biotrooofs" (depending on your level of acceptance vs mockery) is the one I keep seeing.
posted by sukeban at 10:54 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


phenylphenol
This, for example, does not sound like hate:
I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. (...) Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance (...)
The author states the following, and I think he should be taken at face value:
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.
He's being civil.

He is literally endorsing using stereotypes. In my experience, some of the most bigoted people are completely blind to their bigotry. No doubt the author does not perceive himself as sexist or arrogant or part of the problem. He believes his cherry-picked citations justify his bigoted views. That does not make his views any less discriminatory and bigoted. People have always used their ability to be articulate and the framework of civility to justify the most appalling statements. In pop-culture terms: The oppression is coming from inside the house.

I'm in the middle of one reading project, but maybe next should be Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil. This is exactly how racism, sexism, and all the other bigotries fuck up the world.
posted by theora55 at 10:56 AM on August 6 [24 favorites]


This, for example, does not sound like hate:
I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. (...) Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance (...)

"I'm not a racist, but..."
posted by chris24 at 11:15 AM on August 6 [28 favorites]


This manifesto is the single most toxic piece of writing I've read in a while. It reminds me of something my incredibly sexist mom would say, if she wasn't drugged out on painkillers (hard lives are real. Women, from my experience, have a harder life than men, and IMHO should be respected for coping with it better than this asshat coped with being white and male).

This document is so self contradictory that I'm shocked anyone here on mefi is arguing for it to be taken seriously. I want to laugh at but it's implications and the effects of sharing it are so serious, it's just not funny at all.

I have divested mostly of Google products because the link between Google and the NSA. If this asshat isn't fired by Wednesday, I'm going to make it my new goal to figure out how to wipe Android off my phone and move to using jolla's opensource OS, and actively work on moving my business emails off of the one Google account I have left. Because seriously, this is unbelievable two faced bull shit that this person hasn't been walked off campus and publicly denounced and if a company is going to keep people like this, the chances are that their products are not as unbelievable and revolutionary as they claim.

Thank you to all the brave women here who are arguing against this manifesto. I have so much respect for all of you for having the character strength to both cope with bullshit like this on a daily basis and to have the strength to speak out against it when it's in your periphery. The world is a better place for your efforts, in spite of people like the asshat being discussed and the people arguing that his sham manifesto should be debated with anything resembling fair debate.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 11:18 AM on August 6 [26 favorites]


I bet dollars to donuts that this guy went to a fancy university.
posted by rhizome at 11:23 AM on August 6 [5 favorites]



This, for example, does not sound like hate:
I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. (...) Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance (...)


These are not magic words of truth that somehow cancel out evidence that they really don't and are either lying, lying to themselves because of ignorance or have a pretty messed up and bigoted idea of what 'valuing' these things mean.
posted by Jalliah at 11:25 AM on August 6 [19 favorites]


Coming from a primarily female dominated discipline myself (nursing) I am cracking up at this dude and his gender essentialism and stupid-ass evo-psych assumptions. Women don't naturally crave status or high pressure jobs or leadership positions? Bitch, we just had a patient respiratory arrest and two of the three doctors and every nurse involved in the resuscitation was a woman. You want leadership, status and pressure? Watch a senior doctor run a code, and nurses provide life-saving care to someone who would not have lived through tonight without us. I use my ability to critically think, rapidly respond, my technical and clinical skills, and my scientific knowledge of the human body to save actual lives and so does every other nurse. Women are more oriented to people and not things? I guess esoterica such as interpreting an ecg, inserting an IV cannula, titrating and monitoring the effects of multiple medications, understanding blood gas results, and shoving tubes down peoples throats doesn't count eh? Oh yeah, and btw, 9 out of 10 nurses are women. Get fucking real brah.
posted by supercrayon at 11:29 AM on August 6 [84 favorites]


There's a part of the way that this author is centering the conversation of "psychological safety" on himself that reminds me of Sarah Sharp's observations when she quit the linux kernel community after getting tired of being harassed by colleagues due to her gender:
What that means is they are privileging the emotional needs of other Linux kernel developers (to release their frustrations on others, to be blunt, rude, or curse to blow off steam) over my own emotional needs (the need to be respected as a person, to not receive verbal or emotional abuse). There’s an awful power dynamic there that favors the established maintainer over basic human decency.
Even if we are to take a strongman approach to this manifesto, that what the author "really" means is that they do not feel safe in expressing their opinions because their conservative biases put them at odds with this perceived progressive echo chamber, what they're still essentially asking for is to have their emotional security privileged over the security of their colleagues. He fails to recognize that his insecurity is stemming from this anxiety around competing with people that he believes to be illegitimate competitors. And his recommendation for others to accommodate his insecurity is to literally entertain the notion that some people are biologically incapable of doing the author's job simply by dint of their gender.
posted by bl1nk at 11:30 AM on August 6 [42 favorites]


What you are describing is pretty much precisely what MLK referred to as "negative peace" (the absence of tension). It stands in stark opposition to "positive peace" (the presence of justice).

While you are entirely correct, 2017 has reminded me those are not the only options. If my choices are negative peace or active, open, bigotry, I will take the former every time. I would give anything to go back to 2015 or so, when people didn't openly say racial slurs in public and paint swastikas in Jewish cemeteries.
posted by corb at 11:31 AM on August 6 [9 favorites]


Addendum: this manifesto does have a single academic use - in courses that talk about race or gender in society, it can be used as a printer example of dogwhistling.

I am excited to see this person's name published after he's fired. Who else is with me on a #divestoftheOoggleGod if we don't see a public firing statement by Wednesday?
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 11:33 AM on August 6 [9 favorites]


I bet dollars to donuts that this guy went to a fancy university.

I'd bet a dozen of either that he went to his second choice school and A) has never admitted that to anyone in his life and 2) is absolutely certain that he missed his first choice because of affirmative action (regardless of whether that school had any such program).
posted by Etrigan at 11:33 AM on August 6 [31 favorites]


Who get to define what is "better for everyone," though?

me, from now on it's me.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:45 AM on August 6 [45 favorites]


Looks like I missed a typo in the above and am outside the edit window. Printer was supposed to be prime.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 11:47 AM on August 6


He believes his cherry-picked citations justify his bigoted views.

Yes, thank you.

While some bigots do straight-up admit their bigotry, the majority believe that they aren't bigoted, because they believe that what they're saying is the truth. People in the goddamn KKK will say that they're not bigots. It's ridiculous that to expect us to take "I'm not a bigot" at face value.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:52 AM on August 6 [25 favorites]


I'd bet a dozen of either that he went to his second choice school

Given that the scuttlebut is that he has a PhD from Harvard in Systems Biology, this seems unlikely. The scuttlebut could of course be wrong.
posted by pharm at 11:52 AM on August 6


"This doesn't sound like hate." Not really, no. Hate implies emotion and this guy seems to think that emotion and sensitivity have no place in what should be purely rational, reasoned business management. Reminds me of some bosses I've had who'd sell their own mothers to the Huns if that raised a particular business metric by two percent. What that misses -- willfully -- is that something doesn't have to be hateful to be harmful.
posted by delfin at 11:59 AM on August 6 [9 favorites]


In the name of "open discussion," I'd like someone, ideally an HR rep from Google, to ask him:

If all this "diversity training" and focus on race and gender as under-represented groups is causing harm to Google's productivity - does he think that there are too many unqualified non-white/non-male people in some departments at Google now, and if so, which ones?

OR, if he thinks that there are no unqualified people here now but the diversity focus would result in unqualified (or, let's be fair, "less qualified than a white dude") employees in the future, what evidence does he have that Google has achieved Peak Biological Diversity and should now focus on "diversity of ideas?"

The whole claim of "I believe in reason and logic" falls apart when you try to analyze what he's saying as suggested business changes instead of "I am unhappy that nobody thinks my ideas are automatically best because I am a white dude."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:00 PM on August 6 [9 favorites]


While you are entirely correct, 2017 has reminded me those are not the only options. If my choices are negative peace or active, open, bigotry, I will take the former every time.

The only thing you gain with the negative peace is that you don't have to listen to people actively being bigots -- for now. However, they don't stop being bigots, and in fact they simply get worse while nobody who isn't a bigot is watching.

To be really clear, I'm not saying I want to hear bigots. I am saying, we cannot afford to say that for the sake of "peace" we should just pretend like politics doesn't exist, and stigmatize political discussion in public. When that kind of "peace" is put in place, all that happens is that people speaking out against bigotry get shouted down and told that talking about politics in public just isn't the done thing. Meanwhile, the bigots keep talking in private, growing their strength, and working towards taking enough control to enact their awful agenda.

"Let's just talk about something nice instead" is basically ceding society to the bigots.
posted by tocts at 12:26 PM on August 6 [16 favorites]


The CEO where I work just clarified that a memo like this being distributed in our company would not be tolerated and would be "over the line". So that felt good.

I'm not saying where I work because I want to keep my job.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:28 PM on August 6 [21 favorites]


Passing over the apocalyptic shitshow of unaware misogyny in this thread, I just keep thinking how much I would love to divest myself of Google everything, and how I simply...can't.

And then I think about anti-trust enforcement.

And then I move it up the list of shit I want to agitate about.

One person, but possibly, eventually, maybe one of many.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:28 PM on August 6 [19 favorites]


I am stunned that we are even having a conversation about whether or not this guy should be fired. Of course he should! If I wrote and distributed a ten page document to my work colleagues about how I disliked the cafeteria furniture, I'd be fired because it's unprofessional and, well, bonkers. What he wrote was offensive and unscientific bullshit. You don't get to present your (vile) opinions as facts (at work!) just because you're a man. Gross. And I know this sounds extreme but if I worked with this guy I'd fear for my safety. The thought processes involved in creating and distributing this to colleagues strike me as unhinged.
posted by emd3737 at 12:34 PM on August 6 [32 favorites]


Passing over the apocalyptic shitshow of unaware misogyny in this thread,

(scans thread) You’re going to have to unpack that, because "apocalyptic shitshow" seems a little disconnected from the text above. Occasionally clueless maybe.
posted by pharm at 12:35 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


Oh, but you just provided such a perfect example.

Just exactly what you did right there. That's the apocalyptic shitshow.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:39 PM on August 6 [40 favorites]


A problem for Google is their hiring practices being advertised as collecting "the best of the best," avoiding false positives, and accepting the risk of passing up false negatives. That means this guy is a true positive within Google HR.
posted by rhizome at 12:42 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


And I know this sounds extreme but if I worked with this guy I'd fear for my safety.

It's not really that extreme to be concerned about your safety in the company of people who don't consider you a full human being worthy of the same rights and respect as they themselves are.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:45 PM on August 6 [45 favorites]


I think the what the author is asking for is to dissolve dominant social groups, which on the face is a good thing, but then he fucks it all up by showing his privileged ass and persecution complex. Also, we aren't starting from a place of equality and the author shows absolute cluelessness in that regard by his inability to recognize this.

So, I agree with about 1% of his conclusion and I am horrified by the 99% of the clueless, inane and overprivileged nonsense he's using as bad evidence to support a potentially not-shitty idea; that we should seek to foster workplaces where no one group's ideology rules over everyone else's. What he completely fails to understand, however, is that his group's ideology is still MEGA dominant and ruling supreme.

In conclusion, this dude is a total asshole. I want names and I want to see him go through and graduate from some kind of implicit bias training before he's allowed to work around women and minorities at a "senior" level again.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:48 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


I will go ahead and unpack.

1. The implication that the people who agree with the writer, or who don't think he wrote anything particularly bad and even if he did, shouldn't be fired for it, are perfectly reasonable people who are only mildly off the track--instead of being severely off the track and missing something the size of a billboard.

2. The assertion that it's the job of the other posters to justify their view to the perfectly reasonable argument which you are presenting as the level-set of the topic. I pointed out this tendency farther up-thread where someone acts like they're interpreting reality correctly and everyone else needs to provide sufficient evidence otherwise, instead of noticing that your view is in the significant minority and wondering to yourself what you're missing.

3. When someone points that out to you, the attempt to twist the blame for them not being nice enough to you. As if not treating your argument as though it has merit is worse than your argument not having merit, and therefore they are wrong instead of you.

Optional:
4. The part where someone treats all this as unavoidable, unchangeable, and insurmountable--directly in the face of an obvious, simple, easily actionable solution that does, in fact, create significant and obvious change. In this instance, making excuses about why it's somehow bad and wrong to fire this guy when there are literally no barriers to doing so, and every reason to do so. Acting like even the desire to fire this guy is somehow an overreaction and an injustice to someone's personal autonomy, never mind the fact that his actions, specifically, do precisely that very thing to literally thousands of people in a very real and concrete way.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:52 PM on August 6 [30 favorites]


"apocalyptic shitshow" seems a little disconnected from the text above

I don't think I'm alone at despairing that people still think misogyny is debatable, that opinions about women's innate inferiority are valid topics for rational debate in the interest of hearing both sides. It's like the previous thread about pro-life democrats, where I learned that for some people, a women basic bodily autonomy was no longer seen aa a given. Yes, these are prevalent opinions in much of society, but it hurts to see them here.

So yeah, I can understand the hyperbole.
posted by bibliowench at 12:58 PM on August 6 [52 favorites]


And I know this sounds extreme but if I worked with this guy I'd fear for my safety.

This isn't extreme, it's 100% reasonable. Just on this website, women have been harassed by misogynists publicly, in private, and even off-site. In one particularly infamous case, a female user simply stated that she would feel unsafe going to a hypothetical IRL event where misogynists would be attending; not only was she viciously attacked by several other users (including other women) for saying that, but one guy who had previously stated he opposed harassment ended up harassing her and several others on social media.

It's kind of like a corollary to Atwood's famous quote, but in this case, men are afraid of being told they should be feared by women, while women are afraid of saying they fear (certain) men.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:59 PM on August 6 [21 favorites]


I've been a fan of Sleater Kinney's music for a long time, but recently started paying closer attention to their lyrics. This was the one I "heard" for the first time, this morning:

You don't own the situation, honey
You don't own the stage
We're here to join the conversation
And we're here to raise the stakes

Male Model, about being women in punk, but also more. It's a good soundtrack for this thread.
posted by Gorgik at 1:10 PM on August 6 [8 favorites]


I do a lot of hiring and the number one trait I look for is people who will play nice in the sandbox together. You can learn a lot of job skills (and I don't mind teaching them!) but empathy - or even that people who are not you also deserve respect, is too basic a skill for me to waste my time on. I do expect people to be critical thinkers, have strong opinions, but then also be willing to change their mind in the face of irrefutable evidence. Which obviously this guy is blind to, thanks to his Jordan Peterson worship. This mental flexibility is something google claims to also look for in their hiring practices. That anyone would believe he shouldn't have been frog-marched out of the office as soon as he shared his document baffles me, as does the fact that he is apparently still employed by google. All I can assume is that both sides are lawyering up for a nasty fight and google just wants to make sure to limit their liability with an air-tight signed non-disclosure.

Also, for his bell curve, "women are biologically wired like that" whine; he doesn't even understand the studies he is trying to cite.
posted by saucysault at 1:12 PM on August 6 [10 favorites]


I'm a forty-one year old woman. I don't work in tech, (though I have at times, worked on projects that were , for lack of a better word, tech-adjacent). But the shittiest part of an article, what makes it truly vile and awful, is that I've heard it all before. I've heard it cited to my face--sometimes from people I've liked or respected or even cared about-- throughout my life and, at times, with such regularity it's almost impossible not to internalize it, not to second-guess myself, not to just accept that, at best, I will constantly be forced to prove myself worthy to assholes who take anything less than their version of perfect as vindication of their vile position.

I cannot say this any more strongly:

Fuck this guy.
posted by thivaia at 1:15 PM on August 6 [69 favorites]


So I've seen enough evidence to satisfy myself that the name floating around is the correct one. If his name isn't in the papers tomorrow, it'll be yet another kick in the teeth for every minority that the news publishing industry has named and shamed.
posted by Yowser at 1:44 PM on August 6 [11 favorites]


His name is out there now. I wonder if he will write about whatever happens next and his experiences with public opinion.
posted by geeklizzard at 1:56 PM on August 6


I found a good response from an Ex-Googler that explains the implications and what he'd do as a manager. Short version, he is not going to be working there for much longer.

Also linked in that article is a nice explainer on how "tolerance" works - its less "I have to put up with you doing whatever you want" and more of a peace treaty. When one side breaks the treaty by, for example, saying your civil rights should be taken away, you don't have to be "tolerant" you get up and fight back.

My only issue with firing him is that I feel like people like this won't think that getting fired means there is something wrong with them. It's PC run amok or something. Their toxic attitudes just end up at their next place of employment. How to actually get them to open their eyes and see through the racist, MRA BS, I don't know.
posted by SirOmega at 1:57 PM on August 6 [12 favorites]


I just read the whole pile of shit. I am rather impressed by the level of mental acrobatics required to achieve that level of cognitive dissonance - like Olympics class skill there, buddy! But I wanted to point out that his suggestions for "improving" diversity without hurting the poor white guy are to either make tech more womanly or help the poor white guy to counter the idea that this was somehow not "anti-diversity". It's just a cover, because he doesn't actually believe that women can hack it in these positions. Haven't seen confirmation on this yet, but the guy has supposedly reached out to at least one person and said that women need accommodations to do the jobs.

His suggestions:
"We can make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration."
"Allowing and truly endorsing (as part of our culture) part time work though can keep more women in tech."
"If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles."

As usual, the real victims have been forgotten. It is particularly notable that the measures designed to correct for the implicit biases that he dismisses (review of applicants, support programs, etc...) are singled out for elimination or change because he's not allowed to participate. I thought I'd be preaching to the choir here, but apparently not. Just because it corrects for your unfair privilege (and doesn't even eliminate it!) doesn't make you the real victim. Somebody get this snowflake a safe space pronto!
posted by cui bono at 2:00 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


> My only issue with firing him is that I feel like people like this won't think that getting fired means there is something wrong with them. It's PC run amok or something.

They were going to think that either way. Handing them a victory would be far worse.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:01 PM on August 6 [14 favorites]


The evangelical conservative firing someone for not living up to his religious beliefs is acting simply because he CAN.

Google firing this guy for not living up to their corporate standards for behavior, attitude and interaction with other employees would be acting because they SHOULD.
posted by delfin at 2:11 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


How to actually get them to open their eyes and see through the racist, MRA BS, I don't know.

The thing to keep in mind about that is that pressure works. The right kind varies by situation, (soft pressure, violent overthrow, etc.), but in the course of human history, exactly zero people have ever advanced their position in society by letting stuff go. Women's suffrage? Pressure. End of slavery? War. Hell, looking at the other side: the Tea Party got where they are today by exerting pressure.

Broadly, the best strategy is always to be on the offense about this shit.

"apocalyptic shitshow" seems a little disconnected from the text above

The attitude in the document is precisely the sort of garbage that led people to vote for a certain demagogue who loves 'nuclear' instead of, worst case, just staying home. In 2017, I would argue that misogyny has reached the level of apocalyptic shitshow in our culture in a *literal* rather than hyperbolic sense.
posted by mordax at 2:21 PM on August 6 [14 favorites]


[Couple comments removed, let's not link to a predictably gross attention-monger just to give attention to him being predictably gross.]
posted by cortex at 2:24 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


Just for clarity: I meant in the comments here, not in the source document mordax. AH has (I think) taken the same view in our replies to each other, although we obviously disagree.
posted by pharm at 2:25 PM on August 6


"Passing over the apocalyptic shitshow of unaware misogyny in this thread"

I read the entire document and every comment in this thread because I wanted to get a feel for how the commenters were reacting, and it was pretty varied. There are 27 relevant personal anecdotes or links to contradicting research studies, 23 posts discussing the particulars of Google's culture, 38 explicit calls to fire the original poster, 9 posts that defend the free speech rights of the original poster, and only 4 posts attempting to defend any part of the original document. Unless a lot of misogyny was removed by mods (totally possible) I don't feel that that calling this thread an unaware shitshow is fair. I feel like MetaFilter is generally quite measured when it comes to this kind of thread, compared to pretty much anywhere else on the internet.
posted by JZig at 3:05 PM on August 6 [9 favorites]


Is google cleaning up the manifesto author's google hits? A couple hours ago there were significantly different results when I googled his name. Now he has been basically scrubbed and only unrelated people with his name are appearing. Is this just me?

Edit: lol that was me. Us Canadians add that extra "u" everywhere.
posted by saucysault at 3:24 PM on August 6


9 posts that defend the free speech rights of the original poster

nobody was defending his free speech rights. They were defending his non-existent right to share this stupid crap in a professional context and *not face consequences*, which is bullshit.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:26 PM on August 6 [18 favorites]


And that argument, that "but why should he get in TROUBLE for being a clueless hopeless uninformed dipshit??? Why does it MATTER that people are debating whether maybe women aren't in tech because vaginas are bad at programming????" is the unaware shitshow being talked about.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:28 PM on August 6 [21 favorites]


I think this guy's views are wrong and reflect a lack of knowledge of reality. I don't think he should be fired. It seems weird to fire someone for that, but I'm not sure why he had a platform to internally distribute his offensive views. I'm very cautious of what I circulate by internal email.

The hope Google does address how their internal communications work and especially, hire women and people of color. Hire, hire, hire, promote, promote, promote, and let the conservative white guys become outnumbered, as would reflect the demographics of the Bay Area and the world
posted by latkes at 3:29 PM on August 6


I've been too angry reading most of this thread to do anything but vote as hard as I can with my favorites

that people are supporting this dipshit in any form surprised me way more than it probably should've

thanks to everyone speaking up against it
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 3:32 PM on August 6 [33 favorites]


"I don't think he should be fired. It seems weird to fire someone for that"

But ... who on earth would you assign him to work with?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:35 PM on August 6 [45 favorites]


I'm not sure why he had a platform to internally distribute his offensive views.

Because adults who work at google are given many ways to communicate publicly with each other on whatever topic they choose, many of which are not about day to day work. The problem here is not the option to share his viewpoint - it's that his viewpoint is stupid, and that he is so stupid that he didn't even realize this. So he should be fired for being a fucking clown with severely underdeveloped judgment skills.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:35 PM on August 6 [16 favorites]


But ... who on earth would you assign him to work with?

Chad. He and Chad would get along okay.
posted by biogeo at 3:38 PM on August 6 [13 favorites]


I think this guy's views are wrong and reflect a lack of knowledge of reality. I don't think he should be fired. It seems weird to fire someone for that

I honestly don't get this view. Even if you somehow excuse the sexism/misogyny as "lack of knowledge of reality", what would constitute a firing offense if --

1) publicly criticizing your company's policies,
2) publicly insulting 1/3 of your fellow employees,
3) causing reputational damage to your employer,
4) confirming the very bias problem the company is currently facing a lawsuit on
5) forcing the company's executives to spend days cleaning up your mess

-- isn't one?
posted by chris24 at 3:42 PM on August 6 [53 favorites]


The least talented abled white male can get a PhD. Going to go on a limb and guess that his parents are rich.
posted by Yowser at 3:43 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


Chad. He and Chad would get along okay.

That suggestion could have potential....
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:48 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


> I honestly don't get this view. Even if you somehow excuse the sexism/misogyny as "lack of knowledge of reality", what would constitute a firing offense if: 1) publicly criticizing your company's policies, 2) publicly insulting 1/3 of your fellow employees, 3) causing repetitional damage to your employer, 4) confirming the very bias problem the company is currently facing a lawsuit on 5) forcing the companies executives to spend days cleaning up your mess... isn't one?

I'm pretty sure some version of these questions have been asked four or five times in response to the "this is awful but I don't think he should be fired" angle, and I have yet to see a credible attempt to answer any of them. The curious thing is that railing against PC echo chambers is highly correlated with people who think employers should be able to fire their employees for any reason, and in particular with opposition to collective bargaining that might give this guy a chance to defend his conduct and maybe save his job. There are a whole lot of people commenting on this debate who somehow believe that this particular firing is unjust, but no other firings can possibly be unjust.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:51 PM on August 6 [28 favorites]


Saucysalt, my results are also a bit hinky like yours. I checked on multiple machines (logged in and not) and on VPN so you are not imagining that the name is being removed. It is unfortunate, however, that I get to see the conservative media eating up this screed and manifesto. The not so subtle implication is that it comes from a Google engineer and therefore a more elevated status as truth. It is interesting that the rhetorical claim to authority is being carried as an engineer in a non-engineering topic.
posted by jadepearl at 3:56 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Unless a lot of misogyny was removed by mods (totally possible) I don't feel that that calling this thread an unaware shitshow is fair.

The mods have been culling this thread regularly, yes.
posted by anem0ne at 4:01 PM on August 6 [5 favorites]


If his name is being scrubbed, that's extremely problematic. If I were a DOJ investigator I would be watching that very carefully, since it very, very strongly implies Google, as a company, is invested heavily in being a misogynistic hellhole of a place to work.
posted by maxwelton at 4:02 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


I actually oversaw a very loosely similar situation when I was on school board, where a teacher "Sue", who was upset that another teacher got a particular assignment Sue had wanted (overseeing some club or something, it was trivial, I don't even recall), offered her opinion on facebook that it was because the other teacher was black and that all the black teachers in the district were less-qualified affirmative action hires but got all the plum jobs because of PC-ism run amok, blah blah blah. This happened near the end of the week. By the time the school board met on Monday, a dozen parents (mostly of black children, but some of white children too) had demanded their children be taken out of her class because she was a bigot. The reading specialist, who was black, was routing all Sue's referrals back to Sue with a note like, "I'm sorry, if you don't think I'm qualified for my job, I don't think you should be referring students to me for help, it just seems irresponsible." Every black teacher in the school refused pair duties with her (like lunch or recess supervision), as did most of the white teachers, standing up for their black colleagues. All of which played out excruciatingly publicly and over social media.

It's a pain in the ass to get rid of a tenured teacher, but literally no principal wanted her in their building, and she was so instantly toxic that none of the teachers would work with her and no parents wanted their child in class with her.

How do you keep this guy employed when he's created such a toxic situation for himself that nobody's going to want to work with him, either because they're furious he's denigrating them directly, or they find his opinions abhorrent and don't want to risk their relationships with other employees at Google by working with him? If women are going to refuse to work with this guy, do you want to be on his team, knowing that plenty of talented employees are simply going to refuse to touch his work, and everything he does will be tainted by his behavior, and he has so comprehensively limited his own ability to work by ruling out working with huge swaths of the company? His projects aren't going to be advocated for by others, managers aren't going to protect and promote him, everyone's going to handle him with tongs that keep him at a distance and keeps his stench off of them.

Once you've poisoned the well for yourself like this, there's not really a way back. You nuked your relationships with a huge quantity of your co-workers, and even those who can tolerate you or maybe even secretly agree with you are mostly going to stay away because nobody wants their career to tank by association with you.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:03 PM on August 6 [63 favorites]


Google is fluctuating between showing me 4-6 pages worth of results (with maybe 30 results per page?)

No idea if that's normal. Anyone want to bing it?
posted by Yowser at 4:05 PM on August 6


Ehhhh I just tried Bing. This brings up another issue, we're all totally dependant on Google.

(Seriously, don't use Bing)
posted by Yowser at 4:09 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


I don't want to dox here, but is it the Harvard guy with initials that match an advanced degree? Because I'm getting sparse results not only on Google but even in Twitter search, where I thought I'd get tons more given the outrage on both sides. It does seem weird to me.
posted by chris24 at 4:12 PM on August 6


The least talented abled white male can get a PhD.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:15 PM on August 6


> Because I'm getting sparse results not only on Google but even in Twitter search, where I thought I'd get tons more given the outrage on both sides. It does seem weird to me.

I was wondering about that. Usually when shit like this goes down, once the name is known, it's known everywhere. I can't even find this on Reddit.

(Also, the embarrassment as I realized I was using Google to search for information about a thing embarrassing to Google...)
posted by XtinaS at 4:16 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


Google search results fluctuating is quite normal. I would never underestimate the lengths a company will go to in order to protect their reputation, but I also wouldn't get too charged up about the results changing, especially with how much his name is being put out there across so many platforms.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:16 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Even if this guy is (likely) transphobic, can we not equate women to vaginas since lots of men have vaginas and lots of women don't (and some of those people work at Google)?
posted by radiopaste at 4:17 PM on August 6 [14 favorites]


tonycpsu, I cannot find the person's name. But then again I do avoid social media, as much as possible.
posted by jadepearl at 4:20 PM on August 6


It looks like the guy's name that's floating around was released by Vox Day, who was ostensibly defending him? I'm not touching that with a ten-foot pole.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:22 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Has the conservative media really picked up this story, and is calling it a good thing? I think I'll need a fact check on that. Even they wouldn't be so cruel as to throw half the population under the bus. (tries not to die laughing)
posted by Yowser at 4:24 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure some version of these questions have been asked four or five times in response to the "this is awful but I don't think he should be fired" angle, and I have yet to see a credible attempt to answer any of them.

Seriously, what does it take? The guy is in the wrong - there is no possible defense for talking about that, let alone so offensively, on a company platform, and there is every reason to take some punitive action (you could perhaps quibble on the nature of that action) due to the situation they're in, the problems it'll make in the workplace, and whatever policies they have in place about company platforms. It's okay for white guys to be wrong and to receive consequences for it.
posted by cui bono at 4:24 PM on August 6 [8 favorites]


Yowser, yes, there is a defense the guy. I don't want to link but it is easy to search for it using your search engine of choice. If you want to read how he is being made a martyr then you can read the Vox Popoli blog or just read the National Review.
posted by jadepearl at 4:34 PM on August 6




"I don't think he should be fired. It seems weird to fire someone for that"

Since you seem to have missed the earlier pays off the thread. Even leaving aside the conpletly counterfactual nature of his views and the revelation of bigotry and misogyny. ..

1. What woman and/or PoC would you assign to work with him in a team? What woman and/or PoC would choose to let him review their code?

2. Any woman and/or PoC who is or has been on a team with him, has had their code reviewed by him, or had him on a hiring or promotion committee, now has grounds for a harassment suit. With documented evidence of a hostile work environment.

3. Google is currently being investigated for discriminatory practices. Thank you guy, for handing the investigators a bonanza of evidence.

4. This is a fucking PR nightmare for Google. I guarentee you people in India and China are reading and discussing this shit, and Google is moving down their places of places to apply for.
posted by happyroach at 4:36 PM on August 6 [15 favorites]


My concern is that Vox Day could have just picked the name of a random Google engineer, because he thinks it's funny to sic the feminists on some unsuspecting guy. (Or he could have picked someone at Google with whom he had a preexisting dispute.) Until there's some independent confirmation that that's the guy, I'm going to assume it might not be.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:36 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


And I read the three-sentence capsule of the National Review article and that was enough. Nope nope nope.
posted by Yowser at 4:37 PM on August 6


Exactly. It's easy enough for innocent people to end up being hate-mobbed out of their own homes when a well-meaning individual makes a mistake and points the finger. When a malignant shitlord like VD does so, the signal to noise ratio becomes effectively homeopathic.
posted by acb at 4:41 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


A woman dev has already turned down Google over this.

This was a no to a pre-interview reach out. A drop of water.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:47 PM on August 6


Adrienne Leigh, who I trust, has confirmed it with Google employees. It was an open document internally, remember. It's him.
posted by Yowser at 4:47 PM on August 6


> * Lights bag, rings doorbell, runs and hides *

Stay hidden.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:49 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Couldn't edit my comment to say "Google employees" instead of "Other Googlers." Sorry, I think my browser is acting up or something. As far as I know, she doesn't work at Google.
posted by Yowser at 4:50 PM on August 6


Of course, there are certainly those personalities who will say that women turning down opportunities to work at Google is a sign that the manifesto is working as intended.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:51 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


To continue on the nightmare aspect of this: I work in higher education in the Bay Area. I know advisors. And this is being talked about a lot.

There has already been a lot of very emotional discussion about whether it is fair and honest to recommend women to work in Bay Area tech, specifically Google. We know women engineers, and know their stories. And the question is, what's the point of encouraging women to do STEM focused education programs, if they're going to be treated like this after graduation?

The current reaction can be summarized by the person who said "At this point, the next time a student asks me about working at Google, I'll say "Fuck no.""

And the same discussion is going on internationally. Internationalstudents ate sensitive to the climate of the places they will be studying and working. We've already seen a 20% drop in international applicants in applicable F1 programs-this is not going to help

The Bay Area tech industry in general, and Google in particular is burning thorough a lot of the goodwill they depend on from various institutions. They will need to do a lot of work to fix this.
posted by happyroach at 4:53 PM on August 6 [28 favorites]


[Deleted religion derail.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:57 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


god all this bullshit that periodically comes out of companies like this makes me want to get hired and then write a 10 pp manifesto about how men are not suited to be managers because they are prone to violence and anger, and they're less likely to make good coders and workers because they prefer evolutionarily prefer bellicosity to problem-solving and their egos are too fragile to handle robust critiques of their work. of course my name would instantly be on reddit and i'd get SWAT teams sent to my house, so.
posted by Ragini at 4:58 PM on August 6 [64 favorites]


I turned down a Google pre-interview reach out, several years ago. I didn't like the inflection of bro-language that was used to communicate with me in their email: it was that much of a turnoff. Of course, I was younger and was dealing with other challenges too. But that's my stuff and doesn't excuse the lack of diversity sensitivity on their part. Yet I don't fault a group or company for it, it was more just a thing that happened and I remember deciding not to write a reply ever since.
posted by polymodus at 5:31 PM on August 6


Someone needs to write a point by point serious takedown of Jordan Peterson. And I mean serious and complete, not just a random blogger repeating social justice talking points that are easily picked apart like any other talking points, but a serious deep academic takedown by someone as articulate as Peterson. Take down all his weird anti-postmodern (re: marxist) shit, his cherry picking of psychological studies. The whole conservative christian apologetic bit.

I'm saying this because, literally, the manifesto is question is basically Peterson's ideas filtered through a technocratic puppet. And it shows how damaging his schtick really is. And Peterson will never own up to the negative influence he has or sketchy justifications he uses unless he is beaten at his own game.
posted by smidgen at 5:42 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


Why? All that does is validate the idea that his manifesto deserves serious consideration and a thoughtful response. It doesn't.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:56 PM on August 6 [6 favorites]


You get free speech when you are acting as a citizen, not when you are acting as an employee.

Whatever happens to him, he will probably be able to talk about it, Google will probably have to respect his privacy and keep quiet.
posted by theora55 at 6:09 PM on August 6



Why? All that does is validate the idea that his manifesto deserves serious consideration and a thoughtful response. It doesn't.


I'm talking about the ideas where the manifesto comes from, not this particular manifesto. However I 'm thinking maybe it does need a response -- it really isn't about what is "deserved", it is about what will be more effective.

I don't think censuring without clear justification will work. This is not really about convincing the author, it's about all the people who read (or in peterson's case, watch) the author, and may be convinced with no contrary points available in a cohesive form (other than the odd argument that it's not worthwhile to make those points).
posted by smidgen at 6:22 PM on August 6


Google doesn't have to respect his privacy. He wrote and distributed that document using company property. They can acknowledge that he wrote it and say that they fired him. He has no more "right to privacy" than he does "freedom of speech". And if he decided to "talk about it", no doubt they could sue him into atoms for disparaging the company, since his manifesto is effectively a criticism of Google company policy.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:25 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


I don't know Peterson's ideas well enough, but if these are warmed over Jordan Peterson, then he's far far worse than I'd imagined (In my mind's eye, he's a smarmy tweed-wearing know it all paternalist pseudo-MRA with a strong anti-trans fetish)

I think the idea that terrible ideas need refutation is infecting the left, due to people like Angela Nagle pushing it.

This really needs to stop. Would you spend a second of time refuting flat earthers?

derail over
posted by Yowser at 6:29 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I was 30% joking that it was all inspired by slate star codex, a site for regressive geek bigots who think they are extremely smart... but it looks like some of the shitdex crowd think it might be SSC inspired as well.

The SSC dude even has a personal message for the author of the manifesto:
And if you're reading this - sorry, huge respect for what you're trying, but it's pretty doomed. The best hope is a Fabian strategy of making sure enough there's enough of an underground of people who know what's up that they can quietly self-sort, form bubbles of liveability, and curb the worst excesses without forming a clear target for anybody. If you actually go riding in on a white horse waving a paper marked "ANTI-DIVERSITY MANIFESTO", you're just providing justification for the next round of purges.
This is not the behavior and outlook of dudes who just want to express some opinions and to engage in some dialogue. Don't fall for it.
posted by fleacircus at 6:29 PM on August 6 [35 favorites]


This really needs to stop. Would you spend a second of time refuting flat earthers?

No, because flat earthers are really a tiny minority, with no political infuence, and their ideas are obviously false.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that, no, the ideas being discussed are *not* obviously false to everyone in the same way that the the earth is flat (otherwise you'd have no issue), and they are coming from a growing contingent with potentially substantial political influence.
posted by smidgen at 6:38 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


Again, I don't care about the dudes who are already writing blog posts -- I care about the dudes reading those blog posts.
posted by smidgen at 6:40 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


There has already been a lot of very emotional discussion about whether it is fair and honest to recommend women to work in Bay Area tech, specifically Google. We know women engineers, and know their stories. And the question is, what's the point of encouraging women to do STEM focused education programs, if they're going to be treated like this after graduation?
My friend is pretty distraught that her 14-year-old daughter is really into coding and the robotics club and says that she plans to go to college to major in computer science. My friend is trying to steer her towards anything else, because she doesn't want her daughter to have to confront all the sexism in the tech industry. It's pretty depressing. The daughter is strong-willed and super smart, and I don't think she's going to be deterred by her mother. I'm also trying to convince my friend that we're really talking about a specific subset of Silicon Valley tech people, not the entire industry. But it's sort of breaking my heart to see how all of this stuff is influencing how people talk to girls about tech careers.

It's part of the reason that I get so frustrated about the whole question of whether the dearth of women in tech is due to the pipeline or to conditions in the industry. These are not two separate issues. The pipeline is affected by people's perceptions of how inclusive the industry is.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:46 PM on August 6 [46 favorites]


I don't think censuring without clear justification will work.

The justification is that he broadcast an unhinged 10 page rant disparaging the competence of his colleagues on the basis of gender and race. If he ran through the office shouting 'CHICKS AND BROWN PEOPLE R DUM' he would be fired immediately. This is no different.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:48 PM on August 6 [29 favorites]


It probably does, sigh, need a serious line-by-line takedown with references and links and a collection of "additional reading" recommendations at the end.

Not because it's got any ideas worthy of consideration, but because, as we've seen here, there are people who are deceived by the faux-reasonable phrasing and don't know how to spot exactly what's wrong with the assertion "women are better at people-oriented activities and men are better at abstract concepts like math," or the claim that politically Left = idealistic while Right = pragmatic.

We have a whole new wave of college students who are coming of age under an administration that tells them their TVs are full of "fake news." That they can't trust the people who managed the nation's money, nuclear power, emergency responses, and education just last year. That removing people's health care will make the country "great." They are being fed bullshit from the highest levels, and they desperately need guidance to learn how to identify it.

So if anyone has the background and spoons to do a detailed analysis of the flaws in the manifesto, that would be useful for the current just-learning-critical-thinking crowd, who aren't going to see past versions as "relevant" because they don't yet know how to apply those abstract principles to this specific situation.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 6:49 PM on August 6 [12 favorites]


My friend is trying to steer her towards anything else, because she doesn't want her daughter to have to confront all the sexism in the tech industry.

Look, I avoided it for years myself and just wound up unhappy in other jobs for a really long time. It's not worth it. There are better places and worse places, but it's the kind of thing where even a much more middling kind of job than Google in somewhere other than SF will provide comfortably. A lot of the alternatives--well, I went through accounting and law both, and all the sexism was there with generally lower salaries and work that made me want to stab myself in the bathroom to get an excuse to go home.

I wouldn't go to work for Google right now because the pressure involved just to deal with this shit? Not worth it. But my dev job at a much lower-pressure company? I can deal with the conservative assholes where I am because I still have free time. There are a lot of dev jobs that aren't Google and aren't SF startups. None of them are perfect, but I made my choice to be here and it's still the happiest I've ever been.
posted by Sequence at 6:54 PM on August 6 [19 favorites]


he should not be fired for expressing himself....He wrote a bunch of words. They did not make sense, they were poorly researched and even worse, badly organized.

If I was running a world-leading organisation I wouldn't want nonsensical, badly organised people who do poor research and have no filter doing anything important, let alone engineering. "We're not firing you because of what you think about women, Fred. It's just that we're all about hiring smart people, and it turns out you're an idiot with poor judgement and no intellectual rigor."

Anyway, I just fucking love this conservative dog whistle approach to public discourse.

'Here's ten pages of clueless, hateful bullshit.'
'Dude, what the fuck?'
'OMG I WAS JUST ASKING A QUESTION'
'No, you said a bunch of shit that's just flat out ignorant and wrong and you did so for your own self interest'
'No I said I'm doing this because I value diversity! And by diversity I mean I should be able to say that you can only do what I say it's ok for you to do! I predicted you'd oppress me like this on page three!'

I'll be sure to send Angela Merkel an email letting her know she's operating outside her design specs. Running countries is clearly a power thing, and therefore a conservative man thing. Kate Rubins, too. Fancy being a woman under 40 thinking you can do genetic research ON A FUCKING SPACESHIP.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:57 PM on August 6 [48 favorites]


I agree with Smidgen and Lord Eris on this. I have had some interesting conversations about this manifesto/screed. It is startling to find that the enemy can be the hand you hold; a hand that holds your daughter's hand. In any case, you cannot withdraw from engaging with the ideas put forth because otherwise, it remains a belief, a quiet belief, but now it is an article of suppressed faith masquerading as suppressed fact. The author has all the privileged prestige of Princeton, MIT, Harvard and Google within a general culture that believes that it practices pure meritocracy and not taking into account all the other forms of capital that enabled their ascendency. Maybe we should revisit Biology as Idealogy; Reductionism and the underpinnings of Socio-Biology.
posted by jadepearl at 7:01 PM on August 6


If there's anything conservative men shouldn't be doing these days, it's bragging about their leadership skills.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:01 PM on August 6 [19 favorites]


He wrote a bunch of words. They did not make sense, they were poorly researched and even worse, badly organized.

I have been "written up" as a precursor to documented firing if necessary, more than once, for being honest with customers who wanted things that did not exist or who were being actually abusive in pursuit of receiving my services for a discounted amount. Their words did not make sense and were poorly researched, but it was my job on the line.

I am a woman.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:05 PM on August 6 [14 favorites]


> There are a lot of dev jobs that aren't Google and aren't SF startups.

This. I've also had Google reaching out since they started hiring in Pittsburgh, and I did briefly consider it because we really could use the money, but I decided that the tradeoffs weren't worth it. After this shitshow, I'm certain that I made the right choice.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:12 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


So if anyone has the background and spoons to do a detailed analysis of the flaws in the manifesto

Does anybody have enough "IQ" at Genius.com to add a song?
posted by rhizome at 7:14 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


I'm really perturbed by the cone of silence around this man on google, Reddit and twitter. I'm not using google products to search (nor bing, lol) and yet there is almost nothing out there. I don't have access to Blind (obviously) but I find it hard to believe that management would be able to tell 7,000 employees to NOT comment on such a hot topic on a weekend. Even /pol/ on chan has been pretty quiet (and not all comments are supportive of the manifesto). This is something Reddit would normally be all over (since his screed is basically copypasta from redpill et al) but hardly anything has been posted on the topic except for the r/technology post (that does NOT dox the author). And for a googler, it is surprising the author hasn't bothered to lock down his FB.

Anyway, the best tweet I have seen was Existential Comics @existentialcoms
Google employee: "women are incapable of engineering."
Google: "Free speech!"
Another employee: "we need a Union."
Google: "Salt the Earth!"
posted by saucysault at 7:51 PM on August 6 [18 favorites]


I too am absolutely amazed that nobody has told him to lock down his FB hard. The privilege of knowing that you won't be harassed, I suppose.
posted by Yowser at 7:56 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


I'm really perturbed by the cone of silence around this man on google, Reddit and twitter.

He's been named, and others have affirmed that he's the author. But he genuinely seems not to have a significant Internet footprint: no twitter account, no real public G+ presence, an old/anodyne Facebook profile, and nothing else. What's been typical so far is that people like this attracting the ire of the Internet have a large attack surface in the form of multiple accounts that can be engaged and harvested for further fuel. He appears to have almost none except his employer, who's a complex target to hit in the right way.

It's a sad comment on the state of the Internet, but the vulnerability of most asshats is that they want to preserve their public persona, so the mass pile-on is actually effectively at depriving them of something they have. The author has nothing to lose that isn't internal to Google, so yeah... the typical cycle is kind of stymied at this point.
posted by fatbird at 8:05 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


This discussion has gone surreal. May I clear this up? The name everyone's floating as the author of the manifesto is James Damore. Like I said way upthread, I can't personally verify authorship, but thousands of Googlers saw this manifesto with a name attached and no one's spoken up to say "that's the wrong name" so it seems plausible enough.
posted by Nelson at 8:07 PM on August 6 [25 favorites]


From 2014 but perhaps relevant for those who bafflingly think anyone is "overreacting:"

Take it from years of behavioral research: implicit biases have an overwhelmingly negative effect on women in traditionally male professions.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:11 PM on August 6 [33 favorites]


Now that he has been named in the thread, I can say that his LinkedIn and Facebook are available. You know, re-reading his material, I must be missing the part about ageism in the tech industry. I would like to hear about his assessment and beliefs towards age, productivity and creativity in software engineering. A missed opportunity in those ten pages.
posted by jadepearl at 8:28 PM on August 6


[Derail deleted. Artful Codger, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you're coming in really wrong here and dismissing sexism and women's experience of it is not the right tack for this thread.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:30 PM on August 6 [15 favorites]


I guess the question I ask myself, is the danger to women this one guy, or the beliefs he holds which may be shared by others who aren't as quick to out themselves? Can Google best serve it's female employees by making a reasoned argument for it's policies, inviting debate as a way of creating understanding and providing ammunition for it's views, and thus at least beginning to address these entrenched sexist thought processes? Or is the damage that is done by not more sternly condemning his viewpoints too great? Because I can definitely see where women would feel that they are unsafe and unsupported if he is allowed to stay on.
posted by gryftir at 8:36 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I think we just discovered that the entire Alphabet company was the milkshake duck all along. No quick solutions.
posted by Yowser at 8:40 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


I mean, did you read the Diversity memo? It's so gross. Everything feels kind of gross about Alphabet now in away it absolutely didn't yesterday.
posted by Yowser at 8:41 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


So if anyone has the background and spoons to do a detailed analysis of the flaws in the manifesto

I have started this several times but am getting stymied by the sloppiness of the writing. I keep having to guess at what the author's getting at, which is hard when you're simultaneously trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and trying to show that they're wrong. Two paragraphs in and I found myself writing, "Okay, here are three different possible interpretations of what the author means by X and my responses to each of them." I'm not sure I have the stamina to finish out the page, let alone the doc.
posted by galaxy rise at 8:58 PM on August 6 [6 favorites]


He is quite young and seems to be new to this field. His training (and the BS you get with it) probably makes him very overconfident.
posted by Miko at 9:05 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I mean, the casual racism on top of the blatant sexism is just. GAH
posted by Yowser at 9:06 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


GAH

What is "YT men?"
posted by Coventry at 9:13 PM on August 6


White men
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:15 PM on August 6 [5 favorites]


Yeah their Twitter is a bit hard to decode for me too.
posted by Yowser at 9:22 PM on August 6


Has anyone come across a solid critique of the "people-things dimension" studies which get thrown around in these discussions? Lippa's '98 paper (cited by SSC) seems to actually be measuring vocational preferences of undergraduate psychology students, which possibly makes the argument that women aren't interested in software because they're not interested in things a bit circular.
posted by Coventry at 9:44 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


He is quite young

He is 28 and has had the privledge of post-secondary education in three institutions and has spent the past five years living in a rather diverse city. He is old enough to not be sexist and racist on such a base level. My eight year old is more woke and exhibits stronger critical thinking than this guy.
posted by saucysault at 9:49 PM on August 6 [37 favorites]


Lippa's '98 paper (cited by SSC)

Actually, SSC cited a 2010 Lippa survey paper, which cited that. It also cites Su et al. and another 2010 paper by Lippa, both of which use a similar methodology.
posted by Coventry at 9:56 PM on August 6


Women, on average, have more:

That's where he lost me. Howver, I skimmed through the intro and this was where I started reading.
posted by bendy at 9:57 PM on August 6


He is quite young and seems to be new to this field. His training (and the BS you get with it) probably makes him very overconfident.
posted by Miko at 21:05 on August 6
[+] [!]


Yup. And...weird how being just out of college makes men overconfident. I (a woman) remember being extremely underconfident at that stage in my life. I mean...it was pretty clear I had no idea what I was talking about, so I was mostly listening and learning. Looks like that is almost never an acceptable strategy for white men. If he won't listen & learn at 28, will he at 50? (Judging from the 50 year old white dudes around me: I don't think so.)
posted by The Toad at 10:09 PM on August 6 [19 favorites]


The good news is that much of what I've seen written about this is emphasizing that it's a revealing look into something very, very endemic in the tech industry. The bad news is that the people emphasizing that are right.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:16 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


living in a rather diverse city

This would seem to me to be one of the strongest indictments of Google as an organization, here: He's been there for years now and I can't help but wonder if Google's, uh, famous level of commitment towards keeping people on-premises as many hours a day as possible isn't breeding this kind of thing. I'd be willing to bet he did not have a substantial outside life during either college or graduate school, and then he moved to this city that used to be famous for its culture and... what does he do? He goes to work. It's entirely possible that he's never had a meaningful personal conversation with a woman or person of color, possibly excepting women he was trying to date. This excuses nothing on his part, but diverse as SF is, it's hard to imagine five years of living in SF actually enlightening anybody.
posted by Sequence at 10:45 PM on August 6 [6 favorites]


can't help but wonder if Google's, uh, famous level of commitment towards keeping people on-premises as many hours a day as possible isn't breeding this kind of thing

I don't doubt that this can foster an insular culture, but what you describe is actually true of a lot of men who don't work at Google. People self-segregate remarkably effectively.

Although, though, speaking as a woman--I don't know if the experience is similar for POC--one of the really frustrating things about sexism is that it men have been living in close contact with women for all of recorded history and yet are still sexist. It doesn't go away with exposure. I can't be smart enough, or strong enough, for a man to respect me if he already doesn't. Instead, he will just interpret the things I do and say through the lens of his sexism.

And I won't necessarily know until he says something that reveals himself.

Sure, there will be cases of men changing their minds. But this guy, he's sitting in an office at Google, a company that employs probably some of the most qualified women in tech--and he still thinks they don't deserve to be there. I think most guys are like that.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:22 AM on August 7 [38 favorites]


He is quite young and seems to be new to this field. His training (and the BS you get with it) probably makes him very overconfident.

Why do people always make this argument with dudes who've been adults for a decade or more? Every time! It was the same in the Old Man Murray thread. A five-year-old is young and might not know better. A college student (UK college - that's upper high school to you yanks) might not know better (but really ought to). A grown ass adult should ALWAYS know better. And that was ten years ago for this fucker.
posted by Dysk at 2:50 AM on August 7 [47 favorites]


I imagine he's toast at this point, but regardless:

I honestly don't get this view. Even if you somehow excuse the sexism/misogyny as "lack of knowledge of reality", what would constitute a firing offense if --

1) publicly criticizing your company's policies,


He posted an internal document advocating his position. Something which apparently happens *all* the time at Google. Google practically encourages people to do this: Hanging this on him would be unfair - people criticise Google policies in internal documents *all the time*. The fact that the document started a viral shitstorm is ultimately out of his control (although he must have expected some pushback).

2) publicly insulting 1/3 of your fellow employees,
3) causing reputational damage to your employer,

I personally don't think he intended the former of these either. But the document is so poorly written (see comments by others trying to rebut it above!) that it's possible for any women reading it to think 'this man thinks I shouldn't be here'. Not having the empathy to put himself in his reader's place & construct his argument appropriately (assuming he is trying to make the argument I think he is...) is yet another reason that he should never have written the thing.

4) confirming the very bias problem the company is currently facing a lawsuit on

Yup. No political / contextual awareness whatsoever. But we already knew that re: the gender politics of course.

My guess is that he'll be let go with severance this week, but ICBW.
posted by pharm at 2:51 AM on August 7


He is 28 and has had the privledge of post-secondary education in three institutions and has spent the past five years living in a rather diverse city. He is old enough to not be sexist and racist on such a base level. My eight year old is more woke and exhibits stronger critical thinking than this guy.

But your 8 year old is from a different generation, 20 years apart. That's a lot of time. I meet people 10, even 5 years older than I am and sometimes I think to myself how socially different we are--scratch that, how my political views are seemingly irreconcilable from theirs.

And it's not to reduce these conflicts to a generational thing, because it isn't as such and to do so is to make a crude excuse in either direction. Rather, I think what's going on is there's a process where people are exposed to these invalidating experiences, and come to it with either expectation, or acceptance. And that's fine, people are just at different places.

But what that means to me is just like the notion when someone a long time ago on MeFi talked down to me, telling me quite harshly and condescendingly something like "You said that "This is the 21st century therefore I expect [some instance of racial marginalization, etc.] should not happen", but the reality is that it did happen so why not adjust your attitude about the whole thing?" So maybe that other commenter didn't empathize with my expressed frustration, or perhaps didn't understand "This is the 21st century" to be an idiom, or perceived it to be a subtley classist or insulated attitude. Whereas I could also say that such a response, to basically not hear me, is a discursive furthering the original marginalization.

I think part of being liberal and progressive includes knowing how to problematize judgments made on the basis of age, background, temporal considerations, etc. Acceptance in this context means understanding the relationship between reality and expectation, because that's the only way to make sense of, and make, progress.
posted by polymodus at 3:12 AM on August 7


For a moment of levity (i.e. I have to laugh or I'll cry) - this is from last week but seems fitting:

"It's time we acknowledged that any moment feminism doesn't spend either patting a man on the back or slowly laying down a line of treats to coax me towards the smallest amount of progress is a moment wasted."
posted by une_heure_pleine at 3:23 AM on August 7 [31 favorites]


He is quite young and seems to be new to this field.

So young at 28, like Don Jr is just a kid at 39. Meanwhile Tamir Rice...

Quit fucking buying into this permanent childhood excuse for white men!
posted by chris24 at 3:47 AM on August 7 [106 favorites]


My son is the same age as this jerk and I'd be profoundly disappointed if he ever came within a mile of having views like that.
posted by octothorpe at 4:48 AM on August 7 [9 favorites]


My husband was 22 when we started dating, grew up in a small town in a conservative state, he didn't finish college. And he would never say this shit. That was over 20 years ago. Don't give me that BS about this guy's generation or youth. Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole.
posted by emjaybee at 4:53 AM on August 7 [39 favorites]


Wow someone is really arguing they because he was born in the 80s he's too old to understand that women are people.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:56 AM on August 7 [41 favorites]


The weirdest bit is how he's both too young to get it, and of an older generation that can't possibly be expected to keep up with the kids. It's almost like we aren't allowed to have any expectations of white men of any age!
posted by Dysk at 5:05 AM on August 7 [71 favorites]


It's almost like we aren't allowed to have any expectations of white men of any age!
And yet they are naturally, biologically more suited to run everything. It's interesting!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:22 AM on August 7 [75 favorites]


Not only is he apparently still a child at 28, but he can't be expected to know better despite being educated at Harvard. Boy, our educational system must truly be in disarray.

Granted, the Unabomber was also educated at Harvard. So.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:24 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


The weirdest bit is how he's both too young to get it, and of an older generation that can't possibly be expected to keep up with the kids.

Schrödinger's Misogynist.
posted by chris24 at 5:26 AM on August 7 [43 favorites]


And yet they are naturally, biologically more suited to run everything. It's interesting!

They're more suited to run everything! Except when they massively screw up and cause problems for a huge subset of other employees. But even when that happens, they shouldn't be fired, because that's an overreaction to something that's only words. Words like "You shouldn't get to work where I work" and "You're inherently unqualified and bringing the company down with your presence".
posted by Autumnheart at 5:29 AM on August 7 [21 favorites]


But it's important to note that words like "sexist pig" or "misogynist" or even "you're fired" are not just words. And nor is "you're bringing the company down with your presence" if it's said to this guy, or others like him.
posted by Dysk at 5:37 AM on August 7 [16 favorites]


> He posted an internal document advocating his position. Something which apparently happens *all* the time at Google. Google practically encourages people to do this: Hanging this on him would be unfair

Can we really not have expectations of him? Like, none? We can't expect him to tell the difference between criticizing google's shuttle schedules or product development priorities and doing what he did? Why can we not have that expectation?
posted by rtha at 5:45 AM on August 7 [37 favorites]


No matter what his age, he has drunk a lot of ideological poison.

I like how he's all, "I see people as individuals, not tribes like those dirty leftists," right in the middle of his manifesto where he's throwing around stereotypes and HBD shit. Lotta bullshit individualism going around these days.
posted by fleacircus at 5:51 AM on August 7 [12 favorites]


He posted an internal document advocating his position. Something which apparently happens *all* the time at Google. Google practically encourages people to do this: Hanging this on him would be unfair
---
Can we really not have expectations of him? Like, none? We can't expect him to tell the difference between criticizing google's shuttle schedules or product development priorities and doing what he did? Why can we not have that expectation?


+1. Going back to my earlier hypothetical, if his 'internal document practically encouraged by Google' advocated that most black people weren't smart enough to be engineers and were better at physical rather than mental labor, would the fact that Google had an open feedback system mean his choice to use it for that was okay? Because there's no fucking difference other than that for some reason women's full humanity is up for debate for some people.
posted by chris24 at 5:53 AM on August 7 [16 favorites]


For anyone wondering, this, what you see in this thread, is what misogyny most often looks like. People rarely announce their biases and bigoted beliefs with pride, and they often don't even identify them as bigoted. But what you see in this thread is what it looks like: ridiculous double standards, conveniently ignoring points you don't like, moving the goal posts whenever you need to, basically any contortion you need to pull to somehow defend the indefensible. Because the only reason to do that is if you see some of yourself in the indefensible. It's an emotional reaction. It's something people do in all kinds of contexts, and this is what it looks like in this one.

This is something I wish someone had told me when I was younger, and still didn't know that someone could say "I'm a feminist" or "I'm not sexist at all" while actually being the fucking opposite. You look at what people do, not what they say about themselves.

And we've now spent almost 400 comments arguing -- ARGUING -- about whether or not a bigot should be fired for being a bigot in public while advocating further bigotry.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:54 AM on August 7 [113 favorites]


And we've now spent almost 400 comments arguing -- ARGUING -- about whether or not a bigot should be fired for being a bigot in public while advocating further bigotry.

More than that, even! For being a bigot on company time and advocating that his bigotry be adopted as formal company policy.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:59 AM on August 7 [27 favorites]


And we've now spent almost 400 comments arguing -- ARGUING -- about whether or not a bigot should be fired for being a bigot in public while advocating further bigotry.

More than that, even! For being a bigot on company time and advocating that his bigotry be adopted as formal company policy.
More than that, even! For being a bigot on company time and advocating that his bigotry be adopted as formal company policy, while working for a company that is being investigated for gender discrimination, in a situation in which his bigoted manifesto could be used in court in eventual lawsuits.

My hunch is that the reason that firing him isn't a no-brainer is that Google had some sort of (dumb) official policy that you could say whatever you wanted in an internal memo without facing consequences. It's some sort of Silicon Valley encouraging-innovative-thinking thing, and it never occurred to anyone how it could go terribly wrong. Which is symptomatic of a more systemic problem, I think, because I bet that if there were more women or PoC in positions of power, they might have been able to anticipate something like this.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:46 AM on August 7 [15 favorites]


Are we seriously arguing that a well-educated 28-year-old is too young to know why publishing your 10-page manifesto about how much your company's diversity policy is misandrist might get some professional blowback?

Jesus. I learned about that shit when I was 19 and wrote an ill-conceived letter to my school newspaper about something I thought was hinky at my work-study job site. (I was wrong, and dumb, and got raked over the coals at my job. And I even got as far as 19 with this propensity towards shooting my mouth off stupidly because I am middle class and white and my all-girls high school kind of indulged some of my weirdness.)

This isn't a 17-year-old's knowitall Facebook exegesis. This dude is a professional. He should be judged by the same standards as anyone else who is a grownass, fully-functioning adult.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:46 AM on August 7 [29 favorites]


I'm 29 and like to think of myself as an adult with reasoning skills, self-awareness, and the capacity to be held responsible for my actions. I think that is a reasonable thing to expect for a 28-year old man, too.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:54 AM on August 7 [12 favorites]


Which is symptomatic of a more systemic problem, I think, because I bet that if there were more women or PoC in positions of power, they might have been able to anticipate something like this.

I was in a meeting with some baby tech bros who were proposing something that that made every single one of my warning klaxons go off, and I just could not, no matter what I did, convince them that the system they were proposing would end in harassment and stalking when deployed in the way they wanted to deploy it. "But it works with my 20 self-selected friends! Why wouldn't it work with thousands of randos?" But I had to police my tone because I realized everyone was looking at me like I was getting ~shrill.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:54 AM on August 7 [27 favorites]


So, it's Monday morning, and Google proudly still employs bigots?
posted by Dashy at 7:00 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


My hunch is that the reason that firing him isn't a no-brainer is that Google had some sort of (dumb) official policy that you could say whatever you wanted in an internal memo without facing consequences. It's some sort of Silicon Valley encouraging-innovative-thinking thing, and it never occurred to anyone how it could go terribly wrong.

One thing my HR wife said was that the abstract fact that he criticized the company's policies was probably the least of the issues here and didn't think that would be a major consideration for firing him, since many tech companies and HR trends in general have moved to allowing, even encouraging, critiques of policies, procedures, etc. in an effort to improve communication, employee experience, make people feel invested, etc. It's gone so far in places that she said even someone going on a rant against their company on Facebook wouldn't necessarily be a firing offense for some. But as noted, it can go terribly wrong.
posted by chris24 at 7:02 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as a middle-aged woman who is rapidly wearying of fighting this fight within an organizational structure on a daily basis, none of the arguing around the poor 28 year old who just had no idea that he should not release a screed on why too many women are being hired when they're at 20% of the labour force in question is holding any water for me.

I have sons and although I talk to them about this stuff a lot, I do wonder if they will fall into whatever the equivalent misogynistic pockets of society will be at that age. But if they do, and they write something like this, I hope they are fired right away, because it should not be okay on any level.

Obviously I also want them to have a good life and I would help them pick themselves up afterwards and move on. But that is what needs to happen. Bigotry is not okay.

I strongly support a reasonably high degree of free speech, Canadian-style, which means we also temper that right with laws around hate speech. But the workplace is not where that applies.

A workplace that allows these kinds of statements to stand is permitting a degree of hostility that I find extremely disturbing.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:04 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


Also if Google encourages some sort of in-house rant/filibuster thing, then the pearl-clutching about him writing this on company time also seems kind of unimpressive. If they are going to fire him, it has to be because of the content, not the form it took.
posted by thelonius at 7:06 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Granted, the Unabomber was also educated at Harvard. So.

Kaczynski's manifesto, while leaving a lot to be desired, is much closer to the quality level I'd expect from an unhinged Harvard grad.
posted by edeezy at 7:06 AM on August 7 [23 favorites]


Ah, now 4chan et al picking up his name and going full-bore defense mode of Captain White Dude McGoogle. Terrific.

So for those defending this poor innocent 28-year-old child-man, know that you have the forces of MRAs, channers, and Vox Day on your side. Bad luck with that.
posted by XtinaS at 7:10 AM on August 7 [26 favorites]


The point about writing this on company time is that it's pretty standard practice to fire people who abuse company property or who do shitty things at work. There's a long-standing precedent about how this kind of behavior would easily be a firing offense practically everywhere, and thus it provides even more contrast that a supposedly forward-thinking "Don't be evil" place like Google would not actually meet that expectation.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:11 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


> He posted an internal document advocating his position. Something which apparently happens *all* the time at Google. Google practically encourages people to do this: Hanging this on him would be unfair

Can we really not have expectations of him? Like, none? We can't expect him to tell the difference between criticizing google's shuttle schedules or product development priorities and doing what he did? Why can we not have that expectation?


I obviously wasn't clear enough: I wasn't talking about the content here, but the public/private publishing distinction.

He gets to own the rest, obviously.
posted by pharm at 7:11 AM on August 7


Also if Google encourages some sort of in-house rant/filibuster thing, then the pearl-clutching about him writing this on company time also seems kind of unimpressive. If they are going to fire him, it has to be because of the content, not the form it took.

I see this more as preempting the freeze peach objections - this wasn't an issue separate from his work, and there is no way to argue that policing the content is outside their jurisdiction.
posted by Dysk at 7:18 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Also Jesus, can we stop it with the phrase "pearl-clutching" in a thread about misogyny at least?
posted by Dysk at 7:19 AM on August 7 [60 favorites]


I like how he's all, "I see people as individuals, not tribes like those dirty leftists," right in the middle of his manifesto where he's throwing around stereotypes and HBD shit. Lotta bullshit individualism going around these days.

The corollary is that not everyone is an individual. In fact, most people aren't. They're either NPCs with no inner life (and prove that they're not!), animated by some algorithm, or sheeple/drones/normies, following the lead, whether it's being dumb jocks and cheerleaders at the popular table at school, following fashions or football teams, listening to That Band Everyone Likes That Objectively Sucks, mindlessly repeating nostrums about equality and world peace or obsessing about useless rubbish like “feelings”. In fact, there's probably only a few dozen real people who think in the world, and, by some coincidence, they're all white men who lean conservative/libertarian.

It's not so much individualism as a curdled adolescent solipsism.
posted by acb at 7:27 AM on August 7 [14 favorites]


Also Jesus, can we stop it with the phrase "pearl-clutching" in a thread about misogyny at least?

Agreed. The continuous undertone about how this is all nbd and not worthy of outrage, and that those who are outraged are overreacting prisses, is really starting to piss me off. This is about people advocating the systemic disenfranchisement of women and POC in an industry that not coincidentally also drives the development of technology that determines how we live and communicate. Think for a second about the impact of that.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:28 AM on August 7 [42 favorites]


He is old enough to not be sexist and racist on such a base level.

Thanks for all the flagellation, but I in no way mentioned his age as some sort of excuse. I had just formed a mental image of an older crank when I read it and was surprised he was young - even though I'm well aware that youth most definitely does not equal progressive politics and that unapologetic sexism and aggressive patriarchal thinking is, if anything, on the rise among young men. I did not mean that as an excuse. I mean that he's profoundly inexperienced in life and, as you can see from his CV, he's been in some very sheltered environments all that time, and ones that can tend to make people think they're a lot smarter than they are. I got my graduate degree at Harvard. I could have hit guys like him with a rock at any hour of the day. Despite its reputation, it is not a "good education" in the sense of cultivating personal humility and respect for difference - especially not in the sciences. He might be good at molecular biology, or coding (quite a switch, making me suspect a hidden failure in there somewhere). But he's learned jack all about gender, human and intellectual development, social science, and life. That's his fault.
posted by Miko at 7:38 AM on August 7 [8 favorites]


> So for those defending this poor innocent 28-year-old child-man, know that you have the forces of MRAs, channers, and Vox Day on your side. Bad luck with that.

This is what's so scary about the internet: no matter how nonsense your opinions and actions, you will always find some loud assholes who tell you you're doing the right thing.
posted by cirgue at 7:45 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


He might be good at molecular biology, or coding (quite a switch, making me suspect a hidden failure in there somewhere)

I suspect this is far more common than you think - lots of programmers learn by scratching some itch and then gaining proficiency. Some of the better programmers I know got their starts as research assistants writing scripts and programs to analyze data and then graduated to full on development.

That he lists on his profile proficiency in LaTex, Perl, Matlab and Mathmatica are good indications he was a data analyst more than a developer.

And there is no greater critique of his analytical skills than this manifesto he wrote. Leaving aside the content, such a sophomoric effort shouldn't have been possible from someone with his resume.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:46 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]


It's really not uncommon, and the fact that you can skate through Harvard with writing like that is a great example of male privilege, white privilege, and wealth privilege.
posted by Miko at 7:48 AM on August 7 [19 favorites]


IIRC Systems Biology is Mathematics / CompSci applied to Biological topics Miko (eg doing things like modelling molecular pathways as petrinets), so it's not that huge a jump.
posted by pharm at 7:48 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I've been wanting to talk about this since the initiative was launched, and although it might not be the smartest thing for me to do, I feel like it is especially appropriate in the framework of this discussion and to provide a counter-example of why it's imporant to have a diverse workforce. This is all publicly available information.

Best Buy recently started a pilot called Assured Living. The premise of this is that there's a person in your family who does, or can, live independently but who needs some oversight--the most common example being an aging parent. So, after a consultation and recommendations according to the lifestyle of the person in the home, sensors are placed throughout the house--in the mattress, on the door, the fridge, medicine cabinet, etc. and this feedback is fed to an app to the caregiver's phone. The app learns and tracks patterns, so that the caregiver can see things like their parent is or isn't taking their medicine, eating regularly, getting sufficient sleep, leaving the front door open, etc. etc. The cost for the monitoring app is about $25/mo and the cost of the hardware is in the hundreds of dollars--obviously, far FAR less expensive than hiring a nurse or living in an assisted living complex.

It is about relationship-building and providing an ecosystem that offers support for the full life cycle of the product and, literally, the customer. Needless to say, in an era where health care is increasingly expensive and even its availability is uncertain, and as Baby Boomers enter the final years of their lives, this is an issue that a lot of people are going to confront in the next decade or two. When tied in with smart home devices and other support services, it essentially creates a completely new market and niche beyond being a destination for purchasing products.

This intiative is marketed toward, and is largely being developed by, women. And you don't have to be an industry specialist to recognize that this has an *enormous* amount of potential. Indeed, both this service and a related initiative, In-Home Advisor, have been hugely successful in their pilot markets. Because relationship-building is an important part of the B2C industry, and therefore you need people in place who understand how to do that well.

So that's what one company gets when they have women developing their products: a billion-dollar market.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:56 AM on August 7 [71 favorites]


And there is no greater critique of his analytical skills than this manifesto he wrote. Leaving aside the content, such a sophomoric effort shouldn't have been possible from someone with his resume.

Apparently Vox Day thinks it was well written (according to my Twitter feed). Says it all really.
posted by pharm at 8:04 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


I keep seeing discussions about how this type of incident has a chilling effect on hiring women in tech, and while that is true, I think it leaves something out.

Incidents like this have a chilling effect on hiring in every industry.

I have been at my job for a few years now, and people will often ask me if I ever look around for new positions at other orgs. It’s the only way to get a raise in most industries, develop new skills, etc. But I usually answer those questions with “I don’t have to work frequently with any vocal misogynists, and our HR dept cares about shutting down harassment.” Whenever I mention those facts to a woman, she says “oh, yeah, I’d stay too. Wow, that sounds amazing.”

Misogyny has been pervasive in every industry I have ever worked in, throughout my life. You can’t hope to escape it, but you can hope to be exposed to it rarely, or only with certain people, or only in settings that have checks and balances. If you leave a place where it is relatively low/managed for a new position, you have no idea what the misogyny economy of a new workplace will be, no matter what the industry, no matter what the interview process is like, no matter what their diversity statement says. No one is going to tell you about broken stairs when they are trying to hire you. If men are the ones hiring you, they might not even know the broken stairs exist.

Conversely, I have also known women who have been desperate to get out of workplaces where their skills were 100% needed, and where they could have advanced into really great positions, except that working in those places meant continuing to work with this one dude, or this one group of dudes, that made none of it worth it. Many women will absolutely choose career setbacks over staying in a place where they are daily dehumanized and humiliated and expected to say thank you for the privilege.

This is a part of the pay gap that I don’t see discussed too often, but it is one that I see again and again. The idea of getting to take a new job and not nervously wondering “will my future colleagues think of me as a person?” is absolutely foreign to me.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:04 AM on August 7 [79 favorites]


Apparently Vox Day thinks it was well written (according to my Twitter feed). Says it all really.

Well, he is a professional publisher...
posted by acb at 8:08 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


This is a part of the pay gap that I don’t see discussed too often, but it is one that I see again and again. The idea of getting to take a new job and not nervously wondering “will my future colleagues think of me as a person?” is absolutely foreign to me.

That's a big part of the reason I've been at my job for so long (13 years). Honestly, the culture is really great and while no workplace is perfect, every anecdote and vent I hear from my friends and family who work elsewhere make me realize that anywhere else I might go would probably suck a lot worse. And I'm not even an outlier, there are a lot of people who have been with the company for a decade or longer. People start working here and then they just never leave. And more than that, the leadership in the last 5 years has been really critical--prior to the arrival of the current CEO, it was really kind of a great place despite the lack of vision on behalf of the C-suite, but as things stand now, I'm not sure that anyone would actually let the CEO out of the building if he tried to quit.

Yes, my salary has taken the expected hit of staying with one company and not following the market, but I make decent money, and more importantly I actually look forward to going to work. I literally have nightmares about NOT working there or of being laid off.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:19 AM on August 7 [15 favorites]


Said CEO was integral in killing Trump's 20% border tax increase. Hurray! CEO 4 lyfe.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:33 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


This is a part of the pay gap that I don’t see discussed too often, but it is one that I see again and again. The idea of getting to take a new job and not nervously wondering “will my future colleagues think of me as a person?” is absolutely foreign to me.

Yep. I make about 1/3 of my previous salary by working in my current position, but have no desire to move elsewhere because the team I manage is all women, most of my key coworkers are women, and most of my management chain are women; my company is headquartered in a more-socialist country and provides parental leave and other pro-women benefits more in line with that country's policies; HR actually talks about things like systemic discrimination and implicit bias. (I've heard stories of discrimination from other groups and, being a large company, it of course has a systemic lack of women in top management positions, so it's not all sunshine and rainbows here.) I could easily double my salary by working pretty much anywhere else, but it's not worth it. And I'm extremely lucky I even have the option to make that decision.

Avoiding the minefield of misogyny was a major factor for a lot of women I know who became SAHMs or are working at lower-paying jobs than earlier in their careers.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:34 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


This is a part of the pay gap that I don’t see discussed too often, but it is one that I see again and again. The idea of getting to take a new job and not nervously wondering “will my future colleagues think of me as a person?” is absolutely foreign to me.

Reading this was one of those oh yes moments where I recognized something that is so ingrained that I hadn't consciously thought about it.

Any new job I've considered I've wondered. In interviews it's something I try to discern though as you say it doesn't come out there. It extends to pretty much any mixed group I get involved in. Wondering and hoping like this is background radiation and just something I deal with.
posted by Jalliah at 8:36 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]


I just don't understand all this immediate claims to fire this guy. If he hasn't done anything wrong in google's eyes (as in, he is allowed to speak freely, no matter how dumb his opinions are) then why should he be fired because what he said is objectionable?

Surely the bigger point here is that someone has said something uneducated, it is out in the open and he is getting the education he sorely needed. Many other people (with similar/aligning views) are seeing that education from the outside and getting the same thing. Why the hell does he also need to be fired? Maybe he is good at his job, and his job has nothing to do with his dumb arse views. So if his job allows his dumb arse views to get airtime, get corrected, experience the blow back his views have with a huge chunk of the population, then these views will become less prevalent. It's an education process that will take time, it shouldn't be an 'elimination of the wrong from society at all costs' process.

The knee-jerk reaction always seems to be 'FIRE THE GUY RUIN HIS LIFE EVERYONE KNOW WHO HE IS' which is counter-productive, because everyone else that has these views will double down, feel victimised and never say anything and remain ignorant. Which doesn't help. Evolving the group perspective will be a slow process and isn't an overnight deal.

Surely an educated guy, still in a decent job, that learns from his mistakes is a better result than PUNISH WITH MAXIMUM PREJUDICE. If the aim is to genuinely get the thinking of people as a whole to move forward and evolve, this 'crush the idiots' approach is counter-productive, and frankly doesn't fit that well with claims of people to be 'enlightened'.
posted by Brockles at 8:38 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I just don't understand all this immediate claims to fire this guy. If he hasn't done anything wrong in google's eyes (as in, he is allowed to speak freely, no matter how dumb his opinions are) then why should he be fired because what he said is objectionable?

The answer to this question can be found by reading the thread.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:39 AM on August 7 [40 favorites]


The answer to this question can be found by reading the thread.

The reason I don't understand it can be found in the rest of my comment.
posted by Brockles at 8:41 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I'd suggest reading the thread again, more closely this time.
posted by anem0ne at 8:43 AM on August 7 [27 favorites]


So after 450+ comments, you're not understanding folks' points of view. What specific points have eluded you? With cites, please, so that it at least looks like you've read anything here first.
posted by XtinaS at 8:44 AM on August 7 [20 favorites]


> I just don't understand all this immediate claims to fire this guy.

I guess you missed all the comments pointing out that Google in under investigation for discrimination and what this guy published could easily be read as contributing to a hostile work environment?

Since you're the most recent in the line of people saying he shouldn't be fired, then I'll ask you this question too: Do you think he should just not face any professional consequences? Should his managers continue to assign him to work with women and ethnic minorities, to review their code, like that, and expect those co-workers to work with someone who's not been shy about expressing how he thinks they're probably not as good as he is because of their gender/race?
posted by rtha at 8:44 AM on August 7 [39 favorites]


Did you catch the part about how publishing that document creates a textbook hostile work environment on the basis of both race and gender, which is against both federal and state law? How about the part where it makes Google legally liable at a time when they are already under investigation for illegal discrimination, and in fact strengthens the prosecution's case by both publishing it and allowing it to stand?

Who cares if he's good at his job? First of all, he obviously sucks shit at his job if he does something like that, and secondly, there are thousands of people who would be good at that job, and they can replace his poor-performing ass with one of them.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:44 AM on August 7 [16 favorites]


Maybe he is good at his job, and his job has nothing to do with his dumb arse views.

His job is to apply critical thinking and analytical skills to problems Google needs solutions or optimizations for.

Leaving aside the content - this manifesto demonstrates a STUNNING lack of either of those abilities. This is a race car driver who can't use a clutch. A mechanic who can't identify a crankshaft.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:44 AM on August 7 [16 favorites]


The reason I don't understand it can be found in the rest of my comment.

I'm a straight white man. I can understand it plain as day. If you can't find/understand the answers to your question in the thread, that's on you, not the people here.
posted by chris24 at 8:45 AM on August 7 [27 favorites]


If he hasn't done anything wrong in google's eyes (as in, he is allowed to speak freely, no matter how dumb his opinions are) then why should he be fired because what he said is objectionable?

He should be fired (or at least given the Come To Jesus moment) because what he did should have been wrong in google's eyes.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:46 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


Here are some rational reasons to can him:

1) The company he works for is under investigation for systemic gender discrimination, and he's bringing it the worst possible kind of publicity, on purpose.

2) By saying that he thinks some of his coworkers are inherently worse at their jobs than he is, because they are women, he's making it impossible for them to engage with him in good faith, which makes him significantly less useful to the organization. Maybe they can change his job description, but that seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to given #1.

3) He's revealed that he's extremely willing to go to the mat for beliefs that aren't actually rational or based on current science, and that's a pretty lousy quality in a software engineer. You want someone who's willing to adjust their approach based on data.

I'm totally comfortable with that.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:49 AM on August 7 [15 favorites]


... that learns from his mistakes ...

That is a bit overoptimistic of you. He is 28. He has not learned yet; the evidence show that he is quite resistant to learning on the job at present; why, oh why, would you give him the privilege of "he's learned from his mistakes"?

That is a generosity that is only ever extended to white men.
posted by Dashy at 8:49 AM on August 7 [27 favorites]


everyone else that has these views will double down, feel victimised and never say anything

Good.

and remain ignorant

That price seems broadly acceptable.

More broadly, the problem here is not "Let's help the white man become a better white man by educating him in the best ways of being a white man because he's somehow made it through a PhD and not learned that men aren't better than women." It's "Nobody should have to put up with shit like this."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:49 AM on August 7 [27 favorites]


He can learn from his mistakes by being canned. /pain is scary
posted by Autumnheart at 8:50 AM on August 7 [33 favorites]


The knee-jerk reaction always seems to be 'FIRE THE GUY RUIN HIS LIFE EVERYONE KNOW WHO HE IS' which is counter-productive

This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of why people think he should be fired. No one wants him to be fired because of his ideological impurities so that Google can be Cleansed of Immoral Filth.

People think he should be fired because he has damaged the workplace and the ability of his coworkers to do their jobs effectively. If someone who worked at a gas station kept spraying gasoline around and lighting matches, that person should be fired. If someone who worked in HR ended every new hire onboarding with “you will hate it here, but I don’t care”, then that person should be fired. If someone who worked at a grocery store kept hiding rotten produce behind cereal boxes and causing a health hazard, then that person should be fired.

He should be fired because he is undermining the work of his employer due to his faulty understanding of his own industry. It isn’t a semi-religious shunning. It is what happens to employees who damage the business when they work. (Or it would be, if he was getting fired.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:50 AM on August 7 [37 favorites]


If he hasn't done anything wrong in google's eyes (as in, he is allowed to speak freely, no matter how dumb his opinions are) then why should he be fired because what he said is objectionable?

I mean FFS, this fixation on 'the means of communication was okay, so the message must be as well" is idiotic. If he advocated for murdering co-workers via the Google forum, that wouldn't be a problem?
posted by chris24 at 8:50 AM on August 7 [15 favorites]


I mean, given that most of the people ppointing out all of this stuff earlier in the thread, repeatedly, have been women/poc, maybe that's why it's not getting through.

Here's a person who presents white-ish, is, I believe, a straight dude, and a former Googler explaining it.

I'm posting it for the sixth time in this thread.
1 2 3 4 5
posted by anem0ne at 8:51 AM on August 7 [39 favorites]


Not actioning the screed shows that treating your coworkers with utter disdain and contempt is a-ok if you're a dude de they're women. It becomes a matter of debate, where there are two sides - the dude isn't getting universally shouted down within the company, or without. Shutting it and him the fuck down sends the message that it isn't okay. Maybe the dude doubles down on his outrage - whatever, he's gone now, and there's nothing to indicate that he's ever going to be a meaningful ally. Everyone else at the company, however, sees humane norms enforced, not least all the women in the company. The focus on what is good for this one dude to the exclusion of consideration of everyone around him is itself misogynistic in its effect.

TLDR: people need to see that this kind of bullshit has consequences, that creating a hostile work environment for an entire group of people isn't acceptable. For that, there need to actually be consequences for the dude. Like losing his job.
posted by Dysk at 8:52 AM on August 7 [18 favorites]


Cleansing Google of immoral filth is really just a side benefit.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:52 AM on August 7 [6 favorites]


'FIRE THE GUY RUIN HIS LIFE EVERYONE KNOW WHO HE IS'

First, firing him will not "ruin" his life. Second, I don't think anyone is saying his life should be ruined. No one is asking for him to go to jail or never work forever. No one is saying he should have some kind of letter (maybe an "M" I guess for misogynist) branded on his cheek or something.

Heck, maybe him being forced to leave Google will be the first step towards actually learning and changing. Did you consider that?
posted by FJT at 8:52 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]


Also, as is typical, it seems like some keep suggesting we should prioritize a white man's learning experience over the actual harms that are happening to underrepresented/marginalized people.
posted by anem0ne at 8:55 AM on August 7 [79 favorites]


Although personally, I'd be cool with it if he never worked again in the industry. There are thousands of people who will never get a shot at exercising their talents because of assholes like this, and I don't see why he should be granted a second chance to fuck things up on a galactic level, when most of those people never even get a first chance to contribute.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:56 AM on August 7 [40 favorites]


And furthermore, even if firing him ruined his life forever, he did it to himself. Nobody will have done anything to him.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:01 AM on August 7 [30 favorites]


In case anyone is interested, I posted to metatalk about the guy being named in this thread, and about doxxing on mefi in general.
posted by zarq at 9:03 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


There comes a point in every asshole's life beyond which the only good they can serve is as a deterrent to others.
posted by acb at 9:03 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Surely the bigger point here is that someone has said something uneducated, it is out in the open and he is getting the education he sorely needed. Many other people (with similar/aligning views) are seeing that education from the outside and getting the same thing. Why the hell does he also need to be fired? Maybe he is good at his job, and his job has nothing to do with his dumb arse views. So if his job allows his dumb arse views to get airtime, get corrected, experience the blow back his views have with a huge chunk of the population, then these views will become less prevalent. It's an education process that will take time, it shouldn't be an 'elimination of the wrong from society at all costs' process.

I'll bite since I'm late to the thread.

Google has women working there now, as well as POC, who have come in under diversity programs. What is more, lots of women and POC will know from their work experience that those programs are needed because they are dealing with bullshit prejudice that they can't code/aren't top-management material because they 'lack focus' every day.

So, a guy uses company tools to basically say not only are those programs bad, the people they are letting in just aren't biologically cut out to do their jobs. So basically, saying that there are people in the company doing work that they shouldn't be doing.

Do you see where the problem is now? Imagine that a 10-page memo goes out to the entire company stating that everyone with your degree shouldn't have been let into the company in the first place and that you are being kept at the company only because of the political climate when in fact. wink wink, nudge nudge, tons of people know that your work is really not going to be up to standard, AMIRITE?

Then add that onto a lifetime, as women have often experienced, of having been not listened to, watching -- frankly -- mediocre men getting promoted past us, interns being given credit for our work, and on and on. A lifetime of having to PROVE we're competent where men just are assumed to be. A lifetime of having all our personal goals scrutinized as being insufficiently dedicated (men can have babies and be assumed to be high performers...women not so much. Etc.) And then you get to work and find this on your internal chat and...

...then you get put on a project with this guy.

Now maybe you can see why he should be fired. You are basically saying this guy deserves to be educated and that is way more important than all the women in company being treated as, you know, competent members of the team. That's ridiculous. Why is his "right" to a job placed above 20% (a shameful number) of the company's tech resources?
posted by warriorqueen at 9:04 AM on August 7 [47 favorites]


Surely an educated guy, still in a decent job, that learns from his mistakes ...

Stop right there. I must have missed that part of the story. Perhaps you can fill us in.
posted by JackFlash at 9:06 AM on August 7 [9 favorites]


Let me get this straight.

A white dude makes an egregious mistake at work, and should be given a chance to succeed because his education and learning potential make him a clear candidate for success.

But a woman or POC should not be hired or given a chance to succeed, because their education and learning potential, which is exactly the same on paper, make them clear candidates for failure. That's what the white dude is saying.

Challenging this assertion is "pearl-clutching" and trying to ruin the white guy's life. Go back to first paragraph. That's what some people in this thread are saying.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:11 AM on August 7 [28 favorites]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: His job is to apply critical thinking and analytical skills to problems Google needs solutions or optimizations for. Leaving aside the content - this manifesto demonstrates a STUNNING lack of either of those abilities.

In my experience, analytical abilities or the lack thereof rarely have anything to do with wisdom. That has more to do with empathy and willingness to listen and be open to new knowledge. People on both sides - yes, including my side, and including me - cherrypick the science and torture the logic in order to support the conclusions we've already come to. Everybody on both sides who believes that they're a rational person who knows about science has already said, "Look at the science, it's perfectly clear! Look at the logic, it's perfectly clear!"

Scientifically, we know very little about human behaviour. Almost all the studies are waaaay too small and unrepresentative given the wide variation in human behaviour and the incredible complexity of the inner and outer systems that form it. Science has told us very little so far. The logic used, much of which is based on "scientific" just-so stories, is close to useless.

We mostly have to make decisions based on what's remaining to us - our limited, blinkered viewpoints, our empathy, our half-baked understandings of how the world works, and our own sense of justice. Mostly - this is my own half-baked understanding - we make decisions based on our fears. Google will fire him or not based on whether they're more fearful of angering arrogant male engineers or angering other engineers and customers. He's writing because he's afraid that his arrogant, self-affirming view of the world is being threatened. Non-male engineers are afraid of being pushed back into the ghettos that they've been forced to occupy for the past ten thousand years or so.

You can argue that this demonstrates a lack of analytical skill on his part. I'll respectfully disagree. I suggest that it demonstrates a lack of empathy and humility.
posted by clawsoon at 9:13 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


You can argue that this demonstrates a lack of analytical skill on his part. I'll respectfully disagree. I suggest that it demonstrates a lack of empathy and humility.

Whatever angle you take at it, I hope we can at least all agree that he's demonstrated/created a profound lack of ability to be able to effectively function in his workplace going forward.
posted by Dysk at 9:17 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


We know enough about human behavior to say that prejudice in the workplace is a detriment, which is why it's illegal, and that's all the justification needed to fire him. I don't care what drove the dude to write the document.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:17 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


"... that learns from his mistakes "

First, you have no evidence of this. Second, jobs aren't there to teach you to not be sexist. Third, it would be unfair to require that his colleagues work with him, knowing that he has ridiculous biases about many of them. Fourth, we all know he has a right to an opinion, however hateful and masturbatorily self-serving. But as professional, he needs to keep his opinions to himself.

What you don't seem to get is that coworkers have no duty to teach him, coddle him, or tolerate his opinion that some of us are intrinsically inferior because of our gender or race. People have no duty to bend over backwards for him at work, worry that he might be unfair to them, or rationalize his stupidity because he's ONLY 28 years old, it wasn't his intention, he doesn't know better, etc etc etc.

This asshole is responsible for his own behavior . The rest of humanity isn't responsible for putting up with his backward stupidity. Funnily enough, for being so smart and brilliant, it's funny that he needs a baby sitter and special fucking treatment from everyone around him.
posted by Tarumba at 9:20 AM on August 7 [39 favorites]


Learning from one's mistakes, for the most part, only happens when there is a consequence for those mistakes. Sensitivity training isn't a consequence, unless this person has somehow managed to avoid every other instance of it for his career thus far. Maybe losing his job will be a sufficient consequence. And even if it isn't sufficient to make him learn, then all of the people that he has created a hostile workplace for still get to know that their company has their backs at least a little bit more than they thought yesterday.
posted by Etrigan at 9:24 AM on August 7 [22 favorites]


Google will fire him or not based on whether they're more fearful of angering arrogant male engineers or angering other engineers and customers.

Anger isn't the only motivating factor here. Frankly, it's probably the least important factor. In writing this, he is creating a hostile work environment for women and PoC who have to work with him. Lawsuit fodder. People who know he judges them based on their gender or ethnicity. Does he manage other staffers? Evaluate their job performances? Racism and sexism (especially since, as I noted at the top of this post, Google is literally under investigation for gender-biased practices) are a legal minefield.

He's writing because he's afraid that his arrogant, self-affirming view of the world is being threatened.

This is pretty much the modus operandi of every racist and every sexist, ever. Why should we give a damn what his motivations are?

You can argue that this demonstrates a lack of analytical skill on his part. I'll respectfully disagree. I suggest that it demonstrates a lack of empathy and humility.

It can be all three.
posted by zarq at 9:26 AM on August 7 [14 favorites]


Why don't we examine the irrationality around the desire to placate and educate this one man instead of the 28,000 women Google currently employs? Why are people so bent on preserving this one man's role and career, when there are 28,000 people negatively affected by his presence? What do you think he brings to the table that is worth losing the potential of 28,000 people also in the building? Why do you think his talent is so extraordinary that it justifies that imbalance?
posted by Autumnheart at 9:27 AM on August 7 [50 favorites]


...and I don't see why he should be granted a second chance to fuck things up on a galactic level...

I would like to see this aspect of things, and raise. I am betting a stack of chips that this particular display is well beyond second, third, fourth, and fifth chances this fellow has already received, just in ways that didn't garner public attention. Preceding escalating additional chances led to him being secure about receiving a paycheck for posting manifesto.

I have no evidence of this at hand, but note that the payout on that bet is very low, because the house doesn't have an edge on it.
posted by Drastic at 9:31 AM on August 7 [18 favorites]


If he gets a second chance, he should earn it, beyond some equivalent of just Mouthing That Jesus Shit To His Parole Officer. I have no doubt that, if shit got heavy, someone of his background could quite competently mouth a few stock phrases (“I was wrong... there is no excuse for racism... all people are equal”), keep his head down for a while, and vent anonymously about cucks and “Cultural Marxists” on /pol/ or 4chan or wherever. Eventually he'd end up reviewing the pull requests of someone who, in his world view, is subhuman, and once the threat of being fired had passed, would stop pretending that he considers them to be a fellow human being or a competent engineer.
posted by acb at 9:32 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


The comments around educating this adult man on how to be human reminds me of a relevant medium post about two years ago dealing with Google and exactly the issue of educating men: Zero Tolerance.
at google, a female colleague shared a story about interviewing a guy who made comments about how knowledgeable she was and impressive that was “for a woman”

and she basically said that she dinged him hard on the interview for culture fit
and a bunch of people rushed to his defense, saying, he might just not know, we should help him, we should be patient, we could teach him, we shouldn’t exclude him from being part of our community just because he hasn’t been exposed to these issues yet. it sounds like what he was trying to say was a compliment.

and the thing is, whose job is that going to be, to train him to treat other people with the expectation that they are just as intelligent and capable as the rest of their peers? that job falls to the women who have to work with people like that.

the ones who have ACTUAL JOBS and shouldn’t be required to take time away from their JOBS to educate someone they work with to not be ignorantly sexist. it reduces their opportunities to do their work effectively, by not only undermining them, but by taking up their time. it’s also a really really exhausting task to try and get someone to understand that you’re not stupid. an exhausting and thankless one


and i kind of feel the same way here. if this is really how he thinks, there’s NO WAY this is the first time he’s getting a negative reaction.
posted by erisfree at 9:34 AM on August 7 [86 favorites]


The dude shouldn't be fired. He should be the sole male member of a rockstar female dev team, with a female manager chain of at least two levels ...... ahhh nevermind, that hypothetical dev team doesn't need the headache.
posted by forforf at 9:36 AM on August 7


Or to put it another way, if you're going to insult the capabilities, qualifications and competencies of 28,000 of your coworkers in a public forum, you'd better be right and have damned compelling evidence.

[Ron Howard] He didn't.
posted by delfin at 9:37 AM on August 7 [13 favorites]


Autumnheart: Why are people so bent on preserving this one man's role and career, when there are 28,000 people negatively affected by his presence?

I suspect that your question could have a couple of minor changes and be just as accurate: "Why are arrogant male engineers so bent on preserving the career of someone who's just like them..."
posted by clawsoon at 9:39 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


I just don't understand all this immediate claims to fire this guy.

Then read the thread. Again. Because you clearly missed easily a hundred well-spoken comments explaining in graphic detail why it is a good idea to fire the guy. Also, 'immediate'? This is 2 days ago, now. Same with you saying 'knee-jerk' later, this isn't some half-baked response people are having to this, this isn't something people 'just haven't thought through' enough and might change their mind on if they just 'chilled out and thought about it' for a while. Actually, let me turn this around on you: why do you have a knee-jerk reaction to defend this guy? Kind of de-legitimizing, isn't it? Worth thinking about, though.


If he hasn't done anything wrong in google's eyes (as in, he is allowed to speak freely, no matter how dumb his opinions are) then why should he be fired because what he said is objectionable?

Obviously Google's going to make their decision. We're discussing what Google's best move would be, not just for their own company, but also ethically. The point is, what he's done should be wrong in Google's eyes, and Google should fire him simply for the fact that it is the best possible choice for them as a company (also, the action any other company coming across this kind of thing should take). Please see the rest of the thread for the why.


Surely the bigger point here is that someone has said something uneducated, it is out in the open and he is getting the education he sorely needed. Many other people (with similar/aligning views) are seeing that education from the outside and getting the same thing. Why the hell does he also need to be fired?

Like Autumnheart said, guess what else really gets the point across and really makes that 'education' stick? Firing the guy. Telling people that, no, we do not stand behind the misinformed and actively harmful opinions of this man in any way, shape, or form, and his viewpoints are not helpful or welcome here. Telling people that if they think this way they are misguided, wrong, and those views are unwelcome in the workspace. No one's following this guy to the bar and saying 'hey, shut up or you'll get fired'.

What 'lesson' exactly do people learn if he isn't fired? That this kind of shit is fine, really. That a single white dude keeping his job because he just couldn't keep his dehumanizing, misogynist opinions to himself on goddamn work time is more important than actually allowing the thousands of women who work in that industry feel even remotely comfortable going to work every goddamn day.

If he isn't fired the assholes who believe this shit are sent the message that it's true, that women don't belong, and they shouldn't worry too much about making that view known to the women they work with. Even in the actual goddamn workplace.


It's an education process that will take time, it shouldn't be an 'elimination of the wrong from society at all costs' process.

No one's proposing nuking him from orbit. Not seriously, anyway.


The knee-jerk reaction always seems to be 'FIRE THE GUY RUIN HIS LIFE EVERYONE KNOW WHO HE IS' which is counter-productive, because everyone else that has these views will double down, feel victimised and never say anything and remain ignorant. Which doesn't help. Evolving the group perspective will be a slow process and isn't an overnight deal.

Tell me when this starts working because so far as I can tell we've been trying the 'be nicer to them and eventually they'll learn' since literally day one and I don't know if you've noticed but it hasn't been going great for us. I'm not sure why we (women, other minority groups, whoever this bullshit is pointed at on any given day) are the ones who always have to play nice and suffer literally every consequence in this scenario (listening to this guy and being forced to remain in his presence)--OH WAIT. I know the answer to that one actually. It's because the fucking white guy always gets the benefit of the doubt and is treated with kid gloves while everyone else suffers. Sorry, I forgot for a second.

Also I'm not sure why you're weighing this white dude's potential pain (losing a single goddamn job) so much more highly than the potential pain to the MULTIPLE women he works with (up to and including feeling better off leaving the goddamn industry because of this bullshit).


Surely an educated guy, still in a decent job, that learns from his mistakes is a better result than PUNISH WITH MAXIMUM PREJUDICE.

To be honest bud it's goddamn hilarious to me that you see people leveraging the idea of people firing him as being "maximum prejudice" considering all the shit he wrote. Like, mindboggling phrasing to me.


If the aim is to genuinely get the thinking of people as a whole to move forward and evolve, this 'crush the idiots' approach is counter-productive, and frankly doesn't fit that well with claims of people to be 'enlightened'.

Maybe a better aim would be to make the people he's railing about and calling inferior and saying don't belong in the tech industry--maybe a better aim would be to make them feel like he's wrong and tell everyone else watching that he's wrong at the same time.

Maybe, if you want "people as a whole" to move forward and evolve, you'll give some of that leeway to do so to the 51% of the goddamn world population and giving them the stage for once by removing him from the company and condemning what he says, instead of once again giving that leeway to this one fucking white guy by letting him keep his job and continue spouting this shit. Why is your push to 'move people as a whole forward' focusing so hard on making sure that that is done at maximum comfort for white dudes?

Fire him and replace him with a woman. How about that?

Do you understand now? Like even a little? Maybe sit down and read again.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 9:40 AM on August 7 [30 favorites]


Why are arrogant male engineers so bent on preserving the career of someone who's just like them...

This reformulation is useful, because it allows the question to basically answer itself.
posted by biogeo at 9:40 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


he's demonstrated/created a profound lack of ability to be able to effectively function in his workplace going forward.

He's certainly revealed himself to have the political antennae of a whelk. Which would have been a career limiting problem eventually anyway, but going down in flames is certainly one way to demonstrate it.

Not *The* Whelk obviously. Just *a* whelk.
posted by pharm at 9:42 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I used to be an arrogant male engineer. Then I realized that there are plenty of intelligent, capable people who could easily replace me.

After that, I began to question the value of meritocracy...
posted by clawsoon at 9:49 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Setting aside, for the moment, the insults he's dished out to his coworkers...

Setting aside the social and emotional cost to women and people of color who would be required to patiently tolerate his future condescension...

Setting aside the efforts that would need to be spent to teach him what real science is (and those efforts would not, could not be from women, because he considers them innately "irrational"); it would have to be white men in authority who spend part of their workday explaining How Science Works to someone who apparently managed to get a PhD without knowing how to check references for validity...

(These are all important points, but just, for a moment, I want to focus on a different side of business.)

He's just told every woman he works with that they're off the hook for poor quality work, that they don't need to strive to improve themselves, that he "understands" if they never master a particularly tricky bit of coding technique.

He's announced that he doesn't expect women to be competitive, that it's okay if they have more people than "things" skills. That it's okay if they're "more neurotic;" they can't help it. He's just said, "we should have two (or more) sets of standards, based on biology."

He's just given an excuse to every underperforming slacker in the company who's not a white male. And yes, he said they shouldn't be hired for those jobs - but if they don't fire him, he's laid the groundwork for lawsuits based on "I was told I had the skills I needed to do this job, but the standards were set impossibly high for me." He has damn near announced that being female is a disability, which means it should be covered by the ADA.

There are many, many sides to the HR nightmares he's kicked off.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:51 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


Uggggggggggggggh.

So here's the thing. I've been working with guys like this for the past 22 years, since I entered the working world. I've tried to teach them. I've tried being gentle with them. I've tried coddling them. I've tried being firm with them. I've tried being assertive, I've tried pleading, I've tried fire, I've tried ice, I've tried pretending it's not a problem. I've tried everything I can think of. So have the other people in this thread begging some of you to understand that this is a problem and it needs to not be solely OUR problem anymore. The pushback from a few people insisting that this poor young boy of almost 30 years of age should be treated more kindly? You know y'all are making us do that same goddamn teaching right here and now, right? Like... we're trying to teach YOU, the way you want us to teach this fool. But we can't reach you. You won't listen. You refuse. You are the problem. How can you not see?
posted by palomar at 9:52 AM on August 7 [105 favorites]


If we get to the end of the day without a clear indication that Google has fired this man and/or unequivocally denounced what he said, then I will be forced to conclude that Google is led by fucking morons who want their asses handed to them in court.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:53 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


With perfect timing, I just found this article, "The Men Who Never Have to Grow Up". A relevant quote (emphasis mine):
If boys will be boys, then girls must be grown-ups, whose job it is to protect men from their worst impulses. Witness every administrative body, from middle school to Congress, that has decided that it’s easier and more culturally acceptable to police girls’ and women’s clothing than it is boys’ behavior.

Should one of these fine young fellows slip — inflamed, perhaps, by one bare shoulder too many — there’s probably a woman to blame, and it’s his punishment, not his crime, that becomes the tragedy.
posted by XtinaS at 9:53 AM on August 7 [53 favorites]


palomar: Like... we're trying to teach YOU, the way you want us to teach this fool. But we can't reach you. You won't listen. You refuse. You are the problem. How can you not see?

If it helps, I can say from past experience that all of the writing that you and others have done in this thread might change one or two minds, later, after the self-defense instinct has worn off. Maybe they won't say anything about it, but it does make a difference.
posted by clawsoon at 9:58 AM on August 7 [6 favorites]


If we get to the end of the day without a clear indication that Google has fired this man and/or unequivocally denounced what he said, then I will be forced to conclude that Google is led by fucking morons who want their asses handed to them in court.

Thew doc was leaked in the first place and the people who are going to be doing the disciplining are very, very, very much against leaks. I hope there will be a public statement soon enough but don't conflate a lack of public statements with a lack of internal activity. A measurable portion of the company is dealing with this on various levels currently.
posted by GuyZero at 10:07 AM on August 7


I've tried to teach them. I've tried being gentle with them. I've tried coddling them. I've tried being firm with them. I've tried being assertive, I've tried pleading, I've tried fire, I've tried ice, I've tried pretending it's not a problem. I've tried everything I can think of.

Me too. My life got exponentially easier when I realized that it literally is not my job to teach a grown-ass adult how to act like a grown-ass adult.
posted by vignettist at 10:08 AM on August 7 [12 favorites]


Why are arrogant male engineers so bent on preserving the career of someone who's just like them...

That snarky shit doesn't really have much basis here, and is pretty close to an ad hominem. At no point have I even hinted at support with the views, or him as a person.

The immediate response of 'protecting' his job through privilege are missing my point entirely. I don't care if this guy keeps his job. He's a turd, frankly, but I just don't think firing people for saying stupid stuff is necessarily the best way to fix 'people thinking and believing stupid stuff'. It protects the company, but how does that change the mentality? It just moves it somewhere else. Plus there are just too many of these people still - we are not in a majority-enlightened society that has a few outliers that need fixing. It's still systemic and deeper rooted.

re: Learnt his lesson - that was an *aim* of any action at this point not a claim to something that happened. I have no idea if they guy thinks less 1915 now, or otherwise, but this sort of thing needs educating out, not punishing. Maybe an 'awareness reassignment training thing', I don't know. Just kicking the person out and making them bitter may not do it. These crappy viewpoints are far more widespread (much like the overt racism in the US that has come up this year) that it should be - if you fired every person that thinks this way the workforce would be too small to support the companies. This prehistoric view needs to be educated out, and knowing that it is there, and people demonstrating that it is still prevalent is (while shitty to hear) important. Get it out in the open and fix it. Punishing it for getting it out in the open doesn't help.

Google's company issues aside - if the response to this widespread crap this guys believes is always that people get maximum punishment, 'it' (the people that feel this way and believe it) doubles down and hides again. It feels persecuted. It feels like a battle that they can rally against. It WIDENS the divide between what they think and what is right. It's unhelpful to education if people don't show what they really think.
posted by Brockles at 10:08 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Google's company issues aside - if the response to this widespread crap this guys believes is always that people get maximum punishment, 'it' (the people that feel this way and believe it) doubles down and hides again. It feels persecuted. It feels like a battle that they can rally against. It WIDENS the divide between what they think and what is right. It's unhelpful to education if people don't show what they really think.

Yes, that's the goal. To drive them out and force them to hide their toxic, damaging viewpoints and to not give it air time in society. To widen the divide between what they think and what is right, because what they think is really, really wrong. This mentality should be *crushed*. And if they decide to take this further and engage in truly antisocial behavior (that violates the law) in "revenge" for not being given air time, then we throw them in fucking prison and let them rot.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:14 AM on August 7 [22 favorites]


I just don't think firing people for saying stupid stuff is necessarily the best way to fix 'people thinking and believing stupid stuff'.

The whole point of everyone responding here is that it's not just "stupid stuff". It has a company wide impact on tens of thousands of women and people of color, and secondarily, on every manager there who has to deal with the fallout; it has a company wide impact on an ongoing investigation into discriminatory labour practices that could cost Google hundreds of millions of dollars; it has an industry wide impact on participation by women and PoC, seeing 1/3rd of Googlers believing the same "stupid stuff".

This is what's being weighed in the balance against firing him, and that's why it seems so unbelievable that people are trying to defend his continued employment. No one is that valuable in light of all that damage that was done, and ignoring that damage being done is part and parcel of our long, shitty history of sexism and racism in a patriarchal society.
posted by fatbird at 10:15 AM on August 7 [31 favorites]


Again Brockles, you seem very set on reaching and converting the die-hard misogynist, and completely unconcerned with the impact he has on those around him. Maybe fixing every misogynist in society shouldn't be the job of women Google employees? Maybe their collective welfare is more important than the long term opinions of this one dude and his mates? Like, people double down and feel persecuted, but they're not creating a hateful environment for anyone else or spreading the idea that what they believe is acceptable for a civilised person to think and say - fb keeping him on absolutely does. It's entirely about making an active effort to delegitimise the dude and his opinions. Maybe that pisses him off, but it helps eliminate it more broadly in the company, and in society. Not least, it sends the message to women that they aren't lesser. Letting the dude off the hook sends the message that it's perfectly acceptable if not reasonable to think they aren't.

You absolutely do not fix misogyny by asking women to walk around with their heads bent and put up. You eliminate it by taking actions so that don't have to, by making the misogynist bend their heads and shut up. And by setting meaningful consequences for them if they don't.
posted by Dysk at 10:18 AM on August 7 [28 favorites]


if you fired every person that thinks this way the workforce would be too small to support the companies

There's 51% of the world population ready and waiting on the sidelines to take their place.

This idea that we must suffer assholes because they are so valuable and irreplaceable is profoundly wrong.
posted by JackFlash at 10:19 AM on August 7 [74 favorites]


if you fired every person that thinks this way the workforce would be too small to support the companies.

Think of all the women and minorities who would finally have shots at success in Silicon Valley after you cleared out all the bigots who 1) keep them from getting an interview and 2) make their workplaces unbearable.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:20 AM on August 7 [59 favorites]


He's a turd, frankly, but I just don't think firing people for saying stupid stuff is necessarily the best way to fix 'people thinking and believing stupid stuff'.

re: Learnt his lesson - that was an *aim* of any action at this point not a claim to something that happened.


The myopic focus on this guy is an extension of the misogyny. I literally don't care about this dude or anything he thinks or believes in his heart of hearts. I care whether women and POC experience harm as a result of his actions (including the actions of speaking and writing). Whether retribution is warranted, whether he can be rehabilitated, whether firing him is a deterrent to others are secondary concerns. The primary concern should be removing his ability to continue to act in ways that harm the women and POC who work at Google. If Google wants to pay him to sit at home and eat cookies, I think that would be ridiculous, but it would be better than letting him continue in a role that requires women and POC to interact with him.

It's not about him. It's not about how to make him a better person. It's not about making any other men better people. It's about preventing him from hurting others.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:20 AM on August 7 [58 favorites]


And like, even if you think it's a feedback loop and not the case that eliminating and discrediting misogynistic propaganda will remove misogyny, why is breaking that part of the feedback loop not effective at all? People don't develop these ideas innately, they're communicated. Stopping the communication starves the ideas of new adherents. In the long term, it does kill it. It's the only thing that can.
posted by Dysk at 10:21 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I hadn't kept up with this story/thread over the weekend, and I am flabbergasted that this person still has a job.

If I was a Googler right now, I would very loudly be threatening to quit. This person is destroying the reputation of the company and everybody who works for it, while promoting a profoundly toxic internal culture.

I'm rarely in favor of firing employees, but this is such a clear-cut case. If Google can't deal with this in an appropriate manner, what other aspects of their employees' welfare are they willing to overlook?
posted by schmod at 10:22 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


Who even claimed that the point of this whole thing was to change this dude's mind?
posted by XtinaS at 10:22 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]



When you think people doubt your capacity because of your gender or race, your performance suffers

Our employment and self realization is directly affected by these "stupid opinions"
posted by Tarumba at 10:24 AM on August 7 [24 favorites]


Not to mention that misogyny and racism are not social values that contribute to the fabric of society and which we should be concerned with preserving. They destroy the fabric of society and oppress an enormous number of people.

if you fired every person that thinks this way the workforce would be too small to support the companies.

Oh my GOD. Actually, we could replace every single one of them with an equally qualified person, and be far better for it, because that person would actually be a better representative of the population as a whole.

And in this case, we're talking about firing *one* mid-level software engineer who is, by all accounts, absolutely nothing special professionally. Pretty sure there are a shitload of those in the Bay Area, not to mention all over the country, not to mention the millions graduating from college this year.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:25 AM on August 7 [35 favorites]


I'm honestly to the point where I'd have more respect for people insisting that this guy needs more hand-holding, more consideration, more protection, more insulation from the damaging impact of his shitty, shitty manifesto, if these people would just admit that the welfare of a solitary, privileged white man means more to them than the welfare of the hundreds or even thousands of people whose lives are made worse for having to endure working with him in the toxic atmosphere he has created.

Seriously. You're up in here going on a multi-comment screed about the poor guy? Just admit that you prioritize the feelings and experiences of privileged white men over everyone else. That, at least, would be honest.
posted by palomar at 10:26 AM on August 7 [44 favorites]


This went a wee bit further than "saying stupid stuff." An isolated off-color remark in the break room is saying stupid stuff. Posting a ten-page manifesto to a company board with your name on it is a bit more impactful, particularly when it showcases horribly retrograde views on gender and race.

And people who sympathize with those views _should_ feel uncomfortable.
posted by delfin at 10:29 AM on August 7 [13 favorites]


"Who even claimed that the point of this whole thing was to change this dude's mind?"

I interpreted the "don't fire him" comments as implying he should be get diversity training, but now I realize people might have been advocating for him to have zero consequences and everyone around him should just accept this snowflake and work with him as if nothing happened.
posted by Tarumba at 10:29 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


“What Does Psychological Safety Mean in Silicon Valley?” Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer, 07 August 2017
posted by ob1quixote at 10:30 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


could we, like, pin palomar's comment to the top of every goddamn thread like this please? thanks.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 10:31 AM on August 7 [15 favorites]


Why are arrogant male engineers so bent on preserving the career of someone who's just like them...
That snarky shit doesn't really have much basis here, and is pretty close to an ad hominem. At no point have I even hinted at support with the views, or him as a person.


it seems to have a lot of basis, and if you don't want to look like you're prioritizing a white dude's learning experience over the lives of minorities and women, maybe don't?

i mean, you did kinda barge into the thread claiming to have read it but didn't understand it, though clearly you haven't given that you're regurgitating points raised and dismissed earlier.
posted by anem0ne at 10:36 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]


No shit!

"But we can't get rid of bigoted white men because then who would do their jobs?" Literally everyone else. "But they wouldn't be nearly as good as these guys!" (The unspoken assertion behind not firing bigoted white men) Yes, they would be, and probably much better, because they actually had to earn their shit and not be granted it by undeserved bias.

That's the argument in a nutshell.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:37 AM on August 7 [28 favorites]


that's why it seems so unbelievable that people are trying to defend his continued employment.

To clarify - I am not defending his continued employment. I'm just not convinced that always firing is the best way to make his views (and more importantly, views like his) go away. I would have no issue with Google firing him - I would if it were up to me. Him personally, I give no fucks about. Zero. None. I also don't even care if he is white, male or whatever. I'm talking about how to make his shitty viewpoint on a cultural (?) level go away in the longer term.

I see and meet these kinds of people and they are often combative. I think if we respond in a combative way it will prevail for longer. Yes, it is objectionable that these views affect people and that it still exists, but in the longer term aim of making this go away permanently, I just have this nagging feeling that making these aresholes feel attacked will make them double down. It doesn't make the issue go away, which I'd much rather happened, but that it remains hidden. Directly attacking makes it 'us and them' which I worry is allowing them to find strength in numbers in their perceived victimisation.

It is awful that people need to deal and be affected by these people, but they are MANY, and it is more of a problem than a few dinosaurs that occassionaly stick their heads up, I think.

Who even claimed that the point of this whole thing was to change this dude's mind?
No-one. I think it is a superb opportunity to educate the masses that believe the same way. I don't care about him personally, but I'd rather the issue itself (as in, the views, and the wrongness of them) was dealt with calmly and rationally (which is being done already, I know) rather than the focus just being on punishment. It is soul destroying to have to go through all this stuff YET AGAIN for those that have to deal with it (which is obvious and decent and human to the rest of us) but a proportion of the population is still, sadly, catching up.

we could replace every single one of them with an equally qualified person, and be far better for it, because that person would actually be a better representative of the population as a whole.
We must move in different circles because this viewpoint (to a smaller and lesser extent) is far more prevalent in a greater proportion of the population from my perspective than yours. I think his views are representative of far more people than you are giving them credit for. It's kind of like the racism that Trump allowed to bubble to the surface - it has shocked people how much more widespread it is than we all thought 2 years ago. Same with racism in the UK with Brexit. Confirmation bias and dealing constantly with our more enlightened peers means we assume that 'most people' think like we do. But maybe I'm cynical, but I don't believe that is the case. I think we're further back than we'd like to be in that progress.

I don't think we are anywhere near as far along the enlightenment path in terms of percentage population as is being suggested. I think it is far more mainstream, just 'not talked about'.

implying he should be get diversity training
Right. Educate it out.
posted by Brockles at 10:37 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


implying he should be get diversity training
Right. Educate it out.


Just out of curiosity, what do you set the odds at that he has never, not once, ever, in his entire life, participated in some form of diversity training?
posted by Etrigan at 10:41 AM on August 7 [13 favorites]


Mike Isaac, an NYT journalist with a remarkable ability to get insider gossip on tech companies, tweeted
also last i heard is that this google guy's manifesto is an internal nightmare for higher ups who are still figuring out what to even do

employee revolt vs legal nightmare plus validates what people already latently believe about engineers and tech anyway

google peer review component of this story is worth digging into. when career path rests on feedback from peers what happens to women here?
posted by Nelson at 10:42 AM on August 7 [13 favorites]


It is soul destroying to have to go through all this stuff YET AGAIN for those that have to deal with it (which is obvious and decent and human to the rest of us) but a proportion of the population is still, sadly, catching up.

I think it's awfully presumptuous and disgusting to demand that people directly harmed by something should shoulder yet more bigotry that you do not suffer or, let's be honest, rarely see. It is not your soul that continually gets burdened and weighed down. It is not your life, your skills called into question. It's the mark of a privileged asshole telling someone else to "turn the other cheek" after the other four have been scoured without you ever having so much as felt the lash.
posted by anem0ne at 10:43 AM on August 7 [24 favorites]


I'm black and in the tech world and the contents of this manifesto are not in the least surprising. I graduated from a HBCU and when I first started out my career, I had at least two occasions where a white person insinuated I was there because of some need to fill a quota rather than any real skill I have.
posted by RedShrek at 10:43 AM on August 7 [34 favorites]


The immediate response of 'protecting' his job through privilege are missing my point entirely. I don't care if this guy keeps his job. He's a turd, frankly, but I just don't think firing people for saying stupid stuff is necessarily the best way to fix 'people thinking and believing stupid stuff'. It protects the company, but how does that change the mentality? It just moves it somewhere else. Plus there are just too many of these people still - we are not in a majority-enlightened society that has a few outliers that need fixing. It's still systemic and deeper rooted.

I'm sorry, what?

You can get fired for harassing someone, right? Or are we supposed to keep all the people who grope women in the hallways employed in the hopes of educating them? What about if you call a colleague a racial epithet? Is that a firing offence? What if you start every meeting saying that Buddhists do not have the cultural know how to design UI interfaces because they are too zen? How would that go over?

How exactly is declaring in a widely distributed document that women and POC do not have the chops to succeed professionally in the jobs they currently hold because biology and drive something that needs educating about rather than workplace action (firing)?

Oh right, it's because it's so common to say these things, it must be okay...because his keeping his job is more important that a) recognizing the contribution people are already making and b) ensuring that hiring practices recognize bias.

I'm wrestling with this because I cannot download to you 25 years of professional activity but I will tell you that when management lets this thing go this is what I hear:

"No matter what you do, it will not be good enough because you have a vagina."
"Every time you take a risk and say something/try something new/make a mistake (essential for learning) you will be double judged because you are assumed to be stupid already"

...and by the way that means I will NOT get promoted or become the best, because becoming the best means working at the edge and doing those things to look stupid or make mistakes - but because I'm a woman, they will knock me out of the running AND

...by the way that is exactly on an incredibly different scale what you are wanting to do here - make this guy's egregious, HATEFUL paper okay when it makes it not okay for thousands of women and people of colour.

Honestly, people do need to get fired sometimes. When they are damaging the people around them seems like a good place to start.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:43 AM on August 7 [21 favorites]


Right. Educate it out.

I have never once known of an instance where a dude was "given a second chance" and learned his lesson.

I have known MANY instances where one person was fired for going too far, and the ripple effects throughout an org caused many other borderline dudes to start acting like adult professionals.

I mean, I'm willing to be convinced that gentle re-education is the better option, but I'll need to see some evidence that it has ever worked ever.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:43 AM on August 7 [41 favorites]


We must move in different circles because this viewpoint (to a smaller and lesser extent) is far more prevalent in a greater proportion of the population from my perspective than yours. I think his views are representative of far more people than you are giving them credit for.

It doesn't matter if they're represented in greater numbers in the population. What matters is their representation in the workplace, which they are not entitled to. I mean sure, one can think whatever they want in the privacy of their own head. Work with women and POC and hate every minute of it, I don't care. But the minute that starts turning into disseminating discriminatory viewpoints at work or creating a hostile work environment, they gotta go.

This is how it works for EVERYONE else, who gets fired just fine for behavior deemed to be unproductive in the workplace. This is a standard that everyone is required to maintain. One does not deserve an exception and extra chances because one is white and male. Asking for a double standard to excuse people for behavior that is strongly discouraged and punished for other employees is total bullshit.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:45 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]


Oh, and I forgot a third one: I have known umpteen men who got second chances/kindhearted re-education and interpreted them as tacit approval to keep being just as terrible as before.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:46 AM on August 7 [20 favorites]


How many women and minorities do we know who got fired or constructively dismissed for calling that behavior out? Probably a bunch.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:47 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]


Plus, diversity training does not address basic employment shit like don't make your company look sexist, don't share personal opinions on professional channels, and do your damn research before coming up with stupid fucking solutions no one asked for, fool.
posted by Tarumba at 10:47 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I'm just not convinced that always firing is the best way to make his views (and more importantly, views like his) go away.

Um...it gets him out of his workplace and it lets everyone around him know they should keep their toxic views out of the workplace and let people do their jobs? It lets women breathe a little bit easier to know you can't say women suck at coding and then be on peer review tasks?
posted by warriorqueen at 10:48 AM on August 7 [28 favorites]


Hey, Brockles. I want to ask you something.

You're in a thread full of of women who have experienced sexism during their careers--many of them in the same industry as this guy.

For this comment only, I'm going to be extremely charitable and assume that you're actually being honest, both with us and with yourself, when you say your only concern is combating sexism in the workplace. I'm going to assume that your focus on this guy's opportunity to learn a lesson, rather than women's equal opportunities in the workplace, isn't because of misplaced empathy or an inability to read women's words.

With that assumption in mind, I have a question for you:

Why do you think you know better than all of these women about the best way to address sexism in the workplace?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:48 AM on August 7 [57 favorites]


I see and meet these kinds of people and they are often combative. I think if we respond in a combative way it will prevail for longer. Yes, it is objectionable that these views affect people and that it still exists, but in the longer term aim of making this go away permanently, I just have this nagging feeling that making these aresholes feel attacked will make them double down. It doesn't make the issue go away, which I'd much rather happened, but that it remains hidden. Directly attacking makes it 'us and them' which I worry is allowing them to find strength in numbers in their perceived victimisation.


I, and every single other woman commenting in this thread, see, meet, are familiy to, live with, work with, and have to coexist with 'these kinds of people'. I and many other women have spent years, even patient decades with some, carefully trying to toe that line where I don't alienate them but can still influence their thinking.

You've ignored the people addressing this and saying that it does not work as a large-scale solution.

You've ignored the suggestion that, rather than the best way forward being to focus all of our emotional good will and effort on ignorant, bigoted, misogynist men, we should put that effort into positively boosting the women they think are inferior, either directly (hiring, etc.) or indirectly (by getting rid of this guy and his ilk).

You've continued instead to favor the idea that the true key to improving everyone's lives (the group women are included in) is, really, to improve the lives of the people who hold these misogynist views (primarily men--via lenient or lesser punishment and a stab at 'personal growth' and education that has very little precedent of even happening).

Think on this a little bit, please.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 10:52 AM on August 7 [42 favorites]


Brockles: That snarky shit doesn't really have much basis here, and is pretty close to an ad hominem.

It's a conclusion I've come to based on my own unscientific observations. People's opinions on disputed questions of justice seem to track moderately well with their gut instincts about how their similarity to the person in question might have a material impact on them. If you look through this thread, for example, you'll find that the majority (all?) of the people who are saying that he shouldn't lose his job over this are male techs of one stripe or another - people who might hypothetically have something to fear for themselves if he loses his job.

It's not universal. Plenty of people have the empathy to be able to cross the divide, sooner or later, but that does seem to be more difficult when arrogance and/or fear are part of the equation.

So when I'm doing my own thinking about it, I have to put my own fears aside and try to look at the balance of harms. (Yes, I know, that will infuriate many people. Sorry.) And I've gotta say... in my view, the concrete harms outlined again and again in this thread by people who have faced unnecessary bullshit in their workplace and careers because of the unpunished expression at work of opinions like his heavily outweighs the harms that might be caused by employees realizing that they should interact professionally.
posted by clawsoon at 10:53 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


Thelonius, the term "pearl-clutching" is only used to disparage women. It does so in a belittling way, characterizing women as clutching their pearls in dismay. This is sexist crap and would you please take a moment to examine your bias, please?

see also, hysteria
posted by theora55 at 10:55 AM on August 7 [13 favorites]


Right. Educate it out.

I'm sure this will work well and not make anyone double down on comments about forced re-education camps and freeze peach police and so on. It'll definitely lead to a total conversion instead. There's absolutely no way it could possibly have the effect you're so worried about, only without the benefit of signal-sending. Yup. Definitely.

Sarcasm aside, I don't give a shit if every misogynist doubles down on their hearts forever, as long as we prevent them from spreading their ideas, from having any validity. Three hardcore misogynists are, as a whole, largely write-off in terms of hearts and minds. We can, however, limit their impact, both on people now, and the received ideas of future generations.

And that's what you're opposing.
posted by Dysk at 10:56 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]


We must move in different circles because this viewpoint (to a smaller and lesser extent) is far more prevalent in a greater proportion of the population from my perspective than yours. I think his views are representative of far more people than you are giving them credit for. It's kind of like the racism that Trump allowed to bubble to the surface - it has shocked people how much more widespread it is than we all thought 2 years ago. Same with racism in the UK with Brexit. Confirmation bias and dealing constantly with our more enlightened peers means we assume that 'most people' think like we do. But maybe I'm cynical, but I don't believe that is the case. I think we're further back than we'd like to be in that progress.

I don't think any of the women posting here think this viewpoint is rare. I know that a lot of men don't think I'm fully human. I know this because I exist as a woman in this society. In so many subtle ways -- nothing nearly as explicit as this document -- men let me know that I'm not as worthy as they are. This is my everyday lived reality. And I work in the arts.

Likewise very few of the people of color I know were surprised by Trump's election. The level of racism in the United States wasn't new to them. They lived it every day. It's why that one SNL sketch just post the election landed so well.

What I see people asking for is to be thought of in the process. That the default place of empathy doesn't go to the guy who wrote the document, but his female and POC colleagues. Who are dealing with a much subtler form of this sort of thing every single day.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 10:59 AM on August 7 [39 favorites]


theora55, I apologize for "pearl-clutching" but I really do think my point is valid: Google seems to promote people writing these internal emails on company time, so that's not grounds for firing: they need to base grounds for firing on the content of the message.
posted by thelonius at 11:02 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I'm not opposing anything. Fire the guy. But don't JUST fire the guy, and then fire the next one. And then fire the next one. That's not a long term solution.

I'd rather the viewpoints went away permanently, rather than just stop it affecting the workplace. That is probably a wildly unlikely/unrealistic view, but that's what I'd rather see happen than just people shut the fuck up about their toxic views at work and be prehistoric idiots in private, because that means they are teaching their kids that it's ok to think that as long as they don't say it at work.

That may be shooting at the moon to address that, though.
posted by Brockles at 11:02 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


"Sarcasm aside, I don't give a shit if every misogynist doubles down on their hearts forever, as long as we prevent them from spreading their ideas, from having any validity".

And from interfering with our work and career prospects.
posted by Tarumba at 11:04 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


> I think his views are representative of far more people than you are giving them credit for.

I'm a little surprised you think you need to point this out after the many comments in this thread indicating that yes, we are aware of this. I do not want them working with me and saying this shit out loud. I want them to get consequences - like, the getting-fired kind of consequences - if they do. That would certainly be educational, and if they are so badly educated that they don't know to not say shit like that out loud in the workplace, losing a job over it is an excellent lesson. You think they should get a different kind of education? Go forth and do it. If guys like this actually get fired (not holding my breath, to be honest) over this kind of behavior, they will have time to benefit from the education you are offering. You are offering, right?
posted by rtha at 11:04 AM on August 7 [31 favorites]


But don't JUST fire the guy, and then fire the next one. And then fire the next one. That's not a long term solution.

Why do you ascribe so little conscientiousness to your fellow white men? Several men in this thread alone have come out saying they've changed their minds with time. Men aren't monoliths any more than women. It's not a never-ending stream of misogynist straight white dudes.
posted by fraula at 11:05 AM on August 7 [20 favorites]



I'm not opposing anything. Fire the guy. But don't JUST fire the guy, and then fire the next one. And then fire the next one. That's not a long term solution.


If one of the goals of your workplace is to have a diverse and non-hostile environment for everyone than that is indeed a long term solution to deal with a person that thinks its okay to spout this sort of BS.

They can work out their issues, get educated and figure it out outside of the workplace and not force everyone else to deal with their BS.
posted by Jalliah at 11:07 AM on August 7 [19 favorites]


I'm not opposing anything. Fire the guy. But don't JUST fire the guy, and then fire the next one. And then fire the next one. That's not a long term solution.

I'd rather the viewpoints went away permanently, rather than just stop it affecting the workplace. That is probably a wildly unlikely/unrealistic view, but that's what I'd rather see happen than just people shut the fuck up about their toxic views at work and be prehistoric idiots in private, because that means they are teaching their kids that it's ok to think that as long as they don't say it at work.

That may be shooting at the moon to address that, though.


This is not the first time I have seen this notion/pattern.
  1. Cis White Dude comes in and says they don't think firing is the answer, because education is.
  2. Cis White Dude gets called on it, and begins to backpedal/try to clarify again and again that they're *really* not defending the dickbag who wrote the piece.
  3. Cis White Dude finally comes out and says "Yeah, I'd fire the guy too if it were up to me!"
  4. Cis White Dude says that they're just more interested in a long-term permanent solution, because did you know that there are lots of bigoted people out there?
It'd be funnier if I hadn't seen it here, on the tech Slacks that I'm a part of, in a few FB groups I'm a part of...

And it's always a cis white dude. But don't worry, one of them was Queer.
posted by anem0ne at 11:09 AM on August 7 [40 favorites]


I'd rather the viewpoints went away permanently, rather than just stop it affecting the workplace. That is probably a wildly unlikely/unrealistic view, but that's what I'd rather see happen than just people shut the fuck up about their toxic views at work and be prehistoric idiots in private, because that means they are teaching their kids that it's ok to think that as long as they don't say it at work.

We would all like the viewpoints to go away permanently.

In the meantime, those of us who exist as women or POC still have to have careers and figure out our lives until the patriarchy is finally smashed. And in the short term -- a work place where people are not allowed to share these sorts of views without getting fired helps us have those careers and lives.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 11:10 AM on August 7 [27 favorites]


That's not a long term solution.

Really? Have we tried it yet? Let's give this idea a chance to succeed or fail on its merits.
posted by hades at 11:10 AM on August 7 [43 favorites]



I'm not opposing anything. Fire the guy. But don't JUST fire the guy, and then fire the next one. And then fire the next one. That's not a long term solution.


Genuinely curious: Why do you think this is not a long term solution?

If every large corporation in the world fired people for writing 10-page bigoted screeds don't you think that career centres and mentoring programs and everything down the line would start saying "don't do this?" And in that discussion don't you think there would be some value?

Not only that but meantime perhaps us womenfolk (and other, but I speak for myself) could not have to work with people that we know hold these views?

Because frankly, I do work with people like this (esp at a high level) and I have realized it impacts me every single day I work here. And it is pretty toxic.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:11 AM on August 7 [20 favorites]


Firing sexist and racist people is an excellent long term strategy, in my book. If anything, they'll learn to stfu in their next job.
posted by Tarumba at 11:12 AM on August 7 [22 favorites]


I'm happy to put "Build a Wicker Man" as our fallback option, should the successive firings of misogynistic men not result in the end of the patriarchy.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:13 AM on August 7 [25 favorites]


...I cannot actually believe I just wrote "If every large corporation in the world fired people for writing 10-page bigoted screeds" in 2017 because that is demonstrably not yet the case. I feel like this is an episode of Mad Men.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:13 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


I'm not opposing anything. Fire the guy. But don't JUST fire the guy, and then fire the next one. And then fire the next one. That's not a long term solution.

Um, yeah it is. It totally is.

You sift through people who are clearly unqualified to work in a corporate environment until you find one who is. You set strict rules about tolerance, getting along and proper office etiquette. Violators get shown the door.

Someone says something racist? There's the door. Misogynist? Don't let the doorknob hit you on the way out. Buh. Bye.

Lo and behold, they'll learn something for next time. If they want to keep their next job, that is. It works.

Companies do this all the time. It's a great long-term solution. Doesn't open the company up to lawsuits because an employee couldn't control themselves. Helps other employees feel supported and possibly even protected. Protects the company's rep as a good place to work that isn't filled with assholes.
posted by zarq at 11:14 AM on August 7 [55 favorites]


I think his views are representative of far more people than you are giving them credit for

bro there isn't a single woman in this thread who doesn't already know how much the vast majority of hetero white men hate us.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:15 AM on August 7 [83 favorites]


I find "let's not do something because of reactionary backlash" to be a bad starting place. I think we should assume that reactionary backlash is going to happen and do what helps the most people right now.

Those of us who have been fighting this fight know that we can't smash the patriarchy over night. Trust us, if we could, it would have been done by now.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 11:16 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I'm just not convinced that always firing is the best way to make his views (and more importantly, views like his) go away.

It makes his views no longer have a direct impact on his coworkers, which would be the point of firing him. He's already said he thinks many of them are biologically unqualified - why would any company keep an employee who believes that?

I think if we respond in a combative way it will prevail for longer.

Firing him isn't about "combat;" it's about the fact that he's declared that he's unfit for his job--he spent plenty of time ranting about how he doesn't fit in the company culture, he feels silenced, and he thinks his coworkers aren't capable of doing the work they were hired for.

I think his views are representative of far more people than you are giving them credit for.

I doubt that. I assume most white males in the tech industry think like that. And I'm happy to push the idea of "fire any of them who publicly declare that women, as a gender, aren't qualified to work in tech."

I think diversity training is not enough for this kind of situation - not that it should be ended, because it is helping, but it is obviously not reaching guys like this one. I am entirely okay with "fire any of the bigots who declare that their bigotry is based on biological facts, until the rest are so afraid to mention it that they start questioning their assumptions just because they never hear them spoken by anyone they work with."

Representation matters. We need to be removing their role models. We can't do anything about celebrity bigots, but we can start pushing the idea, "well, that's just for shock value; normal people don't talk like that, because nobody would want to work with such an asshole."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:16 AM on August 7 [8 favorites]


I'd rather the issue itself ... was dealt with calmly and rationally

As opposed to emotionally and hysterically? That is the classic demand of an abuser.

Sounds familiar. Where oh where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, right in his manifesto:

"relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain—causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts."
posted by JackFlash at 11:20 AM on August 7 [27 favorites]


> Why the hell does he also need to be fired? Maybe he is good at his job, and his job has nothing to do with his dumb arse views.

Also, if you want to be more part of the solution and less part of the problem, stop minimizing the fucking problem. His views are not just "dumb arse," they are toxic and damaging, and every time you minimize them you sound like you think they're not a big deal, which makes it sound like you think the effect they have on me, other women, other people of color, is not important. Don't help the missing stair continue to be the missing stair.
posted by rtha at 11:20 AM on August 7 [49 favorites]


I am a woman in tech. I am under no illusion that I don't currently work with men who would agree with this "manifesto." Likely more than one. But they keep their mouth shut and their discriminatory opinions to themselves. I don't know if they consider me to be a diversity hire or a "special case" and I don't care. It's not my job to be their nanny or their therapist.

This manifesto scares me not because I didn't know that I worked with ignorant bigots, but because apparently they now feel empowered enough to put their name to this bigotry and are expecting widespread support for it.
posted by muddgirl at 11:25 AM on August 7 [64 favorites]


Why the hell does he also need to be fired? Maybe he is good at his job, and his job has nothing to do with his dumb arse views.

HIS JOB HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH HIS OPENLY ESPOUSED BIGOTRY

HE STILL HAS TO WORK AMONGST WOMEN WHOSE JOB PERFORMANCE WILL BE AFFECTED BY BEING IN THE PRESENCE OF A HATEFUL PIECE OF SHIT

WHY IS THIS ONE MAN MORE IMPORTANT THAN ALL THOSE WOMEN

good fucking god i feel bad for any women who have to work with you
posted by poffin boffin at 11:26 AM on August 7 [89 favorites]


Brb gonna go nail 99 theses to the door of my multibilliondollar employer calling them authoritarian puppets of the dangerously discriminatory left

They love when I do that
posted by delfin at 11:27 AM on August 7 [17 favorites]


I think his views are representative of far more people than you are giving them credit for.

A lot of people, if left in an empty room with an unattended stack of cash, might think about taking some. But many of those same people go to work in places where they have some kind of access to money and they would never risk their jobs by taking any - because that's a fireable offense, even planning to do so or accidentally behaving in a way that suggests they intended to take advantage would be a fireable offense - and they would back away in horror from a colleague suggesting quietly that they do or would or want to take some. They would go tell someone. Only among a tiny population of bozos would that kind of behavior be condoned.

People who mishandle money lose their jobs, for the most part. That's the culture in most North American workplaces, anyway, and probably others.

We achieved that culture because capitalism is an immense driving force so there wasn't much pushback on repercussions. And it works just fine as a long-term solution.

You can't make people think or not think any specific thing. But you can make certain views so unpopular that they either have to be kept underground among the general population for fear of detection OR they have to be confronted and self-resolved. We can disincentivize those little private management powwows where one manager feels safe to say to another manager that they might as well not promote Employee because she just got married and is going to get pregnant any minute now. We can make it unsafe for some asshole to grumble to you in the breakroom - or say it at home in front of the spouse and kids at the dinner table - that Employee only got hired for quotas. When the likelihood goes UP that the response will be "what the fuck is wrong with you?", it becomes increasingly difficult to sustain those beliefs for all but a particularly dogged segment of the population that isn't going to be fixable anyway.

So Screed Dude can lose his job and figure it out on his own, or pursue his own assistance on his own time. Or not. But the fact of the firing will have a more beneficial effect on the culture at large than keeping him will, not to mention the direct benefit to the people who've had to work with him and his type at Google right now.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:28 AM on August 7 [42 favorites]


> Why the hell does he also need to be fired? Maybe he is good at his job, and his job has nothing to do with his dumb arse views.

Has he ever interacted with a woman? Ever? Is there any possibility he might interact with one in the future?
What about an ethnic minority? Is there any possibility he might interact with a PoC in the future?
AND/OR
Will he ever be put in a situation where he is required to manage or otherwise be in charge of a woman or a person of color? Any chance he'll become a project leader one day?
AND/OR
Does he work in a company with women or PoC employees?

His "dumb-arse views" damn well matter.
posted by zarq at 11:29 AM on August 7 [14 favorites]


[Couple comments removed, I think we're probably good at this point without bumbling into yet another round of "well, maybe he actually has a good point about if everybody could just discuss it calmly".]
posted by cortex at 11:30 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


We know how representative his views are: on the survey widget attached to it, 1/3rd almost or strongly agreed. Firing Damore sends a strong signal that if you hold those views, it's still not okay to foster an internally public discussion of them (with all the legitimizing that entails).
posted by fatbird at 11:35 AM on August 7 [9 favorites]


"I'd rather the issue itself ... was dealt with calmly and rationally"

What's not rational about getting rid of one toxic person who has no mental filters so thousands of people can do their jobs properly?

Coddling this man would be irrational and send a message that his behavior is acceptable, opening the door for future similar incidents.

But what do I know? My ovaries prevent me from logic
posted by Tarumba at 11:37 AM on August 7 [32 favorites]


To Mr. "sittin' in my foxhole defendin' sexist asshole": you may not be convincing anybody, but you're inspiring some amazing eloquence among people who actually understand the world. Congratulations!

*joins everyone else in waiting for the firing and/or Wicker Man*
posted by languagehat at 11:38 AM on August 7 [30 favorites]


i feel like i'm taking crazy pills

multiple women have wasted 3h of their lives trying to get one single man, to understand the many ways in which he and his opinions are misguided and factually incorrect. this is wholly unsurprising to me because he clearly believes this to be the ideal situation: the highest valued person in any such conversation, the person getting the most attention, is the man, whose needs are always paramount. no matter how many carefully, patiently explained parallel scenarios, lived experiences, or hypothetical examples are hand fucking crafted for his edification, he is still Just Asking Questions that have, of course, already been answered multiple times.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:38 AM on August 7 [89 favorites]


He's just given an excuse to every underperforming slacker in the company who's not a white male. And yes, he said they shouldn't be hired for those jobs - but if they don't fire him, he's laid the groundwork for lawsuits based on "I was told I had the skills I needed to do this job, but the standards were set impossibly high for me." He has damn near announced that being female is a disability, which means it should be covered by the ADA.

Disabled software engineer here; I have to meet the same standards as everyone else, thanks. ADA Title 1, like other employment non-discrimination law, doesn't mean that covered employees are held to a lower bar. Which is kind of relevant to this topic and thread, no?
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:42 AM on August 7 [17 favorites]


Yep. That seems like a pretty accurate sum up.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 11:42 AM on August 7


In a perverse way, requiring Google to keep him employed and successfully educate the bigotry out of him while being responsible for all liability he causes in the meantime would be a GREAT way to make sure Google quits hiring bigots, because if you can't cut them loose until you've fixed them AND you have to keep paying for their lawsuits, you're gonna go full-bore thought police during the hiring process to avoid the problem.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:42 AM on August 7 [16 favorites]


I'd rather the viewpoints went away permanently, rather than just stop it affecting the workplace.

it's not google's or any employer's task to permanently do away with poor attitudes in a society - it IS their job to keep it from affecting their workplace

the best way to do that is to fire people who are way out of line with their attitudes - and this guy is

i know this is just rumors but i read up thread that google is worried about some kind of employee rebellion if they fire this guy? and that they're worried about who leaked this to the outside world?

what a shitfest

you know if the guy had made comments to his friends or had sent an email to a few people, maybe, just maybe, you could put him on probation - but this? - he went with the nuclear option, he rubbed the company's face in it, he created a shitstorm

google needs to quit dawdling and realize that this is their wake up call to real action

frankly, considering the cavalier attitude they seem to have with the effects their company has on the bay area, i suspect they're just going to shrug it off and be very quiet about it, in that passive aggressive "do no evil" kind of way ...
posted by pyramid termite at 11:50 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't think they would have to go full-bore thought police. They could simply revamp the idea-generating environment to require review and approval before submissions are published. And shut down the current one completely, because if people can't be responsible then they lose their toys.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:51 AM on August 7


As for the employee rebellion, if I were Google, I would call that fucking bluff. Go ahead and quit, bigots. Or, by all means, do something that damages the company's property or reputation and get fired and then sued.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:55 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


on the survey widget attached to it, 1/3rd almost or strongly agreed.

i wish that not being surprised made it easier to shrug off

but no, i'm just as angry

and men who want me to discuss "calmly" and "rationally" whether i'm cut out for the same work as them* can fuck right off

* as if i have not done this before, as if it would not be the five thousandth time, as if this is ever demanded in good faith
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:57 AM on August 7 [27 favorites]


On reflection, if the employee rebellion took the form of women and POC quitting in droves or calling out Google for its lack of action, then I would not want to see them sued or harmed for going against the status quo. So calling the bluff would not benefit under-represented groups at all while not harming Google in the long run. Hmm.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:58 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Has Alphabet/Google made any further comments or announced any action? All I can find is reference to Danielle Brown's official response.
posted by Artful Codger at 12:01 PM on August 7


Not that I’m aware of AC. I’d expect something by close of business today maybe, but who knows what’s going on internally?
posted by pharm at 12:02 PM on August 7


I think Google is a relatively privileged company in that the people it recruits from elite universities may not be the kind who believe the way to solve problems is to fire people, and that making it about the person (for example calling a person a bigot) is not an appropriate approach. There's a privileged narrative of being able to believe that teammates make mistakes and can learn. At CMU I know it's even a thing that's told to engineering students--the idea of assuming the other person is reasonable. To what extent depends on the type of institution.

So it's not just a place that prides itself (I.e. Google's public image) on some notion of creativity; it already is an elite institution. So when people outside the circle make the issue about whether to fire, there's a risk of projecting non-Google expectations and value systems about how corporations work.

Fot example, Serve Jobs got fired but the point is it's a different era now. And it is a sore reminder today that people who are elites are simply treated better. It's another thing to resent that, and on reflection how to separate that out.
posted by polymodus at 12:06 PM on August 7


Rooms full of lawyers?

(this guy must be A REAL STAR if they haven't already called actual police to enforce trespassing laws to make sure his departure is as efficient as possible)
posted by Yowser at 12:07 PM on August 7


anyway i'd love to stay and handhold more men thru learning about basic human empathy but i urgently need to go rewatch south korea singlehandedly destroying the entire dive comp meta bye
posted by poffin boffin at 12:07 PM on August 7 [33 favorites]


Brockles you've been here since....2006? Wow. You seem to have missed a lot. You might start with the Emotional Labor thread.

And every thread tagged "sexism."

It's gonna take you a while. But if you are truly so confused by this thread, you should spend some time doing that reading.
posted by emjaybee at 12:07 PM on August 7 [16 favorites]


Well, GOOGL is down 92 cents a share, and at 290 million shares, that's $266,800,000 less than they had on Friday.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:10 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Well, GOOGL is down 92 cents a share, and at 290 million shares, that's $266,800,000 less than they had on Friday.

My woman brain biologically can't process numbers, so I have no idea what you're saying. Can you rephrase your statement in the form of a casserole recipe?
posted by melissasaurus at 12:24 PM on August 7 [96 favorites]


Well, GOOGL is down 92 cents a share, and at 290 million shares, that's $266,800,000 less than they had on Friday.

Yeah, but think of how much productivity they would have lost if they had fired this one super qualified tech dude!
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:24 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


There's a privileged narrative of being able to believe that teammates make mistakes and can learn. At CMU I know it's even a thing that's told to engineering students--the idea of assuming the other person is reasonable.

The dude in question literally posted a 10-page manifesto to his entire company saying that women are less reasonable ("more neurotic") than men and that's why they aren't good at or interested in making computer software. Why should he get the benefit of the doubt that he categorically refused to extend to half of the people in the entire world?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:25 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


Autumnheart: Well, GOOGL is down 92 cents a share, and at 290 million shares, that's $266,800,000 less than they had on Friday.

If there's any bunch of people I've met who ooze misogyny, it's guys in finance. I wouldn't be surprised if a bunch of them are saying, "Oh no, Google might be forced to fire the obviously more qualified and brilliant white male engineers, this a threat to their business!" There are few groups whose moral judgement I trust less.
posted by clawsoon at 12:29 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Why should he get the benefit of the doubt that he categorically refused to extend to half of the people in the entire world?

Yeah, the Principle of Charity is a two-way street.
posted by rhizome at 12:30 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


The dude in question literally posted a 10-page manifesto to his entire company saying that women are less reasonable ("more neurotic")

This isn't even controversial at the population level in modern psych research as far as I'm aware. Typical recent paper.

Whether the author actually understands what this means is another question entirely of course.
posted by pharm at 12:34 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Why should he get the benefit of the doubt that he categorically refused to extend to half of the people in the entire world?

Because he's a dude and more than 1/3 of his fellow dudes agree with him.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:34 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


The dude in question literally posted a 10-page manifesto to his entire company saying that women are less reasonable ("more neurotic")
This isn't even controversial at the population level in modern psych research as far as I'm aware. Typical recent paper.

Whether the author actually understands what this means is another question entirely of course.


"neurotic", as referenced in that paper, isn't a synonym or related to "reasonable"

so it's not like even you're understanding what it means.
posted by anem0ne at 12:36 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Why should he get the benefit of the doubt that he categorically refused to extend to half of the people in the entire world?

Okay first it was not a manifesto, it was gibberish that my brain could not process and would not be bothered to help him improve on.

Second, neuroticism is a psychology Big-5 theory term which is only context where that makes sense. I'm actually a queer, non-masculine PoC who happens to rank more neurotic according to that model. The term doesn't offend me, it's just what it is, a piece of jargon. My question back at you would be, what allows you to take a standard word used in psychology and read that as the author calling a group of people less reasonable?

Third, to make it clearer I was describing what CMU's cultural expectations for its students are. That line about presupposing the other's rationality can be found on their one of their websites. So I was describing it, not necessarily condoning it which would be a different argument. FWIW when I read it myself (on a CMU webpage), I was pretty upset because sounded so patronizing.
posted by polymodus at 12:36 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


indeed, if you went through and actually looked at what the trains linked with each of the big five are, "reasonable" would fit under "conscientiousness", which, let's see what that paper has to say:
Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness describes traits related to self-discipline, organization, and the control of impulses, and appears to reflect the ability to exert self-control in order to follow rules or maintain goal pursuit. Women score somewhat higher than men on some facets of Conscientiousness, such as order, dutifulness, and self-discipline (Feingold, 1994; Costa et al., 2001). These differences, however, are not consistent across cultures, and no significant gender difference has typically been found in Conscientiousness at the Big Five trait level (Costa et al., 2001).

oh
posted by anem0ne at 12:37 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


(searches original doc for "reasonable") Nope, nothing.

The quote regarding neuroticism is here:
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.
Am I missing some text somewhere?
posted by pharm at 12:43 PM on August 7


I never said it was a synonym for reasonable:that was Snarl Furillo above & I’m not sure where they got it from. My supposition is that the original author was referring to the Big 5 trait.
posted by pharm at 12:46 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Today's post on Fritinancy: Word of the week: Screed
…In other words, using screed betrays one kind of bias (“I hate what this guy is saying”) while manifesto betrays another (“I may not agree with what he’s saying, but at least it – like the Unabomber’s self-described manifesto – follows a certain internal logic”). The memo’s argument is in fact specious and lacking in documentation (do women really have “higher anxiety and lower stress tolerance” than men, especially men in stressful jobs?), and its tone is too deceptively neutral to qualify as a diatribe (“a bitter and violent criticism; an invective”). It may best be defined as a polemic: “a controversial argument; a strong verbal or written attack on a person, opinion, or doctrine.”…
posted by Lexica at 12:47 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


From that "typical recent paper"

Many people, including Bill Cosby, perceive the differences between men and women to be large – so large, in fact, that communication between genders may be difficult.


"Many people, including Bill Cosby"

many people, including bill cosby

Everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:51 PM on August 7 [63 favorites]


This isn't even controversial at the population level in modern psych research as far as I'm aware. Typical recent paper.

Your citation starts with a quote from Bill Cosby. I will credit the authors with as much authority about gender relations as I would anyone who cites Ed Gein's recipe for venison sausage.
posted by stet at 12:52 PM on August 7 [24 favorites]


Sorry about that queenofbithynia: if I'd noticed I'd have picked a different paper - there was no shortage.

In defence of the authors, the Cosby revelations went public in 2014 or so? This was a 2011 paper.
posted by pharm at 12:53 PM on August 7


In hindsight, we can see that what seemed like a throwaway line by the author is in fact quite revealing.
posted by Yowser at 12:55 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


Which set of Cosby revelations? Because.
posted by XtinaS at 12:55 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


stet: Feel free to look up the research yourself. The wikipedia page probably has as good a reference list as any.
posted by pharm at 12:56 PM on August 7



In defence of the authors, the Cosby revelations went public in 2014 or so?


No.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:56 PM on August 7 [16 favorites]


Was Cosby ever credible as anything other than an entertainer or conservative moralist?
posted by acb at 12:57 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


In defence of the authors, the Cosby revelations went public in 2014 or so?

"Public" in the sense of "a man is talking about them so people take notice", yes; Hannibal Buress's take on it went viral in 2014.
posted by Etrigan at 12:59 PM on August 7 [17 favorites]


I think 2014 is when it went from 'this is a thing that people sort of know, but don't publicly admit to knowing' to 'this is a thing that everyone knows that everyone else knows'. Maybe I’m wrong?

It doesn't make any difference to the research results however - you can pull any one of a bunch of papers on the topic.
posted by pharm at 1:00 PM on August 7


p.s. I have never heard that Henny Youngman was a rapist, because unlike Bill Cosby, he was not notorious for it throughout my youth and adulthood -- although you can bet I would check up on that before I cited him in any published paper -- but I would downgrade any research that opened a discussion of gender relations with a "Take my wife -- please!" reference. because ha ha, women is not as much of a universal comedy icebreaker as airplane food, am I right?

there's more than one reason to be stopped dead by that line.
posted by queenofbithynia at 1:01 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


So, has he been fired yet?
posted by chavenet at 1:01 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


So, because of one (deeply unfortunate & ill advised) quote on one paper, you're going to ignore the sum total of current psych research on the topic.

OK.
posted by pharm at 1:03 PM on August 7


"communication between genders may be difficult."

This is code for, women don't let me get away with bullshit, even if I SAY that I am logical and reasonable, and since they do not agree with ME, the issue is communication, not the fact that I can't engage I honest and respectful discussion, or the fact that I don't know how to shut up and trust that they know their own experiences better. Or the fact that my head is up my ass.

PS if the original author himself admits that communication and other people skills are mainly a women thing, he is forfeiting any right to say his communication style is as good as that of women. By his own admission he should engage in conversation on our terms, because we know better, and we think he should shut up about things he doesn't understand.

In fact, as the original author suggests, we should look at the skill set he has assigned to each gender, and from now on, men should do all the data processing, and women should rule anything that requires people skills, such as management and any decision making ever.

We'll start with politics.
posted by Tarumba at 1:07 PM on August 7 [35 favorites]


and: going back a little bit to the invocation of gendered interest in people vs. things: software is an artifact of the human brain. it is made for people, directly, and for processes that have effects on people, indirectly. there is no way to be interested in software without being interested in people unless and until kitty cats learn to code. This is highly relevant to why many people find it boring.

same with the arts, except that in the arts, kitty cats and elephants can and do paint, so you can actually be interested in art without caring about people at all. but not software.

the call for critiques of the studies is ridiculously far ahead of itself. if anyone wants to take them seriously, get hold of their definitions of "people" and "things" first. you don't ever accept an apparently nonsense division like that without examination, or assume that a "common-sense" definition is either in effect or is itself correct.
posted by queenofbithynia at 1:10 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


Goodness in a world where we are unable to get men to see us as fully human WHO COULD IMAGINE we would rate more highly on neuroticism.

It's a fucking mystery.
posted by winna at 1:14 PM on August 7 [50 favorites]


From the Wikipedia entry on neuroticism pharm links to:
Individuals who score high on neuroticism are more likely than average to be moody and to experience such feelings as anxiety, worry, fear, anger, frustration, envy, jealousy, guilt, depressed mood, and loneliness.
I will admit that as a woman (and thinking of my daughter), just reading this thread is making me experience most of those feelings. If women are in fact more "neurotic," maybe it’s due to dealing with shit like this.
posted by Kriesa at 1:15 PM on August 7 [19 favorites]


So, because of one (deeply unfortunate & ill advised) quote on one paper, you're going to ignore the sum total of current psych research on the topic.

If the field doesn't take the matter seriously, why should we?
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:18 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


So, because of one (deeply unfortunate & ill advised) quote on one paper, you're going to ignore the sum total of current psych research on the topic.

Your take on the topic is being dismissed because you chose a garbage 2011 paper as an example of the sum total of current psych research on the topic, indicating that your expertise is not to be trusted.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:21 PM on August 7 [46 favorites]


there is no way to be interested in software without being interested in people

This is a hair-split, but no, software is its own reward, in many cases. There are many, many software problems which are about unique processes that can be considered and solved without ever thinking about the human aspect. Think algorithms, sort trees, lookups, db schemas, etc.

Yes the human must always be considered at the higher level, as the user of the software, but even then the human aspect can be reduced to a predefined set of use-cases, prepared by someone else, that you have to handle.

Perhaps this is an explanation for why many software engineers can succeed without being particularly empathic.

/hairsplit
posted by Artful Codger at 1:23 PM on August 7


(Currently laughing about pre-defined use cases.)
posted by XtinaS at 1:26 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


It bothers me that many people inside and outside of Google read parts or all of his screed/manifesto and didn't see all of the errors in it. He makes unsupported claims, he imagines his imagination is factual, he centers his feelings and pretends he's objective, he makes other errors of sloppy logic. But the bros and bro sympathizers who nodded along with him may not have seen these flaws. I would like the flaws in the document to be highlighted and the contradictory evidence to be linked so that it's a click away in case anyone is out there who might be educable.

I would like to see a complete fisking of his article, which I would then like to have everyone at Google who needs to wake up on this topic have to read it. I'd like this work to be done by white men, so women and people of color don't have to do it. I don't know how to make this happen. Wishing really hard probably won't cut it.

I think I understand wanting to sever him from the Google workforce. I just wish he couldn't become a martyr to the alt-right. I don't want to hear Fox news guests dropping his name every week for the next ten years. But that's a minor objection.
posted by puddledork at 1:39 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


It bothers me that many people inside and outside of Google read parts or all of his screed/manifesto and didn't see all of the errors in it.

(I was blown away that a PhD would have put their name to something with so many errors.)
posted by Artful Codger at 1:42 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


"I don't know how to make this happen. Wishing really hard probably won't cut it."

Harvard should be required to have an Office of Refuting Meretricious Bullshit Put Forth by Our Graduates Using Our Name to Lend Credence to Their Stupidity, Because It's Our Fault for Doing Such a Bad Job Educating Them, Sorry.

(I actually kind-of think all colleges should have this, there was a prominent anti-vaccine advocate from my alma mater for a while and every time she spoke in public and cited her degrees I was like "SHUT UP YOU STUPID DINGUS AND STOP DEVALUING MY DEGREE BY BEING A FUCKING MORON IN PUBLIC!" and it would have been okay with me if they'd rescinded her degree for obviously not working, which I realize is a terrible can of worms that should not occur in the real world because it would lead to terrible abuses but a girl can dream.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:46 PM on August 7 [34 favorites]


So there's this, which to some extent seems like bullshit but I'm not a lawyer? If it takes paying this guy off to get rid of him it seems like a no-brainer (especially with all the liability this guy's screed has opened the company to) but it may explain the lack of immediate action.
posted by edeezy at 1:49 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


(I was blown away that a PhD would have put their name to something with so many errors.)

For every PhD, there is an equal and opposite PhD. Also, I'm blown away, because up till this point I was actually under the impression that someone who wrote this probably only made it as far as university undergrad in terms of schooling (the elite schools have plenty of very politically conservative background undergrads, just read their student newspapers), and probably coasted it (i.e. underdeveloped their learning process) if they can't even do research properly. I'm blown away, specifically in entertaining the thought that if I were a white straight guy doing my PhD getting that much slack along those dimensions, my material (socioeconomic, whatever) life would be vastly different—e.g., in stark contrast to working twice as hard but getting half as far.

I'm also ambivalent to be hearing about these details of the person, because the other explanation why someone would suddenly act this way is mental illness (which of course is a fraught perspective). When I said it was not a manifesto but gibberish, I also thought that it was odd that the research and writing mistakes are so blatant.
posted by polymodus at 1:56 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


So there's this, which to some extent seems like bullshit but I'm not a lawyer?

That's one hot take. It doesn't sound like bullshit on its face, but it doesn't get at a myriad of other issues surrounding the manifesto (like the liability it exposes Google to). It seems way to simple to be decisive.
posted by fatbird at 2:02 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


So there's this, which to some extent seems like bullshit but I'm not a lawyer?

fire him anyway and let him go through years of legal crap to get anything while alleging that he caused a hostile work environment
posted by pyramid termite at 2:05 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


You're prioritizing a misogynist's ability to act misogynisticly over the victims of misogyny. And the amazing thing is, to not worry about losing his job he didn't even have to stop being a misogynist, or even stop acting misogynisticly. He just needed to not act misogynisticly in particular overt ways while at work. But even that sliver of an inconvenience on a misogynist was too much to ask and more important than all the historical and future damage to others. Stunning.
posted by chris24 at 2:14 PM on August 7 [33 favorites]


Artful Codger: (I was blown away that a PhD would have put their name to something with so many errors.)

Spend some time on SlateStarCodex, and you'll find plenty of people who are highly educated and intelligent who believe and write almost exactly what this guy does. A person can explore an idea they have from four different perspectives and cite multiple studies in support of each perspective, and then that same person can write this.
posted by clawsoon at 2:15 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


My biology PhD is from another elite private university. I'm not surprised at all. The standards for passing comps and dissertation defenses are different for white men than for everybody else. It really is life on easy mode for them, and they generally have no idea.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:19 PM on August 7 [16 favorites]


Yeah, but think of how much productivity they would have lost if they had fired this one super qualified tech dude!

Well, to put it another way, if a highly skilled employee makes $200K at Google, then in one day they lost the equivalent of a full year of productivity from 1000 highly skilled employees.
posted by Autumnheart at 2:29 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


If I run out of favorites, it's because I love all of you who are not ceding any ground on how awful this dude, his supporters (whether outright bigots or concern trolls) and Google are.

I do not care what internal chaos this has sown for Google, they are a garbage company if they don't show they're on their way to doing the right thing today. And not in a github "we're going to pretend to care" way. You could have a Board with 50% women on it today. You could have senior staff everywhere be 50% women today. Use the fucking hideous "at will" employment laws for good purpose, for once.

If you don't think the severance costs would not be made up for in increased productivity everywhere within a week, I don't know what to tell you. If you don't think those oh-so-smart white dudes couldn't be replaced by a horde of eager and smart-or-smarter non-white-men of all descriptions*, again, you haven't been paying attention.

(As a white dude, I'm willing to carry the mantle we expect women or minorities to carry for "their kind", that every last one of the demographic they're assigned to must be perfect before its members can even be taken seriously. I'm not going to flinch at owning that, whatever I think about myself, I am a member of what is a really problematic group; my job is to help fix this--change only truly comes from within. We white dudes may be a product of our shitty patriarchy, and some of us get (somewhat) better if we constantly watch ourselves and listen when we're called on our bullshit. But many, perhaps most, of us seem unwilling to give up our bigotry and acknowledge our privilege, and instead invent "just so" stories to explain that away...and fuck that. Honestly, if we can't fix ourselves, I'd be happy to be driven into the sea or have a seat in the wicker man with my demographic cohorts, just because of how much better, in aggregate, the world will be afterwards.)

* Jeebus, there is a horde of decent, smart white men who would in line, too, to work at a truly progressive company; sign me up once everyone else has a place at the table, sounds awesome.
posted by maxwelton at 2:39 PM on August 7 [38 favorites]


I'm working on hip flexor mobility and general alignment and I also want to start squatting again eventually, so I've been on a squat kick lately. So this basically happened.

*checks back into this thread after 5 hours*

"Haha, maybe I should do 10 squats every time a dude pops up to repeat one of the same three misogynist sentiments we've all spent days refuting in this very thread."*

*reads thread*

"Fuck."

*this is a gentle rephrasing of the much shorter phrase I said to myself; I'll leave the exact phrasing to the reader
posted by schadenfrau at 2:42 PM on August 7 [26 favorites]


Many thanks to what I now think of the MetaFilter Misogyny Derby team.

Have they fucking fired him yet? I'm actually scared of what happens if they just...don't.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:44 PM on August 7 [17 favorites]


Many thanks to what I now think of the MetaFilter Misogyny Derby team.

Ooh we need a name for our derby team. Derby team names are hard, they need a pun + region reference (Mefi in this case?) and should be violent.

Mefists o Justice?

I trust you all can do better.

Maybe we can get jerseys made!
posted by emjaybee at 2:49 PM on August 7


Now that the conversation has turned inevitably to whether men and women actually are different...

I think that it's a good time to point out that there's no high-status position that men haven't claimed for themselves by arguing that women are less capable.

It literally doesn't matter what the average differences between men and women are. Besides the fact that the research on inherent factors difficult due to confounding factors, despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence cultural factors play a big role in what jobs you take and how successful you are, despite the fact that the differences aren't big enough to explain achievement gaps--besides all of that, it's never actually been about the differences. It's always been about men protecting their status.

Men will argue that other men make better engineers; men are good at math and systems and women are good at words and people. But do they ever argue this makes women better authors or comedians? No, of course not. They come up with arguments for why women are worse at those things, too.

This is not about the differences between men and women and never has been.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:52 PM on August 7 [136 favorites]


Your take on the topic is being dismissed because you chose a garbage 2011 paper as an example of the sum total of current psych research on the topic, indicating that your expertise is not to be trusted.

I have not taken one random paper as representative: This result is not controversial. Read the Wikipedia page linked above and follow the references. Follow the references to the paper I linked to. Do your own Google Scholar (oh, the irony) research. Big 5 Neuroticism has a well established gender split.

Why that is, and what makes it so is another question entirely.
posted by pharm at 2:53 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.
That's from the author. I wonder how close the author thinks that Google's gender balance is to the small differences that he suggest underlie his conclusions. Does he look around, see 60/40 or 80/20 ratios and think, "yep, looks like a small difference to me"? Or does he think that there are statistical tails that explain everything?
posted by clawsoon at 2:56 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I have not taken one random paper as representative: This result is not controversial.

So, if this result is not controversial, then you could have picked a better paper, with a less insulting lede.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:57 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


I think that it's a good time to point out that there's no high-status position that men haven't claimed for themselves by arguing that women are less capable.
A fascinating thing about computer science is that women made up a bigger proportion of the people graduating with CS degrees in the early 1980s, when programming was a relatively low-status occupation, than they do now, when it's a high-status one. The fundamental nature of the discipline hasn't changed. The pay and prestige have.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:58 PM on August 7 [54 favorites]


The standards for passing comps and dissertation defenses are different for white men than for everybody else. It really is life on easy mode for them, and they generally have no idea.

I only have a master's but oh god yes so much this.

And my don't they squeal when it's pointed out? I think most of the real misogyny is that cognitive dissonance because they just can't stand the idea of not being lords of all creation and uniquely gifted as they were taught, instead of being barely or not at all competent as is usually the case.
posted by winna at 2:59 PM on August 7 [12 favorites]


The Beanplate Brawlers, Portland Plochops and Hammerin' HAMBURGERs welcome the Crone Island Crushers to the MeFi Roller Derby league.
posted by delfin at 3:01 PM on August 7 [15 favorites]


I’ve apologised for the pull quote already & will happily apologise again: I didn't read it (why would a pull quote matter? Hah: surprise!).

I’m sorry I linked to a paper that quoted Bill Cosby: had I realised it quoted Bill Cosby I would have chosen one of the other three or four papers I had open in my tabs at the time. Next time I post a paper to metafilter, I will be sure to read the pull quotes as well to make sure they don't quote rapist shitheads.
posted by pharm at 3:01 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I'd rather the issue itself ... was dealt with calmly and rationally

As opposed to emotionally and hysterically? That is the classic demand of an abuser.


Kudos to Jack Flash for making this explicit, which I've been looking for as I get caught up on the thread.

Such a massive red flag when the guy who wrote the screed wrote "Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts." I have worked in male-dominated tech fields all my life and know no end of tech bros and let me tell you: this sentence tells me that the author is so emotionally illiterate that he has no clue that what he's written is a 10 page ten page temper tantrum. I use the phrase "emotionally illiterate" quite consciously because many men literally do not recognize the emotions that act within them, nor the processes of self-justification that get layered on top. They're convinced that they're rational when they're anything but--they're driven by emotion as much or more than anyone else, more so and worse because they're so clueless about it. In particular, people who cling so strongly to the self-identity as "rational" use it as an emotional crutch. They're chasing certainty, but certainty is an emotional state, not an intellectual one.
posted by Sublimity at 3:15 PM on August 7 [92 favorites]


I use the phrase "emotionally illiterate" quite consciously because many men literally do not recognize the emotions that act within them, nor the processes of self-justification that get layered on top.

So so right. Our emotions precede our reasoning. Always. For everyone. Reasoning is a veneer slapped on top of gut-level impulses.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:19 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


"Men will argue that other men make better engineers; men are good at math and systems and women are good at words and people. But do they ever argue this makes women better authors or comedians? No, of course not. They come up with arguments for why women are worse at those things, too. "

"A fascinating thing about computer science is that women made up a bigger proportion of the people graduating with CS degrees in the early 1980s, when programming was a relatively low-status occupation, than they do now, when it's a high-status one. The fundamental nature of the discipline hasn't changed. The pay and prestige have."


Another interesting, slightly more complex example is ministry. While it was a men-only role in the US, it was a high-status community leadership position that was reasonably well-paid, and attempts to make seminaries co-educational were met by objections that the complex philosophy and theology, the leadership, the nuanced intellectualism demanded by the ministry was the province of men, and it was too intellectually demanding for women, who were biologically unsuited to leadership or profound intellectualism.

Eventually seminaries do become co-ed, most denominations start ordaining women, and ministry becomes a low-status job, where it's suddenly relegated to a "service" position instead of a leadership position, the important skills are "caring" and "feeling" and "listening" and the academic training is ignored by the wider society to the point that a lot of people don't know it even exists. As soon as the job becomes available to women, its status plummets, it ceases to be a leadership position, and it becomes coded with emotion and caring rather than logic and learning.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:22 PM on August 7 [71 favorites]


"I think that it's a good time to point out that there's no high-status position that men haven't claimed for themselves by arguing that women are less capable."

So much this.

Computer programming used to be low-status women's work. And then, in the 1960s, when people started realizing that programming is actually Really Important, managers started favouring hiring men and women just weren't right for the job anymore.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 3:22 PM on August 7 [20 favorites]


I think the core of this guy's unstated argument is that there is an organizational status quo which he feels is effective. Even as a twenty-eight year old, and relatively new to the non-academic world, it's one that he's accepted and views any changes as negative disruptions.

It's a tautology:
- Men should be given the tools to succeed as they are the best at the given tasks at Google
- Men are, by specific measurements, more assertive and task/idea driven
- The work he does as a software engineer and as a corporate employee requires that drive to succeed, and they need task and idea driven employees rather than employees who have strengths in empathy
- Men, who are best at the needed skills (see above) need a level of psychological safety, which means conforming to the status quo in which he (and presumably people unlike him) are most comfortable
- To make sure everyone does their best, men should be given the same tools as everyone else, everyone does the best when psychologically safe, and we should reinforce the status quo

If your argument repeatedly boils down to "the way things are is the best way to do things" then why change anything, ever? And if he was anything other than a 28 year old white man, would he think differently?
posted by mikeh at 3:24 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


A) Evo-psych is garbage science, and P.Z. Myers does an excellent job shredding it on a regular basis.

B) Anyone arguing for men as calm creatures of rational detachment has either never been to a sporting event or has never thought about sporting events in a calm, rational way.
posted by jfwlucy at 3:25 PM on August 7 [31 favorites]


PZ even has a good thread about this very bullshit for those who are interested in the "science" this guy talks about.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:34 PM on August 7 [15 favorites]


It blows my fucking mind that there are still two dudes arguing over the "merits" of the claims in an MRA-rant while completely ignoring the ELEVENTY MILLION WOMEN REFUTINF THIS SHIT in the same thread.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:47 PM on August 7 [33 favorites]


The standards for passing comps and dissertation defenses are different for white men than for everybody else. It really is life on easy mode for them, and they generally have no idea.

I'm doing a PhD in Computer Science right now, and my lab does not have a single white male graduate student in it, while every other comparable lab I can think of is almost always majority white men. Even on the few historical occasions my lab had white dudes, they would solidly be in the minority.

Reason being? My supervisor has a reputation in my department for giving the harshest and detail-orientated feedback, in addition to expecting the most out of his students. When a white dude sits down with him, and he starts going "I don't like the terminology you used in supplementary section 1.2, paragraph 2", they run away and never let him get anywhere near their committee. For the rest of us? Nothing we're not used to. It's just another Tuesday.
posted by Conspire at 3:49 PM on August 7 [36 favorites]


[Several comments deleted; leeeeeet's drop that derail.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:58 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Christina Cauterucci weighs in over at Slate.
posted by Artful Codger at 4:12 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


If you look through this thread, for example, you'll find that the majority (all?) of the people who are saying that he shouldn't lose his job over this are male techs of one stripe or another - people who might hypothetically have something to fear for themselves if he loses his job.
Not only that, but there's a definite element of 'there but by the grace of MetaFilter and its ilk go I'. We (speaking for every male tech ever here, clearly) prefer to give the benefit of the doubt at first, not just because in most of our tech guy narratives the smart one who prefers not to jump to conclusions is the hero, but also we've made mistakes in the past, and we hope that if we fucked up so monumentally someone would take the time to set us straight. I don't think this is an uncommendable impulse, but it is an impulse and..
So when I'm doing my own thinking about it, I have to put my own fears aside and try to look at the balance of harms. (Yes, I know, that will infuriate many people. Sorry.) And I've gotta say... in my view, the concrete harms outlined again and again in this thread by people who have faced unnecessary bullshit in their workplace and careers because of the unpunished expression at work of opinions like his heavily outweighs the harms that might be caused by employees realizing that they should interact professionally.
...it requires a different, maybe even more considered way of thinking to envision the effects in hostile environmental terms and thereby empathise with a disparate group over an individual whose flaws we may recognise. But for all the reasons this thread has gone into, I believe it's absolutely the right thing to do.
posted by Sparx at 4:15 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


but also we've made mistakes in the past, and we hope that if we fucked up so monumentally someone would take the time to set us straight

I'm sure someone tried and was summarily ignored. If nobody read his screed prior to publication I'll eat my left shoe.
posted by Talez at 4:42 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


(searches original doc for "reasonable") Nope, nothing....I never said it was a synonym for reasonable:that was Snarl Furillo above & I’m not sure where they got it from. My supposition is that the original author was referring to the Big 5 trait.

I would suggest reading the section the quote comes from next time, so that you don't have to suppose. The entire "Personality Differences" section is full of references to how women prefer "feelings," "empathizing," and "aesthetics" to "systemizing" pursuits like writing computer code. The author means that women are emotional and men are rational.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:50 PM on August 7 [10 favorites]


Still employed, right?

Checking the news: top result calls author a 'hero'

There is not enough alcohol tonight.
posted by Dashy at 4:52 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Here Are the Citations for the Anti-Diversity Manifesto Circulating at Google from Motherboard now has the full document with citations. They specifically name James Damore as the author; that's the first time I've seen that in a journalistic publication. His name is on the document and there's a date of "July 2017'" on it, so it's over a week old.
posted by Nelson at 5:03 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


[A few deleted. pharm please just let it rest here, you've made your point amply.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:07 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


Also, I read this entire garbage fire on my lunch break because I'm an irrational lady masochist, and it is SO BAD! Take just the section on "Personality Differences": Women are interested in people, not things, but that doesn't make them good leaders, because they're too agreeable. They're so agreeable that they need special classes on how to ask for a raise, unlike men, who are assertive, but men need the special classes, too, because actually these differences are meaningless at an individual level, but they do explain why women stay away from high-stress jobs.

The second best-worst thing is the closing suggestion to stop making people undergo "Unconscious Bias training" because "the political bias of the presentation is clear from the factual inaccuracies and the examples shown" and actually "[s]tereotypes are much more accurate and responsive to new information than the training suggests." This entire thing happened because this dude had to go to diversity training and he didn't like the diversity training. Like he sat in the conference room getting increasingly WORKED UP at all the derisive mentions of stereotypes like "women are emotional" and "men like tools" and when it was all over he stormed back to his desk to DEFEND STEREOTYPES and also ask why there isn't a Men At Google lunch-and-learn every month, huh? Isn't that discrimination?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:12 PM on August 7 [47 favorites]


hope that if we fucked up so monumentally someone would take the time to set us straight

I don't even know him, so I really can't like him enough to exude compassion for him. (Also, he was on both sides of the issue. He thought there should be less empathy in the workplace, maybe specifically less for for marginalized groups, but also wanted people to tolerate and maybe empathize with conservatives more.)

A guy who could consider "hey, maybe I don't know everything about this issue," might have been less likely to put his foot in his mouth and set his own ass on fire. I know it's pretty easy to be overconfident as a white man because the system puts less energy into cutting white men down to size. It certainly fluffs up rich white men.

I realize tech is a forward looking industry, but in other parts of life it turns out that people who have lived longer and more varied lives actually know stuff that he doesn't know about facets of the world and history as it has played out locally.

If he has parents and aunts and uncles he might have asked them about what life was like before he was born and when he was little. He could have also talked to coworkers (if they don't duck when they see him coming.)

I'm twice his age and female. Here are some things about the work world that he likely never bothered to learn or has forgotten. *Separate want ads for male and female jobs. *Equal pay for women wasn't the law until 1964. *Women were fired for getting married. Later women were fired for getting pregnant. *Until the early 70s where I lived (Silicon Valley), girls took Home Ec and boys took Shop. When I signed up for Drafting, boys in my class said "They won't let you take that."

I've forgotten a zillion good anecdotes, but after I finished my EE degree (early 80s) a well-prepared couple of female friends of mine were told by the Dean of Engineering at pretty good PUBLIC university in CA that they couldn't handle the rigor of his engineering program.

I'll bet the author (JD) might not even know that most people handle babies differently, based on gender, from the very first day of life. And if he doesn't know that, he doesn't know enough to confidently expound on this topic.

It's way, way too soon to chalk career choices of women up to differences in personal desire and act like enormous piles of sexism have been all cleaned up. One doesn't have to look hard to find either anecdotal evidence or research evidence about the existence of sexism and bias in hiring. He could fucking see it if he looked. He clearly got a lot of his info from an internet bubble that reinforced popular prejudices. Yes, I am mad.
posted by puddledork at 5:14 PM on August 7 [33 favorites]


Here Are the Citations for the Anti-Diversity Manifesto Circulating at Google


Good! I'm going to run the cites against the reproducibility project et al.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:15 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Like he sat in the conference room getting increasingly WORKED UP at all the derisive mentions of stereotypes like "women are emotional" and "men like tools" and when it was all over he stormed back to his desk to DEFEND STEREOTYPES and also ask why there isn't a Men At Google lunch-and-learn every month, huh? Isn't that discrimination?

I bet he's also one of those guys that's all like WHEN DO WE GET A WHITE HISTORY MONTH?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:18 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


I'll bet the author (JD) might not even know that most people handle babies differently, based on gender, from the very first day of life. And if he doesn't know that, he doesn't know enough to confidently expound on this topic.

I am going to try to stop commenting now because I'm like four days behind everyone else in noting just how bonkers this piece of writing is, but in 10 flaming pages in which he tries to figure out why there are more men than women at the upper levels of his company, this man does not mention "child care" once. Not one single time! A baby has never crossed his mind. Women like to work part-time because they're artistic, not because the kids get out of school at 2:30. People (men!) who want a lot of status will naturally work long hours, and then they will naturally get ahead at the company, and if they don't, it's probably because they (women!) want a "balanced and fulfilling life." It is definitely not because someone needed to change the baby's diaper or pick the twins up from day care.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:28 PM on August 7 [44 favorites]




Sorry are we actually giving this dude the benefit of the doubt and assuming he did some deep-dive into essential gender theory and the social and biological constructs thereof? No. He did that lazy as shit undergrad thing of, "I have a point I want to make. So I'll google that point, quickly skim an abstract that seems to agree with me, and cite it. See: evidence!!!" Do we think he like actually pulled up studies and cast his logical male eye on like their statistical validity, methodological rigor, reproducibility, what journal they were published in and how credible it is, how many cites they have, what other articles the authors had published, recency, or any other bare minimum sort of academic standard? Because I submit that this dude did not do a single one of those things.

Anyone can cite anything. Whooptie shit. The quality of sources is what matters. Which is why I said above that this entire screed is laughable. He just threw cites in because he knew if he didn't he'd be challenged, not because he manifests any actual understanding of the subject matter he's playing around with. "See it said women are different from men in the Journal of American Bullshit Quarterly 2(99) so case closed!"

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to google "Big macs are good for you" so I can cite something when I justify stopping by McDonalds for lunch.
posted by supercrayon at 5:42 PM on August 7 [22 favorites]


For those of you learning how not to be a casual misogynist from this thread, here's another behavior to look out for:

If you are talking over all of the women in a conversation in order to speak to the other man or men, you're doing it. It never fucking ceases to amaze me how men don't even feel the need to acknowledge when a woman speaks, let alone engage with her. It's literally like we're not there. Perhaps someone will explain how, on the veldt, men never evolved the ability to hear the high-pitched frequency of women's voices?
posted by schadenfrau at 5:43 PM on August 7 [49 favorites]


“Google's infamous manifesto author is already a hero to the online right,” Russell Brandom, Id.

God like that's a difficult fucking achievement, right? Are you a white male dipshit who has recently opened your mouth? There's probably already an entire fanclub on 4chan and a twitter campaign in your support harassing women and POC on your behalf.
posted by supercrayon at 5:48 PM on August 7 [31 favorites]




If I was a CEO that got pulled off of my holiday in the first week to deal with a PR nightmare, I would not only fire the moron responsible, I would fire him out of a cannon at the moon.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:58 PM on August 7 [27 favorites]


*reads survey of clothing preferences*

Okay everyone it looks like sex strongly determines gender differences in clothing preference. This is true across many cultures. Nor does it seem to vary much in cultures that rank at the top of a gender equality metric (and therefore must have tons of equality).

So, it appears to be a human universal with a biological foundation. Something in the genetics of women leads them to freely choose clothes with a low UPI (useful pocket index). ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Therefore, we should assume that the clothes people wear are determined primarily by biology. We should stop assuming that clothes choices may reflect cultural constructions, or involve any kind of oppression at all. It's natural ... so we should just accept what occurs naturally as the proper and most fair way of being.

This is not my opinion. This is science — objective, culture-neutral science. I'm very objective r.n. and don't feel anything. If you disagree, you are the real sexist.

I do not say this to blame women, or judge women. I am an individualist. I support the right of a women to wear whatever they wish. I'm just saying that my job requires a lot of pockets so I just don't think hiring women is a good idea.
posted by fleacircus at 5:58 PM on August 7 [76 favorites]


End of business day on the west coast. Is he fired yet?
posted by erisfree at 6:00 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Had the employee not belittled women’s skills, I assume, he would not have been fired.

That said, Pichai also noted the memo did raise some important issues, such as the need for more willingness to include more points of view at the company, including more conservative ones.
Everything. On. Fire.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:04 PM on August 7 [16 favorites]


I'm just saying that my job requires a lot of pockets so I just don't think hiring women is a good idea.

i think you're setting the company up for a lot of out of pocket expenses
posted by pyramid termite at 6:07 PM on August 7 [15 favorites]


I just don't understand all this immediate claims to fire this guy

"Hello, Kate. You're a woman, aren't you? Well, we're putting you on a team with Google McRanter. You're fine with that, aren't you? I'm sure you won't let his strongly worded public views that you're biologically inferior affect the work relationship or undermine the quality of your output. And you, McRanter, you'll be fine with this as well? I trust you'll be able to treat Kate as a colleague, a peer and a professional worthy of your full respect. Well, this is great. I'm sure this is a good way for our very important company to get things done."

Alternatively:

"We need McRanter's expertise on this project."
"Can't. Team lead is a woman."
"Hrm. Aren't a lot of our people women?"
"Yes. Yes, they are."
"I guess we can just keep paying him an exorbitant engineer's salary to do no work."
"Sounds like a winning strategy."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:16 PM on August 7 [25 favorites]


Damn, this guy. I just cannot. He's upset that Google is an echo chamber since there are so few conservatives working there. I mean, has he considered that conservatives are just biologically unsuited to the work?
posted by last_fall at 6:23 PM on August 7 [66 favorites]


He's been named, he's likely to be fired, now this man needs to be kept out of tech entirely until he has proven that he won't harm anyone else at a workplace nor create a hostile environment based on destruction fictions.

If that means he never works in tech again, then good, that's one less mediocre and unwilling to improve white man taking up a space that an exceptional and talented minority has been denied.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:23 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


He's been named, he's likely to be fired, now this man needs to be kept out of tech entirely until he has proven that he won't harm anyone else at a workplace nor create a hostile environment based on destruction fictions.

He won't be though. He'll probably be hired by Uber by the end of the week.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:24 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]




CEO: "I have been on work related travel in Africa and Europe the past couple of weeks and had just started my family vacation here this week. I have decided to return tomorrow as clearly there’s a lot more to discuss as a group..."

Career-limiting move #2: Forcing CEO to cancel his family vacation.
posted by clawsoon at 6:29 PM on August 7 [48 favorites]


Firing expected after Google CEO says employee who penned controversial memo on women has violated its Code of Conduct, new article from Recode.
much of what was in that memo is fair to debate,
I hate everything and everyone.
posted by Talez at 6:31 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


1. If you think this guy went to MIT and Harvard and fancy ivy lala and *hasn't* already had diversity training, you don't know much about college campuses these days. So throwing in a vote for this guy getting diversity training, as if he hasn't already had it, is a waste of your brain space. He's had it. He just didn't like it.

2. He's just another crappy guy in his 20s who has been consumed by alt-right red pill MRA internet culture , so it is generational in a way, but not in a "there's no way he could know better" way, like someone's grandad, since see #1.

3. I just.. I mean..no shit women are more anxious and "neurotic" than men because a) the entire definition of neurotic is written to pathologize women and b) let me tell you from years of dealing with white men as undergrads, graduate students and faculty, many of them swim blissfully through life, unanxiously, entirely convinced (not wrong) that an entire fleet of "helpers" will be following behind them to fix anything they mess up. Moms and some dads, girlfriends, advisors, wives, admins, colleagues. Why sweat the small stuff when the entire system is dedicated to not letting you fail? Meanwhile the women in those same roles are so much more conscientious and detail-oriented because they just can't count on that kind of support net and are, in fact, probably also fulfilling that role for some guy.somewhere already.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:31 PM on August 7 [56 favorites]


GuyZero, the contents of that Recode article have been edited pretty heavily in the last hour or so. It suggests there's precedent to fire him, but no confirmation of follow-through yet.
posted by erisfree at 6:35 PM on August 7


I feel really fucking bad for every woman at Google right now.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:35 PM on August 7 [18 favorites]


Thelonius, got it, good.

Google can and should investigate and consider its actions, and it should fire the guy but I don't care if it's not immediate. He may have a contract, they have to follow their own internal policies.

I've gotten so much flack for saying H Clinton lost because she's a woman. Look at the sheer incompetence, ignorance, malevolence, mendacity, and whining of President Pants-On-Fire, but, sure, excellence requires testosterone.
posted by theora55 at 6:35 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


Bloomberg has confirmed the firing.
posted by edeezy at 6:37 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


The tweet says the author of the doc in question confirmed his own firing.
posted by GuyZero at 6:37 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Tweets say lots of things. Good to hear the firing part is done!
posted by erisfree at 6:41 PM on August 7


> the need for more willingness to include more points of view at the company, including more conservative ones.

If the "conservative viewpoint" is one which whines about how white men are the real victims of discrimination because women and people of color are hired "instead" of them and must obviously be less qualified, then that is a viewpoint without legitimacy and yes, should be set on fire.
posted by rtha at 6:43 PM on August 7 [24 favorites]


Bye Felipe, you shithead.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:43 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


(Er, that's in response to the firing. )
posted by Autumnheart at 6:44 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Mike Issac (NYT) confirms it as well.

I've seen this script before, and I am extremely not looking forward to the "deplorable people make him into a martyr" phase of the process that comes next.
posted by zachlipton at 6:44 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Well, hopefully they're stupid enough to sign their names to their pile of trash too, and also get fired.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:48 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


the need for more willingness to include more points of view at the company, including more conservative ones.

And his reason for that --

"Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company."

Apparently he hasn't been following the news for the last 6 months, let alone the last few decades.
posted by JackFlash at 6:51 PM on August 7 [14 favorites]


I think it's important to look at what the paper that pharm linked actually concludes:
Clearly the average personalities of men and women are systematically different. Does this mean, however, that Bill Cosby's metaphor, that men and women are from “different species,” is apt? We would caution against adopting such a dramatic interpretation of the pervasive gender differences in personality that we report in this study. All of the mean differences we found (and all of the differences that have been found in the past – e.g., Feingold, 1994; Costa et al., 2001) are small to moderate. This means that the distributions of traits for men and women are largely overlapping. To illustrate this fact, in Figure ​10 we present the male and female distributions from our sample for the trait which showed the largest gender difference, Agreeableness. One can see that both men and women can be found across a similar range of Agreeableness scores, such that, despite the fact that women score higher than men on average, there are many men who are more agreeable than many women, and many women who are less agreeable than many men. Given that Agreeableness showed the largest gender difference in our study, all other traits for which we reported significant gender differences would show even greater overlap in men's and women's distributions. Although the mean differences in personality between genders may be important in shaping human experience and human culture, they are probably not so large as to preclude effective communication between men and women. Unlike Bill Cosby, we are optimistic that any difficulties in communication between men and women are due primarily to cultural norms that are amenable to change, rather than to differences in basic personality traits, which are much more difficult to change.
(All emphasis mine.) In context, then, it's clear that the authors quoted Bill Cosby at the beginning in order to set up a foil for what they see as the main message of their paper, which is that personality differences between men and women at the population level, while consistent and measurable, are small relative to the variability in the populations. The figure referenced in the text above makes it clear that about 30-40% of men score higher on Agreeableness than the average woman, and about 30-40% of women score lower than the average man, and Agreeableness is the factor with the largest difference they observed.

This is in fact typical for what the gender differences research finds, not what GoogleBro wants people to think. (And in fact I think the whole field needs to be taken with a lump of salt, but whatever its problems the researchers are in general not as simplistic and ideological as GoogleBro is.) Arguing that he is technically correct that there are systematic differences between men and women reported in the scientific literature is like arguing that creationists who argue against evolution on the grounds that "the second law of thermodynamics says that disorder always increases" are technically correct. The exact literal words may not be wrong, but they've distorted the science into something unrecognizable.
posted by biogeo at 6:55 PM on August 7 [46 favorites]


"Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company."

Fine, let 'conservative' white dudes do all the low level drudgery and women and minorities can do all the well-paid senior strategic roles . Problem solved.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:56 PM on August 7 [12 favorites]


Fine, let 'conservative' white dudes do all the low level drudgery and women and minorities can do all the well-paid senior strategic roles . Problem solved.

Not really. What if one of them got a copy of Atlas Shrugged? We could see a work stoppage of Galtian-like proportions.
posted by Talez at 6:57 PM on August 7


do you mean we'd have to shovel our own bullshit?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:05 PM on August 7


Nah, we're safe. The Galtian heroes in Atlas Shrugged were the producers and the creators, not the drudgery-and-maintenance folks.

A lot of my job has been supporting legacy tools and processes, and serving on committees to evolve to new systems that perform both new and old tasks. I can appreciate the role of drudgery and maintenance and I agree that it's a necessary part of the work stream even though it isn't sexy. But this dude sounds like he has a bad case of "Making my job sound more epic than it is" which, combined with an elite education, has created this terminal case of inflated self-importance.

I speculate that Google's tendency to seek out high performers for even routine tasks and promoting the idea that everyone there is ~*the best*~ is helping breed this kind of mindset with no sense of proportion.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:06 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


i don't know that google has to promote the idea that everyone there is the best - it pretty much goes with the white male territory - i run into it all the time - people who are really pretty much half-assed at their job performance thinking that they're hot shit - (although some women think that too) - but it seems to be a male thing
posted by pyramid termite at 7:10 PM on August 7


I'm finally to the end of the thread, and I'm horrified at the lengths that so many eloquent women and PoCs had to go to explain the blindingly obvious to the blisteringly ignorant.

Y'all deserve beverages of your choice.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:13 PM on August 7 [46 favorites]


Who was it that said if they weren't fired today they'd raise hellfire?

Cuz they weren't fired today as far as anyone can tell.
posted by Yowser at 7:14 PM on August 7


Serves me right for not reading the whole thread. False alarm, he was fired, never mind.
posted by Yowser at 7:15 PM on August 7


*puts hell back down*
posted by Autumnheart at 7:16 PM on August 7 [37 favorites]


I speculate that Google's tendency to seek out high performers for even routine tasks and promoting the idea that everyone there is ~*the best*~ is helping breed this kind of mindset with no sense of proportion.

I think Google's predilection for hiring people from fancy colleges propagates blind spots. If you hire the top 10 graduates from the top 20 schools, you're going to have a lot of sheltered, privileged, white men, even if only in spirit. Google just calls it "the best of the best" because it sounds better than "the filtered of the filtered."
posted by rhizome at 7:18 PM on August 7 [20 favorites]



Who was it that said if they weren't fired today they'd raise hellfire?

Cuz they weren't fired today as far as anyone can tell.


Several links upthread say he was.

And now reporters on my twitter are saying he was.
posted by Jalliah at 7:20 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Google is still enabling him after deciding to fire him, with their insipid memos, though.

Disgusting.
posted by Yowser at 7:23 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


The joke now seems to be "what kind of idiotic hat/fake suit of armour combo will this guy wear in his upcoming alt-right YouTube channel" which sounds about right.

(fuck this guy)
posted by Yowser at 7:25 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


If you hire the top 10 graduates from the top 20 schools, you're going to have a lot of sheltered, privileged, white men, even if only in spirit.

Are the top 10 graduates of the top 20 schools disproportionately white men? That hasn't been my experience.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:28 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


(and of course fuck this guy and all those like him)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:30 PM on August 7


Well, hopefully they're stupid enough to sign their names to their pile of trash too, and also get fired.

Yes, I'm sympathetic to the idea that it's a good thing if people want to out themselves as people to never ever work with, but the problem comes when this meets the political "culture wars" and the right-wing pundit machine gets fired up. The next step after "people shouldn't be fired because of their political opinion" (addressed upthread) tends to be "actually, he makes some good points," and pretty soon there's a damn national conversation about whether women are really more neurotic.

Which isn't by any means to say he shouldn't have been fired, but it's infuriating that the result of that is going to be more people passing this ill-informed and ignorant garbage around (if you've written 10 pages on the gender gap in tech and fail to mention, say, child care, as Snarl Furillo notes upthread, or any of the research on the gender gap in STEM education, or done anything to demonstrate that you've ever listened to a woman, you are demonstrably ignorant of your topic even ignoring the specific ignorance on display here) and treating it as a serious body of thought, because every issue somehow needs two sides. The ideas here are not serious ones worthy of debate, and I'm cringing to think that the next phase of discussion about diversity in this industry is going to be framed around rebutting this dumpster fire when there are good people doing real work on the topic.
posted by zachlipton at 7:32 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


We could make a point to remind everyone repeatedly that the right-wing pundit machine has a "getting fired for harassment" problem of its own, which we can then use as further evidence that the alt-right can't even stay out of its own way, much less has anything credible to say about anything.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:36 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


Well, that's that. He's been impeached fired. (sorry, was thinking of someone else)

I have learned a bit from this issue, and this thread in particular. So, thanks.

And I learned about the Big Five, and in particular I learned that "Neuroticism" was not the title of a collection of William Gibson's short stories.

I'll see myself out, thanks
posted by Artful Codger at 7:57 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Pichai also noted the memo did raise some important issues, such as the need for more willingness to include more points of view at the company, including more conservative ones.

If "conservative" means "prefers slow change; sets high importance on family life and long-term relationships; supports low/minimal gov't interference with business; wants US-focused international policies," that's fine. Sure, Google or any tech company should be considering those viewpoints and welcoming input that supports them, even if they make decisions that don't work with them.

If "conservative" means "white males should make all the important decisions; anyone else should be treated as less important; might makes right; being an asshole is fine as long as it's aimed at those 'lesser' people," then hell no, Google and any other tech company should not be seeking "conservative" perspectives.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:59 PM on August 7 [22 favorites]


And the martyrization of a jerk begins.




While Pichai’s email did not conclusively say Damore was fired, the engineer’s confirmation to Bloomberg makes clear that Google deemed his violation of the code of conduct — and the unwanted attention it generated — serious enough to warrant termination. The act will undoubtedly add fuel to the fire, as conservative factions on the internet have already sprung up in Damore’s defense, hailing him as a hero for calling out political correctness and speaking out against diversity in the tech industry.
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 8:19 PM on August 7


I am literally engaging with a sealion who is having a meltdown about the news of the firing by copy and pasting responses from this thread.

("but his memo sounded so reasonable!")

Paste

("but what if that thing about women being about feelings ... IS TRUE?!")

Ctrl-F, "Big Five", scroll, highlight, copy, Paaaaaste

("but how will this guy ever learn if he's been fired? Consider the trauma! What about his feelings?")

repeat
posted by bl1nk at 8:20 PM on August 7 [35 favorites]


Now that the firing is public, really disappointing to see progressive men like Yashar Ali and Jeet Heer tweeting that no one should be fired for ideas. And clinging to free speech as a cover.
posted by chris24 at 8:21 PM on August 7 [12 favorites]


Now that the firing is public, really disappointing to see progressive men like Yashar Ali and Jeet Heer tweeting that no one should be fired for ideas. And clinging to free speech as a cover.

He wasn't fired for ideas. He was fired for creating a hostile workplace in breach of the Code of Conduct and his contract.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:25 PM on August 7 [56 favorites]


I tweeted this but want to say it here too. Thank you to the women and men at Google who spoke up last Friday, at risk to themselves, to call out their hostile work environment. Google has an intense culture of workplace secrecy and it's not easy for employees to talk about problems at work in public. But several did, presumably because they didn't feel internal channels were sufficient. It got the attention of Motherboard and Gizmodo. And then the world press and finally the Google CEO and something was done to make the workplace at least a little safer for women.
posted by Nelson at 8:28 PM on August 7 [28 favorites]


There's been a stubborn refusal to acknowledge that distributing a massively uninformed 10-page screed about how thousands of your colleagues are biologically unsuitable to their jobs isn't just having an idea, it's an action that has direct consequences on their well-being.
posted by zachlipton at 8:29 PM on August 7 [43 favorites]


He wasn't fired for ideas. He was fired for creating a hostile workplace in breach

Oh I agree.

@HeerJeet:
The case for firing James Damore (Google engineer) is that his memo created a hostile workplace. I think that's true if he acts on memo.

My reply to this, one of several tweets at him, was:

@mytwitter:
@HeerJeet Publishing a 10 page memo to the company questioning the intelligence & suitability of 28k coworkers is acting on his beliefs.
posted by chris24 at 8:35 PM on August 7 [50 favorites]


So now begins the alt right campaign against Google.

In a world where the big G wasn't run by idiots, the CEO would come out with a statement to the following effect:
"Anyone can believe what they want. If you believe that women and minorities are somehow biologically inferior to you, that's your right.

Likewise I, and the entirety of the reputable scientific community, will continue to believe that you're wrong. And the preponderance of all evidence will prove it.

What you do not have the right to do, is come to work and tell your colleagues that they are not good enough because they're women or because of their ethnicity. You do not have the right to make your colleagues feel that they're not welcome here. Believe it if you want, although I can't imagine why you would want to, but your beliefs are not compatible with the way that we want this company to be, or for that matter with the law. You are entitled to your beliefs, but you're not entitled to work here. And if treating your colleagues with respect, no matter who they are, what gender they may be, or the amount of melanin in their skin, is a problem for you, get out and don't come back."
This is probably the most pathetic subject for fanfic ever.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:41 PM on August 7 [24 favorites]


Whoever originally leaked the document to the media deserves a medal. If Google had discovered this memo after its distribution but before the leak, they might very well have purged it from their systems and done nothing else. But by leaking it to the press, Google cannot delete it or change the timeline of events. The DOJ is going to be very interested in all of this, and it definitely doesn't go away just because the author was fired. Heck, it's not out of the question that they might subpoena him and ask him what his motivations were.

Google might come out of this with a better workplace, after being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century and being fined a huge chunk of cash. It's funny how you can get several thousand of the smartest people on the planet in one place and still fuck up so spectacularly.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:43 PM on August 7 [14 favorites]


> @HeerJeet: The case for firing James Damore (Google engineer) is that his memo created a hostile workplace. I think that's true if he acts on memo.

The replies to him in that thread gave me some comfort. Thanks for linking.
posted by rtha at 8:45 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Whoever originally leaked the document to the media deserves a medal.

Probably not. If found, they and the people leaking screenshots to VD will all probably be fired.

Google might as well be called the No Leaking Club. And guess what the First Rule of No Leaking Club is?
posted by GuyZero at 8:47 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Well, I didn't say Google would think they deserved a medal. But that company made its own mess.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:51 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Now that the firing is public, really disappointing to see progressive men like Yashar Ali and Jeet Heer tweeting that no one should be fired for ideas.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that anyone whose reaction to this is to willfully misconstrue "freedom of speech" with "freedom to say whatever the fuck I want and nobody is allowed to react negatively to it in any way that would be inconvenient to me" is in fact not a progressive.
posted by tocts at 8:56 PM on August 7 [27 favorites]


I agree with them on that, but I also agree that this guy was fired for other reasons and very valid ones. This wasn't just a guy who had heterodox ideas; this was a guy who acted on those ideas and created a fucking fiasco of a hostile workplace.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:17 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Whoever originally leaked the document to the media deserves a medal.

Google is less leaky of an organization than the Obama White House (that I dearly miss despite various policy disagreements with). Product information really doesn't leak, hell, nothing does.

I was told by a googler that on your first day at the organization, in the orientation, they tell you *big secrets* that would impact the stock price if they got out (one way or the other). They place trust in their employees.

The leak occurred because various googlers felt deep loyalty for their company, and leaking that memo was their way to try to make their company a better one. They foresaw the consequences of the leak, and were right (this is merely speculation, I have no specific knowledge of these events).
posted by el io at 9:20 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I'm happy that Google took the obvious step of firing this fool, but the fact remains that they were perfectly willing to let this fester until their hand was forced by the leaking of the diatribe. The whole episode is incredibly disappointing, and I expect the only way they'll be forced to making meaningful changes is if this impacts their business in a significant way. I'm not optimistic there.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:22 PM on August 7


If the alt-right is not happy with Google, they're perfectly welcome to show their displeasure by not using Google products - stop using Google search, analytics, advertisments, maps, gmail, YouTube, and so on.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:27 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


I'm happy that Google took the obvious step of firing this fool, but the fact remains that they were perfectly willing to let this fester until their hand was forced by the leaking of the diatribe.

My understanding is that the CEO was on vacation when this happened (and came back early from a family vacation to deal with it? oh, that's an instant fucking fire) and the executive in charge of HR was recently put into place... I think it's fair to say there will continue to be discussion at the executive level about this, and a post-mortum of this entire episode.
posted by el io at 9:27 PM on August 7 [10 favorites]


So, for everyone else, a prospective employer googling their name would come up with "So-and-so did this terrible thing on such-and-such day, article below". But since this guy worked for Google, does he get automatically "forgotten" and purged from Google results because it reflects poorly on Google as a company? That seems like it would be awfully convenient.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:32 PM on August 7


And, of course, GoogleBro is cashing in. Everything going exactly to the 'disgraced conservative shits the bed' script:
Damore told the New York Times’ Daisuke Wakabayashi 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.

A fund has been set up by the website WeSearchr to help in his legal fight as part of the alt-right’s efforts to fight back against Damore’s firing and the reaction to the memo.
Next stop, Fox News. Or perhaps Trump TV.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:38 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


If the alt-right is not happy with Google, they're perfectly welcome to show their displeasure by not using Google products - stop using Google search, analytics, advertisments, maps, gmail, YouTube, and so on.

Welcome to Hell! Here's your accordion, and your mid-00s HP laptop, on which you are only allowed to use uhhhh Netscape, and Bing, and whatever AOL email client, and MapQuest, and like Vimeo or whatever
posted by Existential Dread at 9:40 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


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.

Good luck under Trump's sterling pro-labor leadership, my chum.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:43 PM on August 7 [16 favorites]


Damore told the Times he submitted a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board before he was fired

So this was basically planned all along.
posted by GuyZero at 9:45 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


stop using Google search, analytics, advertisments, maps, gmail, YouTube, and so on.

Please stop using YouTube.

Please.
posted by GuyZero at 9:46 PM on August 7 [15 favorites]


“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.

No you fucking don't, pal. But go ahead.

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.

Yeah, that's not what you did.

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.

Well, we ALL have the memo, and I'm pretty sure an underlined paragraph in a copy of the employee handbook would clear that up.

A fund has been set up by the website WeSearchr to help in his legal fight as part of the alt-right’s efforts to fight back against Damore’s firing and the reaction to the memo.

Sure, you guys all pool your pizza money and spend your $3000 collection plate on Saul Goodman, who will tell you, "You're an idiot and have no case, that'll be $3000". Maybe everyone will get lucky and Google will pre-emptively ban you from everything, thus choking off the alt-right movement in its entirety in a single blow!
posted by Autumnheart at 9:51 PM on August 7 [15 favorites]


Let me get this straight. A huge chunk of the document is peddling garbage about biological differences, but he claims the actual point is to bring up his concerns that some of Google's diversity practices are illegal? For that claim to have the slightest bit of credibility, surely the document would be titled, I don't know, "Hey, are we sure all our diversity programs are legal?" instead of "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber." Maybe at least 10% of it or something would be devoted to exploring that particular topic?

It's clear that the point of this document was to say stuff like how he thinks women are more neurotic, rather than express concerns about his working conditions.
posted by zachlipton at 10:00 PM on August 7 [27 favorites]


Fundraising on floor shitter (and total shitbag) Chuck Jonhson's site? He's decided to really lean into his reputation as an asshole.
posted by Yowser at 10:19 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Oh, and this:

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.

is the dumbest shit I've ever seen. I really wish a lawyer could weigh in on just how dumb it is. (but I know they can't)



I mean, I predicted he'd be doing this, but it's still making me angry. Why am I angry that he's doing exactly what I knew he'd do?

Fuck everything.
posted by Yowser at 10:22 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


You could say that such a claim that Google retaliated against a complaint to the NLRB given the known order of events is… illogical.
posted by polymodus at 10:28 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Don't be mad, just think of it. Here's this one disgruntled tech bro trying to rally other tech bros to take his utterly-without-merit case, and go up against the wealthiest company on the entire planet that also controls every single piece of their information. This isn't exactly David against Goliath here. This is more like one resident of Gomorrah against Yahweh.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:28 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Let's be clear, this is not an isolated issue. I know this from a very recent experience in my professional life that I don't feel comfortable discussing here.

These people are protected in tech workplaces and one guy getting his due is just the very beginning of the long and difficult road ahead for tech leadership. (A group of people to which I belong, so yay diversity for a trans woman making it to senior management!)

It is time for the tech industry to seriously investigate whether or not people who harbor baseless and prejudiced ideas like these should not be allowed to work in demanding and stressful environments where employees are expected to be of the utmost caliber of highest performers in the world.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:31 PM on August 7 [26 favorites]


I guess the timing works out.

PharmaBro Martin Shrekli is going to jail soon.

But there must always be a Most Hated Man Alive.

GoogleBro: I VOLUNTEER!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:40 PM on August 7 [10 favorites]


But there must always be a Most Hated Man Alive.

No.
There is another...
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:34 AM on August 8 [13 favorites]


He won't be though. He'll probably be hired by Uber by the end of the week.

My money would be on News Corp.'s internal recruiters reaching out to him. They have form valuing “politically-incorrect controversialists” at that organisation.
posted by acb at 1:32 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I wish the Google internal memo adout the whole thing had followed its 'we welcome conservative viewpoints' section with a cast-iron certification like "we do not belt sexism, racism, homophobia or other forms of discrimination, however, and where these views and conservative views overlap, they are vi more acceptable than in any other context".

You want to say conservatives are welcome? Fine. But you let everyone know that it isn't excusing the bigotry that's mainstream to conservative thought in America. Otherwise, fuckheads are going to feel emboldened, and minorities threatened. After all, mainstream conservatism in America encompasses a lot of bigotry.
posted by Dysk at 3:02 AM on August 8 [20 favorites]


It is time for the tech industry to seriously investigate whether or not people who harbor baseless and prejudiced ideas like these should not be allowed to work in demanding and stressful environments where employees are expected to be of the utmost caliber of highest performers in the world.

This is just yet more bullshit tech exceptionalism. I'm sure you work hard, but tech workers at any level are not required to perform at a higher level than everyone else in the world. If you can make that claim about anyone (and I don't think you can) it's going to be ER workers or rural doctors or air traffic controllers or something. But really, there are people working and being required to work monumentally hard in every field, and provably useless idiots in every field too, including tech.
posted by Dysk at 3:06 AM on August 8 [21 favorites]


Damore told the Times he submitted a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board before he was fired

Why would the NLRB get involved? Is he alleging that he was trying to form a union?
posted by melissasaurus at 3:20 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Forget it, melissasaurus. It's moon law.
posted by Etrigan at 3:27 AM on August 8 [24 favorites]


it's because he was communicating with his co-workers in an attempt to improve workplace conditions

that's horseshit, of course, but that will be the reasoning
posted by pyramid termite at 3:35 AM on August 8


Laughing about the dude wanting to start an honest discussion.

Guess what, man? You did that! And the honest truth is: your argument is so ignorant and offensive that nobody wants to have anything to do with you. Maybe there's something to learn from that?
posted by Sublimity at 3:37 AM on August 8 [15 favorites]


it's because he was communicating with his co-workers in an attempt to improve workplace conditions

Judge reads manifesto.

Nope.
posted by mikelieman at 4:41 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Next stop, Fox News. Or perhaps Trump TV.

Trump TV? Nah. You're thinking too small. The last U.S. CTO was appointed by Obama and hasn't yet been replaced, AFAIK. And here we have a clearly brilliant technical thinker with solid conservative credentials...
posted by clawsoon at 4:45 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


If he had said "biological differences" about Jews, journalists would immediately get the Anti-Defamation League on the phone. If he had said it about Blacks, they'd call the SPLC. Who do they call when it's women? Is there any such organization?
posted by clawsoon at 5:10 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


This is just yet more bullshit tech exceptionalism.

You're right Dysk, in what most people think of as tech the work is really not that exceptional. I work in Information Security and the type of work I do is not what most people think of when we talk about "tech work". For the field I am in the expectations are at the same level of what we expect from first responders and the military. Thank you for pointing out the flaw in my comment. I get framed by my own work experiences and forget that most people work in an entirely different capacity of tech than I do. Which now that I think about the expectations of my job, I kinda wished I'd stayed in development lol.
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:15 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


For the field I am in the expectations are at the same level of what we expect from first responders and the military.

That is not at all true, unless your job involves you being shot at, or saving the lives of people who were. That is a very tech-exceptionalist claim and frankly, it really does a disservice to the people who put their physical persons in immediate danger for a living. I am not one to lionize first responders, law enforcement, military, etc. at all, or to suggest that there aren't enormous stakes riding on maintaining information security, because between the Target Breach and the election, we know full well there are. But it's still riding a keyboard.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:36 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


The retaliation claim isn't trivial. You generally can't restrict employees or from discussing or raising complaints about their terms and conditions of employment, or retaliate against them when they do. That is interpreted pretty broadly, and can include everything from salary and benefits to safety conditions to hiring practices. I am not a labor lawyer so I won't get into the weeds, but I have been involved with similar issues with my employer and you have to be careful. In broadest possible terms, he raised a complaint about discrimination, and was subsequently fired. I'm not saying it's a great claim, but I wouldn't want to be in Google's shoes.

Honestly, this feels a bit like an alt-right setup to me. The guy sounds like he was ready to go with an NLRB complaint--it wouldn't shock me if he had consulted a lawyer before publishing his screed.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:36 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


I'm not saying it's a great claim, but I wouldn't want to be in Google's shoes.
I mean, Google can afford the best lawyers in the world, and "I am being discriminated against by diversity programs because my employer will not consider the possibility that women are just biologically unsuited to this type of work" is not a real strong discrimination claim. I think Google is going to be ok.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:39 AM on August 8 [28 favorites]


I feel for the 28,000 women who are going to work today knowing that 1/3 of the feedback on that memo was positive.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:46 AM on August 8 [41 favorites]


My Not a Lawyer understanding is that you can't create an unsafe work environment as part of any labor activity, though. Like I can't go around to my coworker and say, "Hey, I think Walmart should fire all the Mexican employees because they're constitutionally lazy!" and then claim that I am protected because I was complaining about the terms and conditions of my employment.
posted by muddgirl at 5:47 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


The retaliation claim isn't trivial.

"I didn't want to work with those stupid women and POC and my company fired me for saying so."

Yeah, pretty trivial.
posted by chris24 at 5:48 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


There's been a stubborn refusal to acknowledge [...]

To borrow that old Upton Sinclair quote: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary identity depends upon his not understanding it!"
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:54 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


Chances are that this is what Google spent all day yesterday deliberating before actually firing him. No doubt they have their own legal team and asked whether this could be interpreted as retaliation for labor activity.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:01 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


"I am being discriminated against by diversity programs because my employer will not consider the possibility that women are just biologically unsuited to this type of work" is not a real strong discrimination claim

But that's not the claim. The claim is "I raised a complaint about the terms and conditions of my employment (namely hiring practices), and was fired for raising the complaint." From the NLRB's page on employee rights:

Employees who are not represented by a union also have rights under the NLRA. Specifically, the National Labor Relations Board protects the rights of employees to engage in “concerted activity”, which is when two or more employees take action for their mutual aid or protection regarding terms and conditions of employment. A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action.

The claim is exacerbated by the fact that Google apparently has a practice of allowing employees to use internal communications platforms for these types of discussions. Will Google "be fine"? Sure, it's not like this NLRB claim is going to put Google out of business. But it will certainly cost them time and money to contest the claim and possibly settle with the claimant.

My Not a Lawyer understanding is that you can't create an unsafe work environment as part of any labor activity, though. Like I can't go around to my coworker and say, "Hey, I think Walmart should fire all the Mexican employees because they're constitutionally lazy!" and then claim that I am protected because I was complaining about the terms and conditions of my employment.

There definitely are exceptions to employee rights under Section 7 of the NLRA, including when the employee speech is disparaging of the employer and made to a third party, a breach of confidentiality, recklessly false, or a violation of an otherwise lawful policy. I presume Google has an anti-discrimination policy it will rely on in making that last argument. Look, I think Google will probably win this argument, but the NLRB claim isn't going to be laughed out of court.

Chances are that this is what Google spent all day yesterday deliberating before actually firing him. No doubt they have their own legal team and asked whether this could be interpreted as retaliation for labor activity.


Having been in the room for similar discussions, this is certainly true. Part of the discussion would also have been the impact on the rest of the employees and the reputational impact on the company of firing, censuring, or doing nothing. Even if the retaliation claim has some kernel of merit, I think Google did the right thing and if I had been in the shoes of Google's counsel, I would probably have advised that we fire the guy first and defend later. I'll shut up now, because I don't think it's that valuable to go down this rabbit hole. I just wanted to suggest that contra to some of the sentiment expressed above, the retaliation claim here isn't totally laughable, even if the guy is a scumbag.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:07 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


My Not a Lawyer understanding is that you can't create an unsafe work environment as part of any labor activity, though.

I can only speak as an employee rep in France, but yep, that's it.
Also keep in mind, re: his future employment, any union with any clout whatsoever won't be able to help this guy. This just adds to the potential negative impact his choices will have on his future. I've seen this happen: someone goes ballistic at the office, creating problems for everyone, gets fired, approaches employee reps for help saying they were Just Telling The Truth and Trying To Improve Things, we're required by law to help, but are also there to, y'know, uphold the law and maintain a safe work environment. So reps are there, yes, but when the person keeps up with their "everyone who's not like me sucks!" all the union has to do is put someone Not Like Them on it. In general someone Not Like Them will volunteer because it's such a rare experience to have the opportunity for karma to use you to do its work.
posted by fraula at 6:16 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


I would think that the potential for this sort of claim would have been considered at the time they first established the Code of Conduct--I don't think it suddenly just occurred to them now that they were going to have to fire someone for violating it. I no longer have access to Westlaw, but I have a hard time believing that this is at this point the first time that someone tried to use this particular argument, the same way all the MRA talking points are exactly copied from a million different Reddit posts before, and I have a hard time believing that this is the One Simple Trick That Makes HR Managers Crazy that lets you completely ignore your company's nondiscrimination and conduct policies.
posted by Sequence at 6:18 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Haha, no, don't bring in yet another, different "manifesto" for a "what if" fresh new bloodbath.]
posted by taz at 6:46 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Kevin Drum thinks Damore deliberately exaggerated ("very calculatedly went farther over the line than he needed to") in order to get fired. Drum's argument falls apart for me where he says Damore was going for "plausible deniability"-- or rather I don't get what he means by that. But Damore's manifesto reads to me like the writing of someone who's unbalanced in some way. Is that calculated? I hesitate to get too concerned with Damore's state of mind because, really, for the sake of of Google employees he just needs to go. But I look at the thing and wonder what is going on there. I woke up this morning thinking about it, and wondering.

Years ago, I was one of a group targeted in an in-house email bemoaning recent hiring practices at my workplace. It still makes me angry that people told me to my face that it wasn't a big concern or it wasn't about me or some combination of the two. It was definitely sexist and culture-based. The last thing I want to do is tell people this document isn't a concern. Clearly, it is close enough to what some people think to not be immediately dismissed as just deliberate bullshit.
posted by BibiRose at 6:47 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I'm happy that Google took the obvious step of firing this fool, but the fact remains that they were perfectly willing to let this fester until their hand was forced by the leaking of the diatribe. The whole episode is incredibly disappointing, and I expect the only way they'll be forced to making meaningful changes is if this impacts their business in a significant way.

It took them one business day to fire the guy.

Yeah, I wish that the guy was fired immediately and with impunity. But I also think it's unfair to demand Google capitulate to the 24-hour news cycle. We should all want HR to be a methodical and structured process that strives to make informed and consistent decisions, and comply with any applicable laws.

If it took Google one business day to make this personnel decision, and used their normal HR processes to do so, I'd actually say that's a very good sign. There's clearly structural rot within the organization, but I think it's far preferable for Google to say "he violated our policies, and we dealt with it according to our normal procedures," than to have him personally fired by the CEO.

Words like "fairness" have been abused and torn to shreds over the course of this incident, but if Google took the time to confirm that this guy actually wrote the memo, talked to him, established the exact policies that he violated, and ensured that his termination would comply with the law, I'd say that he was treated pretty fairly. I'm not happy with the state of labor relations in the tech industry, nor am I fully satisfied by Google's public statement, but I'd also like to voice my support for the calm, deliberative, and mature manner that Google handled the incident, and can only hope that this serves as a teachable moment and wake-up call for the organization.
posted by schmod at 6:55 AM on August 8 [31 favorites]



[A couple deleted. Haha, no, don't bring in yet another, different "manifesto" for a "what if" fresh new bloodbath.]

This was deleted before I could comment.

Why is it so hard to understand that it this isn't the sort of thing that is 'calmly discussed' in a workplace. Go have your gender differences therefore x discussions in some other forum. Grab a beer sit around with your buddies and chit chat. I don't care. This is not something that you do as part of generalized workplace discussion. FFS
posted by Jalliah at 6:56 AM on August 8 [15 favorites]


It would be poetic if the case makes it to court and the judge is a woman. High stress job and all that.
posted by Laura in Canada at 7:00 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


I know I'm way late to this, but as a woman and a technology researcher and a software engineer I am so tired and angry over this stuff. I went to school for six years. I've been programming for ten. I still get people who question me at every turn because I happen to read as female.

I had a guy tell me the other day that I was posting disparaging things about white men in tech using a phone a white man had invented as though it was some kind of checkmate. Except I contributed to research on its runtime environment, so.

I love the work I do, but god damn is shit like this tiring to not get even a *little* credit for contributing to something just because the CEO is some dude taking credit for the work of hundreds, and other dudes rally behind him as though he's an inventor. It's tiring to read all these screeds about how "the gender disparity isn't because we treat women in tech badly, it's just that they're usually too stupid to get into the field" and have the writer be completely oblivious as to why his self-important crypiece (I hesitate to call it a "think"piece) is contributing to the very environment he says we're all making up.

I just want to do my job while female. The pieces from men who get worked up about it should be dismissed and ridiculed as being the histrionic screeds that they are. It's baffling to me that they're treated like they have any merit at all. They don't.

I'm glad he got fired. I hope everyone like him gets fired. I hope he never works in tech again.
posted by one of these days at 7:06 AM on August 8 [45 favorites]


I'm okay with the possibility of this costing Google a lot of time and money. Quite frankly, they brought it on themselves by fostering this sort of mentality in tech in the first place. This is exactly the same shit that's going on in the White House right now, people who believe they personally are critical to the process and think they're immune from consequences, and are flabbergasted when their pile of bullshit gets them in trouble. But Google wouldn't be in this position if they hadn't filled their ranks with dudes like this, contributing to SV culture being a giant boy's club, and provided all the hand-holding and coddling and second chances that always accompanies this crap.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:08 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


Btw, GOOGL is down $1.02 right now, so that's another $295,800,000 lost, or a full year of productivity from 1500 highly skilled employees.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:12 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


I had a guy tell me the other day that I was posting disparaging things about white men in tech using a phone a white man had invented as though it was some kind of checkmate. Except I contributed to research on its runtime environment, so.

I'm gonna guess the guy didn't know Jobs' father was a Syrian refugee. Or that Tony Fadell is Lebanese-American.
posted by chris24 at 7:18 AM on August 8 [11 favorites]


Who was that one square-jawed Heinleinian engineer-hero who forged the iPhone solely through the force of his mighty individual will and intellect?
posted by acb at 7:20 AM on August 8 [22 favorites]


Well, obviously, it was i.
posted by Etrigan at 7:21 AM on August 8 [11 favorites]


Who was that one square-jawed Heinleinian engineer-hero who forged the iPhone solely through the force of his mighty individual will and intellect?

Sometimes I wonder if the impact of Heinlein was more pernicious than that of Ayn Rand.
posted by clawsoon at 7:21 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Sorry about that; i'm feeling a little irrational today.
posted by Etrigan at 7:21 AM on August 8 [14 favorites]




[Several deleted. pharm, stop it, step out of this thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:22 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


Sometimes I wonder if the impact of Heinlein was more pernicious than that of Ayn Rand.

Which one of them was it again that had the bet with Hubbard that he couldn't start a religion and make money out of it?
posted by acb at 7:23 AM on August 8


Many, many women in this thread: "Dudes, stop bringing this thing up."
Various dudes: *continue bringing the thing up*
Elsewhere, dudes: "Why don't women just say 'no'?"
posted by XtinaS at 7:23 AM on August 8 [31 favorites]




Rae Paoletta: Men Have Always Used 'Science' to Explain Why They're Better Than Women

YES. Thank you for that link. I've been trying to make a similar argument elsewhere over the last couple of days and that's much more coherent than anything I had come up with.
posted by zarq at 7:33 AM on August 8


Autumnheart :I'm okay with the possibility of this costing Google a lot of time and money. Quite frankly, they brought it on themselves by fostering this sort of mentality in tech in the first place.
... Google wouldn't be in this position if they hadn't filled their ranks with dudes like this.


I've never worked in Silicon Valley, or for a mega-company in the stratosphere like Google, so I only hear of what it's like inside there from the press and acquaintances.

Could you explain a little how Google has brought this on themselves? I don't believe there's a secret dudebro handshake that gets people past the screening, or that you get points for having read "Atlas Shrugged". And you can't exactly ask prospective hires about their political leanings, so it's hard to screen for that either positively or negatively.

The strongest criticisms I can imagine is that Google didn't try hard enough to ensure diversity in hiring, or that they haven't been rigourous enough in identifying and changing such behaviours, which I guess might also be reflected in the current discrimination suits they're facing.

I have a hard time imagining that Google intentionally hires "dudes like this".

I don't know, therefore I'm asking.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:02 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


If anyone is interested on the history of men using "science" to explain why women are dangerous and shouldn't be trusted to do things, check out The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture, 1830-1980 by Elaine Showalter or Women and Madness by Phyllis Chesler.

When women begin to threaten male authority, "SCIENCE" has always been a great excuse to get rid of them.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:03 AM on August 8 [15 favorites]


To the people who wanna pretend they know what I do for a living stop becaus at one point two years ago my job involved coordinating with the FBI and interpol to track active terrorist cells who had just murdered people in a certain Parisian nightclub in Europe. My job. As in that's what I did. So please, let me describe what I do and how that relates to tech and let you read my comments in good faith. Thank you.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:07 AM on August 8 [13 favorites]


Could you explain a little how Google has brought this on themselves? I don't believe there's a secret dudebro handshake that gets people past the screening, or that you get points for having read "Atlas Shrugged". And you can't exactly ask prospective hires about their political leanings, so it's hard to screen for that either positively or negatively.
I could be really wrong about this, because I'm not a Silicon Valley type at all, but it seems like there's a culture of questioning everything and being permitted to say anything, because that supposedly (and maybe really) fosters innovation and iconoclasm. And nobody thought what it could mean if people can really question everything and say anything, which is something that they probably should have considered. I think that this part of a bigger problem with tech-industry iconoclasm. They think they're not corporate or stodgy, but sometimes the stodgy corporate rules exist for a reason. And maybe tech companies need to consider whether aspects of old-school corporate culture exist for good reasons, including to protect the company from liability.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:15 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Could you explain a little how Google has brought this on themselves? I don't believe there's a secret dudebro handshake that gets people past the screening, or that you get points for having read "Atlas Shrugged". And you can't exactly ask prospective hires about their political leanings, so it's hard to screen for that either positively or negatively.

The strongest criticisms I can imagine is that Google didn't try hard enough to ensure diversity in hiring, or that they haven't been rigourous enough in identifying and changing such behaviours, which I guess might also be reflected in the current discrimination suits they're facing.


Well... yes. That's how they brought it on themselves. People tend to hire other people who are like them, especially when they're assholes. There isn't a dudebro handshake, but if you hire far more men than women, you are more likely to get dudebros.
posted by Etrigan at 8:17 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


Also if you hire for "fit". That's how dudebros get more dudebros.
posted by nat at 8:25 AM on August 8 [12 favorites]


Could you explain a little how Google has brought this on themselves?

They've been so lax/evil on gender equality that the Dept of Labor is suing them for discrimination.

They've created such a toxic work environment that this guy felt sending this on mass distribution was ok.

They've hired such assholes that supposedly 1/3 of the responses internally to it were positive.
posted by chris24 at 8:28 AM on August 8 [29 favorites]


The only hiring that can be reliably done using "fit" as anything useful is to have a really good set of living definitions and continually maintained bright lines around what a company's culture is and isn't about. It's not something that should be left ambiguously for middle management to decide.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:29 AM on August 8


Well... yes. That's how they brought it on themselves. People tend to hire other people who are like them, especially when they're assholes. There isn't a dudebro handshake, but if you hire far more men than women, you are more likely to get dudebros.

Around my area, most software people don't keep the same position for more than a few years. They either get an internal promotion, or more likely, they get headhunted or jump at a better opportunity. As a consequence... I've sat in the interview chair as often as anyone.

It's my experience that most savvy employers are more terrified of hiring an asshole - someone who does not play well with others, or who will otherwise cause disruption - than they are of an underqualified person. The incompetent will usually be detected pretty quickly and can easily and legally be terminated. The asshole, not so much.

So I still have a hard time imagining that Google actively or passively hires mostly assholes. so maybe their problem is more a case of internal rot?
posted by Artful Codger at 8:30 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


It's my experience that most savvy employers are more terrified of hiring an asshole - someone who does not play well with others, or who will otherwise cause disruption - than they are of an underqualified person.

But who gets to define what not playing well with others means? There are people who would say that BroFlake was playing well with others, and that people who correctly pointed out his misogyny and racism were not. And, from having taught CS in Google's back yard for six years, I can assure you that a lot of people like that made it thorough the program because nobody really challenged their beliefs.
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC at 8:37 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


someone who does not play well with others

How this plays out depends a whole lot on how you define the "others."

This guy probably plays perfectly well with other white bros.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:37 AM on August 8 [19 favorites]


It's my experience that most savvy employers are more terrified of hiring an asshole - someone who does not play well with others, or who will otherwise cause disruption - than they are of an underqualified person.

First off, you know what most assholes learn in high school? How to look like they're not assholes. They can skate through the most intense of job interviews, because they've been wearing that mask for their whole adult lives.

Second, "play well with others" is part of the problem: when the employer is himself a dudebro, other dudebros play well with him. When the employer isn't a dudebro but values "Let's all just get along" above "Let's not make the women and nonwhite people and noncishet people uncomfortable", then you get dudebros exploiting that.

Diversity is difficult. It doesn't just happen, because that's not how most people tend to work if they're not thinking about it. That's why the "rest state" of large organizations tends toward assholes coming to dominate, if the non-assholes don't band together and occasionally be a little mean to those assholes. Assholes learn to wear the mask of nice guys and exploit the tiny gaps between people and which people it's okay to be an asshole to and under what circumstances. The ones who don't learn that end up working night shift at gas stations because no one wants to work with them.
posted by Etrigan at 8:39 AM on August 8 [23 favorites]


It's my experience that most savvy employers are more terrified of hiring an asshole - someone who does not play well with others, or who will otherwise cause disruption - than they are of an underqualified person. The incompetent will usually be detected pretty quickly and can easily and legally be terminated. The asshole, not so much.

Which is how homogenous workplaces are created, because people with hiring authority hire their friends and their friends' friends, on the personal recommendation that those people aren't assholes. And they probably aren't, to each other, until you bring some women or POC on board and suddenly there's a manifesto circulating around the company because you didn't realize that your buddy on the dev team spends his spare time on the Red Pill.

So I still have a hard time imagining that Google actively or passively hires mostly assholes.

What evidence would possibly convince you, if the factual existence of the discrimination lawsuit is not sufficient? This is also how homogenous workplaces are perpetuated, because even when someone's an asshole, people with hiring authority "just don't believe it". Even when it happens right in front of their face. This is GOTO 10 for "handholding, coddling and excusing" people who discriminate.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:39 AM on August 8 [25 favorites]


"Dear @Google,

Stop teaching my girl that her path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR.

Thx in advance,

A dad"
-Eric Weinstein, Managing Dir, Thiel Capital
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:48 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Turns out that Damore was lying about having a PhD, which would be surprising if it wasn't an entirely common pattern.
posted by jacobian at 8:49 AM on August 8 [41 favorites]


> Stop teaching my girl that her path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR.

So, uh, where are we with that wicker man?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:52 AM on August 8 [22 favorites]



What evidence would possibly convince you, if the factual existence of the discrimination lawsuit is not sufficient?


To me, the lawsuit says that Google is alleged to have not met the letter of the law (or its own hype) regarding diversity and pay equity. They have bragged about having a high standard ("Do no evil" etc), so yeah, better walk the talk, but it's also true that they're under a particularly strong microscope by virtue of being a government supplier. Stats across every industry indicate significant gaps in pay equity and diversity.

I don't have a problem with leaning into Google especially hard for not meeting those standards. Which is a bit different from asserting that they've filled the place with assholes.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:57 AM on August 8


"Dear @Google,
Stop teaching my girl that her path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR.
Thx in advance,
A dad"
-Eric Weinstein, Managing Dir, Thiel Capital


@laurenduca
Fixed it!

"Dear @Google,
Stop teaching my daughter that she should speak up when she is sexually harassed.
Thx in advance,
A misogynist"

@karaswisher
Dear @EricRWeinstein,
Stop teaching my boys that their path to decency lies not in coding but in denigrating women.
Thx in advance,
A mom
posted by chris24 at 8:58 AM on August 8 [38 favorites]


It's my experience that most savvy employers are more terrified of hiring an asshole - someone who does not play well with others, or who will otherwise cause disruption - than they are of an underqualified person.

As others have said, they're more terrified of hiring someone who makes them uncomfortable, or who will once the initial "be nice to everyone" of the interview stage is over - they often don't think it's a problem to hire someone who thinks thousands of his coworkers were hired to fill quotas.

Very few job interviews ask white men, "what do you think of the contributions of women in your industry? Have you worked with people of other races, or people whose native language isn't English, and how did that go? Have you worked under a team lead who had experience in the industry but no college degree?"

They don't ask, "how well do you work with people whose background is not like yours?" They focus on, "tell me about a problem you fixed that saved money for your company."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:58 AM on August 8 [14 favorites]


Turns out that Damore was lying about having a PhD

Ahahahaha. Zomg. So the dude was in fact inflating his own expertise in order to get the job at which he denigrated others for being inherently less capable. WOW. I wonder how many people his manifesto ripped on *did* earn the degrees they put on their resume. And why on earth did Google not validate his credentials before hiring him? They must be on a first-name basis with people in the Harvard admissions office.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:02 AM on August 8 [34 favorites]


Four scientists on the Google memo. The whole thing is worth reading, but here are the comments by Debra W. Soh, who has a Ph.D in sexual neuroscience:
As a woman who’s worked in academia and within STEM, I didn’t find the memo offensive or sexist in the least. I found it to be a well thought out document, asking for greater tolerance for differences in opinion, and treating people as individuals instead of based on group membership.

Within the field of neuroscience, sex differences between women and men—when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences—are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong. This is not information that’s considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you’d be laughed at.

Sex researchers recognize that these differences are not inherently supportive of sexism or stratifying opportunities based on sex. It is only because a group of individuals have chosen to interpret them that way, and to subsequently deny the science around them, that we have to have this conversation at a public level. Some of these ideas have been published in neuroscientific journals—despite having faulty study methodology—because they’ve been deemed socially pleasing and “progressive.” As a result, there’s so much misinformation out there now that people genuinely don’t know what to believe.

No matter how controversial it is or how great the pushback, I believe it’s important to speak out, because if we can’t discuss scientific truths, where does that leave us?
posted by John Cohen at 9:03 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Turns out that Damore was lying about having a PhD, which would be surprising if it wasn't an entirely common pattern.

I was wondering what kind of PhD he would be getting at Havard in such a short amount of time. I know European PhD's generally are done in three years but AFAIK that's with a Master's degree beforehand.

Ugh.
posted by invokeuse at 9:04 AM on August 8


Turns out that Damore was lying about having a PhD

Did he lie about it? It isn't in his memorandum. Is it in his profile anywhere? Someone may have looked up his history at Harvard and found that he was in the PhD program at one time and jumped to the conclusion that he had a PhD. It's worth being careful about accusations since it can backfire if wrong.
posted by JackFlash at 9:05 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


> To me, the lawsuit says that Google is alleged to have not met the letter of the law (or its own hype) regarding diversity and pay equity.

Wait a minute, where is this "or its own hype" bit coming from? Whether they are systematically discriminating based on gender has nothing to do with how Google advertises themselves. This looks awfully close to an attempt to define down any existing discrimination as merely not meeting their own standards, as opposed to labor regulations set by the federal government.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:07 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


What if men played women's advocate even half the time they feel compelled to play devil's advocate?
posted by theora55 at 9:08 AM on August 8 [70 favorites]



Four scientists on the Google memo. The whole thing is worth reading, but here are the comments by Debra W. Soh, who has a Ph.D in sexual neuroscience:


What point are you trying to make here by posting this?
posted by Jalliah at 9:10 AM on August 8 [22 favorites]


The link from John Cohen was shared by Breitbart yesterday, if that gives you an idea about its provenance & contents
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:10 AM on August 8 [34 favorites]


Four scientists on the Google memo. The whole thing is worth reading

Ron Howard voice: It wasn't.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:13 AM on August 8 [41 favorites]


Very few job interviews ask white men, "what do you think of the contributions of women in your industry? Have you worked with people of other races, or people whose native language isn't English, and how did that go? Have you worked under a team lead who had experience in the industry but no college degree?"

They don't ask, "how well do you work with people whose background is not like yours?" They focus on, "tell me about a problem you fixed that saved money for your company."


Last comment, then I'll leave this alone. Promise. Unless someone asks me something.

In most companies, especially midsize or larger, HR would walk me through their code of conduct, and then I'd have to sign it. And a walk through the office usually makes it clear the extent of their commitment to their stated policies. I have to assume Google makes new hires sign on to the code of conduct. I doubt that Google HR is anything less than sincere about it when they discuss it, or that there's a big fat wink as they do.

tonycpu: This looks awfully close to an attempt to define down any existing discrimination as merely not meeting their own standards

No, sorry if you think so. We both know the lawsuit is based on regulations, not hype. Not meeting one's hype is indicative of hypocrisy.

Anyway, I said I'd not pursue this line further, unless there's a question directed to me. Thanks.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:13 AM on August 8


Oh, and a quick google check shows that Debra W. Soh, PhD has made a nice cottage industry out of writing OpEds that suggest feminists and trans activists are the REAL fascists who hate objective science facts.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:14 AM on August 8 [56 favorites]


Well, the number of assholes they currently have have gotten Google investigated by the DOJ and is now dragging their name through the mud in a spectacular way. I would say that however many assholes that is, whether it's 45,000 or 3, is probably too many.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:16 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


The link from John Cohen was shared by Breitbart yesterday, if that gives you an idea about its provenance & contents

Yes I know. That's why I asked point blank. Like just say what you want to say without being all passive aggressive about it. There are several assumptions about the intent that could easily be made and for the sake of 'rational conversation' it would be great to just say exactly what he means so we can get on with it. Like have courage man. Just say it.
posted by Jalliah at 9:17 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


> Four scientists on the Google memo. The whole thing is worth reading, but here are the comments by Debra W. Soh, who has a Ph.D in sexual neuroscience:

Other choice contributions to the public debate from Debra Soh:

We need to protect free speech on campus
We are barrelling toward a future in which the greatest minds must be more preoccupied with who might possibly take offence to their ideas than whether they are factually correct. Banning controversial speakers and unpopular opinions may seem harmless at first glance, but it sends a larger chill across campuses, an anti-intellectual shift that is derailing our fundamental pursuit of knowledge and the truth.
Op-Ed Are gender feminists and transgender activists undermining science?

... on preview, a fiendish thingy notes Soh's history, and frankly I don't want to dignify the rest of it by quoting it here.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:17 AM on August 8 [11 favorites]


Turns out that Damore was lying about having a PhD

Did he lie about it?


His LinkedIn still claims he has a Phd.
posted by chris24 at 9:17 AM on August 8 [21 favorites]


I would say that however many assholes that is, whether it's 45,000 or 3, is probably too many.

I, and most likely Google's board, agree with you.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:18 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


> No, sorry if you think so. We both know the lawsuit is based on regulations, not hype. Not meeting one's hype is indicative of hypocrisy.

Yeah, but you actually said "I don't have a problem with leaning into Google especially hard for not meeting those standards." Do you have a problem with them not meeting the standards of labor law, if that turns out to be the case?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:18 AM on August 8


What IS this person. (link to Salon article by Debra Soh re: pedophilia)
posted by Donald Trump Sex Nightmare at 9:18 AM on August 8


What IS this person. (link to Salon article by Debra Soh re: pedophilia)

A scientist!

And she thinks this dudes writing is awesome!

And she is feeeeeeeeeeeemale!




We win!!!
posted by Jalliah at 9:20 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


In most companies, especially midsize or larger, HR would walk me through their code of conduct, and then I'd have to sign it.

In most companies, hiring comes with a stack of papers including an employee handbook that contains a code of conduct. You do indeed sign it, and failing to follow it is what got Damore fired.

However, they don't check in the interview for "are you likely to be looking for ways to weasel out of this code of conduct, or are you actually committed to treating your coworkers with respect?"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:22 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


> Yes, absolutely. regulations is regulations. There's no conflict between prosecuting a company for violation of regulation, AND social pressure to uphold stated policy, is there?

I viewed your comment as conflating their legal obligations and their own stated values. If that wasn't your intent, I apologize for misinterpreting.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:26 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the book recommendations, a fiendish thingy. Here's another: Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences by Cordelia Fine. Dr. Fine is an academic psychologist as well as an author, and writes about the specific methodological problems as well as the systemic issues plaguing the research that gets cited in discussions like these.
posted by galaxy rise at 9:27 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


Debra Soh defended her Phd at York University last summer, and has been very busy writing questionable columns ever since.
posted by chris24 at 9:28 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


His LinkedIn still claims he has a Phd.

Thanks Chris24.
posted by JackFlash at 9:28 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


I once met a family friend’s new husband. He talked about “hiring for fit”, but a few questions revealed that what he meant was “I can’t hire a woman because my other employees would sexually harass her and she probably couldn’t handle it” and “I can’t hire a non-white person because they probably wouldn’t like listening to lots of racist jokes and Fox news memes all the time” and “my employees aren’t going to change and asking them to meet minimum standards of human decency would feel uncomfortable for me”.

"Hiring for fit" usually means "I work in management, but I do not wish to manage"
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:30 AM on August 8 [46 favorites]


"Has some PHD"
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:30 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Op-Ed Are gender feminists and transgender activists undermining science?

"Gender feminists". Lol.

This is transphobic garbage and it's fucking disappointing to see it posted here.
posted by Dysk at 9:30 AM on August 8 [15 favorites]


In my company, we have employee orientation for new hires that lasts 3 days (when I was hired, it was 5) and a full day is spent going over company policy in detail and signing forms acknowledging that you will abide by the policies. Additionally, we have an e-learning about harassment that we must all take yearly and sign digitally that we took it. (And it e-nags our immediate managers until we have.)

I'd be interested to know what Google's formal process is for informing employees about their policies and obtaining sign-off.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:31 AM on August 8


If we're recommending books against neurosexism, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong-and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story by Angela Saini is recent and really good.
posted by sukeban at 9:32 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


This is transphobic garbage and it's fucking disappointing to see it posted here.

I understood it as being posted as an example of why that author is not a credible source of scientific validation (because she posts crap like that). Not an endorsement or a rebuttal.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:33 AM on August 8 [13 favorites]


Minor thought: If Damore's resume said he has a PhD, his lawsuit against Google is sunk.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:33 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


I love that someone who lied on their resume and then did something almost guaranteed to reveal that lie thinks he's smarter than all those pesky genetically inferior women.
posted by chris24 at 9:42 AM on August 8 [33 favorites]


Another interesting book on how systems creating gender binaries have historically done a lot of work to avoid/erase/redefine evidence that contradicts their organizing structures: Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud by Thomas Laqueur
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:43 AM on August 8


Debra W. Soh, PhD has made a nice cottage industry out of writing OpEds that suggest feminists and trans activists are the REAL fascists who hate objective science facts.

The link from John Cohen was shared by Breitbart yesterday, if that gives you an idea about its provenance & contents


I am not at all surprised at this turn of events in the thread.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:45 AM on August 8 [26 favorites]


> I understood it as being posted as an example of why that author is not a credible source of scientific validation (because she posts crap like that). Not an endorsement or a rebuttal.

Right. I thought that was clear from context. I've got no problem at all if folks want to flag away and nuke it from orbit, but rest assured my only purpose in linking as to show the kind of "scientific" perspective Soh is bringing to the table when others are approvingly linking to her support of the Damore manifesto.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:49 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


ArbitratryAndCapricious writes: I could be really wrong about this, because I'm not a Silicon Valley type at all, but it seems like there's a culture of questioning everything and being permitted to say anything, because that supposedly (and maybe really) fosters innovation and iconoclasm. And nobody thought what it could mean if people can really question everything and say anything, which is something that they probably should have considered. I think that this part of a bigger problem with tech-industry iconoclasm. They think they're not corporate or stodgy, but sometimes the stodgy corporate rules exist for a reason. And maybe tech companies need to consider whether aspects of old-school corporate culture exist for good reasons, including to protect the company from liability.

By my observation, you're exactly right. Another facet of this innovation culture mindset is that techbros come to think that with the tiniest sliver of information they've got full authority to challenge/upend/disrupt just about anything that strikes their fancy--without the *faintest* recognition of their vast ignorance, lack of understanding, nuance, context, history, nothin'.

Of course, because their emotional incapacity leads them to self-delude that they're "rational", they have absolutely no self-awareness that the things that strike their fancy are slanted and self-serving. No surprise that this feeds into the whole Libertarian clusterfuck too.

An anecdote: I dated a guy who is steeped in the Google techbro culture (indeed is a Google techbro himself), has an outsized degree from a top-notch institution. Super smart, super cerebral, loved to mix it up and talk about points from Slatestar Codex and all that bullshit. This happened several times: He'd come to me all fired up about some point that some in-group dudebro had made that was remotely near my own area of expertise and present me with some elaborately constructed blogpost argument about why (X institution) was so stupid and wrong about (Y course of action) and so--of course, inevitably--we should burn it all down. Usually it took about three sentences to put whatever dumbass idea into the barest form of context and show that (Y course of action) was actually the right thing to do because of (A, B, C considerations) that the blog post author had completely omitted.

This happened All. The. Time.

I was struck that the manifesto that sparked this whole thing used the phrase "echo chamber" because that's exactly how I came to think of the intellectual circles my ex loved so much. These guys were so very convinced that they were right, and god help us if they could get any math into the argument (the endless masturbation about p-hacking, I tell you). The whole point of the exercise was to reinforce the emotional strokes that in-group members were RIGHT.
posted by Sublimity at 9:51 AM on August 8 [36 favorites]


I never looked at his linkedin before. His claim that he got a Systems Biology PhD from Harvard in 2 years would be suspect in the first place, and it's pretty clear from his Harvard profile that he did not publish a dissertation, so hopefully for him if he did put a PhD on his resume with google it would have been easily caught.

Google Scholar only shows two papers for him, both of which were written while he was a technician at MIT.
posted by muddgirl at 9:52 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


His claim that he got a Systems Biology PhD from Harvard in 2 years would be suspect in the first place,

It's suspect, but at a glance, I think a lot of people were inclined to think--he's a senior engineer at Google. He's clearly remarkable, so why not believe he's that remarkable? I doubt he lied to Google in hiring because that's a more significant vetting process, but he was definitely in a position where I don't think people would have glanced at his LinkedIn and assumed he dropped out unless they had some other reason to believe that was the case. It seems like the sort of thing that was supposed to lend him social prestige while working in a place full of people with better pedigrees than he had. Without that and having worked--not studied--at MIT and Princeton, he's just a guy with a bachelor's degree from UIUC.
posted by Sequence at 10:02 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Definitely agree, Sequence - a lot of his supporters are calling him "Harvard PhD" and the like as if that gives credence to his ideas (appeal to false authority) based off of very erroneous information.
posted by muddgirl at 10:09 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


-he's a senior engineer at Google. He's clearly remarkable

The word "senior" is deceiving - "senior" is the lowest level where you won't be fired for failing to improve annually.
posted by GuyZero at 10:10 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


Hey, so my absolute favorite part of all of this is how it's revealed how many men are still, by and large, completely fucking terrible.

It's looking like, what, at least half, right? At least half?

SO THAT'S FUN TO THINK ABOUT ALL THE TIME.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:11 AM on August 8 [40 favorites]


how it's revealed how many men are still, by and large, completely fucking terrible.

I just finished catching up on Handmaid's Tale, where the thesis of say 90% of the episodes is "Hey, men are real terrible aren't they? Like, sure we all live in a patriarchal dystopia now so assholage is to be expected, but remember when we didn't and yet men still sucked?"
posted by muddgirl at 10:14 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Four scientists on the Google memo. The whole thing is worth reading

Leaving Soh aside, of the other three authors in the linked piece, I would note:

1. The first author claims the memo is largely 'accurate' and then makes a bunch of claims about how it correctly describes Google's actions and atmosphere, despite noting that 'I cannot speak to the atmosphere at Google.' They are, by their own admission, not really in a position to evaluate the memo's claims in context.

2. On the topic of affirmative action and hiring policies, notes that '[a]s this is not my area of expertise, I can only offer my non-expert opinion on this issue' -- again, not someone in a position to evaluate the memo in context.

3. Criticizes responses to the memo thusly: 'When the memo went viral, thousands of journalists and bloggers transformed themselves overnight from not understanding evolutionary psychology at all to claiming enough expertise to criticize the whole scientific literature on biological sex differences.' He then goes on to criticize Google's hiring and diversity programs, on which he has no expertise. (I leave the reader to draw their own ironic parallel.)

I don't see why any of this is worth reading; even if you take the memo fully at face value and stack these statements up against it, the memo author makes a number of statements about perceived harms of diversity programs and hiring practices -- concrete, actionable issues about which none of these four authors are experts. One of them, very much to their credit, admits that; the others make claims about the memo's 'accuracy' that they simply are not fit to judge.

In summary: this is a garbage article that's making an unwarranted appeal to authority.
posted by cjelli at 10:14 AM on August 8 [31 favorites]


> I doubt he lied to Google in hiring because that's a more significant vetting process [...]

Mmm, don't be so sure. I've had two former employees use me as a reference at Google, and in neither case did anyone from Google contact me to check the reference (they both did get offers). And as far as I know the only employer of mine that actually checked my references did so as part of a post-hire background check, not as part of the hiring process. Actually checking references is more rare than you might think; calling up universities to verify someone's degree is practically unheard-of.

Obviously nobody can know if Damore misrepresented himself to Google. But it's common for people with privilege to lie on their resume and get away with it. One aspect of privilege is assumed competence -- it would be completely in line with tech norms for Google to assume that someone really had a PhD because he "looks the part" (read: is a white guy).
posted by jacobian at 10:19 AM on August 8 [13 favorites]


[A few deleted. Artful Codger, you've said you're done here, so go ahead and step away.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:41 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Could you explain a little how Google has brought this on themselves? I don't believe there's a secret dudebro handshake that gets people past the screening

There is a not-so-secret dudebro background that gets people past the screening. It's a CS degree from one of several very selective, very white, very expensive universities, completed in four years -- not five or six, the way most working students do it, and not at a "lesser" state school and certainly not a community college transfer program. The programs in question are very rigorous, and don't give a student time to take much in the way of humanities or social science classes -- not even "the history of computing" makes the cut. Oh, and your summers? Yeah, you better be working internships, and not trying to pay the bills, or go home to care for your younger siblings (and forget about it if you've got your own kids to watch).

Plenty of people go into these programs because they know that they are essentially the path to "easy mode" for hiring at Google. (Not suggesting these programs are easy, but once you've completed them, you have a significantly easier time getting an interview/job at Google than your classmate with a Political Science degree and a minor in CS).

When someone comes in with that background, Google will ask internal folks who went to school with the candidate about him. The alumni network helps the candidate. Then when the candidate arrives for the first in a long series of interviews, he will see at least one familiar/friendly face... and most of the others that he sees will look like him and have a similar background. A lot of people are involved in the interview process. Almost any of them can give a "no-hire", and they are not necessarily hiring managers -- they are peers.

Damore could easily "no-hire" every female candidate that he interviewed, and the others around him would chalk it up to "James thinks she's unqualified, and he does the job that she'd be doing so he's probably right". That's the dudebro handshake.

But there's a lot more...

When google was starting its culture, their hiring process was obscene. They wanted young men, straight out of Stanford, who would work crazy hours in a soulless office on top of an old landfill in Mountain View. They hired by asking questions like "how would you go about determining how many ping pong balls would fit in a depressurized 747 in flight". These questions don't predict success in the workplace, but they do give there interviewer huge latitude to say "her thought process on the puzzle questions wasn't very well developed".

Then Google built its campus. The company went out of their way to provide as many perks as possible to employees to encourage them to stay on campus all the time (free meals is just the beginning -- the joke is that Google provides everything that a Googler's mom used to do). They built an atmosphere that resembled a college campus -- dining halls, bike paths, academic discourse, symposiums hosted by famous smart people, etc. etc. For people who wanted an extended college experience, time at google was good time.

Eventually (around the time they started the process of going public), they started hiring some adults and providing perks for them (my nephews went to Google preschool, and yes it's amazing). But by that point, the engineering culture was pretty much set in stone, and most of the adults that they hired were not in engineering positions.

So, they build a culture around coddling white dudes plucked straight from fancy universities, without having them stop in a real job first. They gave those same white dudes outsized power and (post-IPO) compensation compared to what they'd have in most other companies. They intentionally made "a job at Google" the end-game for a lot of privileged college students. And then they made talking about what life inside of google is really like a fireable offense.

Yeah, they created this.
posted by toxic at 10:50 AM on August 8 [101 favorites]


lmao about the phd
posted by edeezy at 11:27 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


lmao about the phd

The dumb thing is Harvard appears to have confirmed that dude has got a Masters degree. Leaving Harvard with a terminal masters to work at google is not a loser's story. Leaving Harvard with a terminal masters and then pretending to have a PhD is.
posted by muddgirl at 11:35 AM on August 8 [41 favorites]


8 Vignettes from the Tech Industry - Twine interactive fiction by Elizabeth Sampat.
posted by Jeanne at 11:42 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


As far as the whole "culture" thing goes, other above have documented the hiring process very well. Here are a few other ways that companies like this perpetuate the culture:

Providing more mentoring opportunities to male employees from male managers.

Assigning male employees more visible projects and giving them more opportunities to lead, bu not proving the same opportunities for female employees.

Mitigating the failure of male employees, and allowing them to try again multiple times, without doing the same for female employees.

Glossing over sexist and/or racist remarks by silencing the recipient.

Accusing people who mention or raise issues about the lack of diversity of being "too sensitive" or wanting to impair productivity or "whining."

Fostering a culture of extreme competition, interrupting, and table-pounding, while making denigrating remarks about women who raise their voices and pound on the table.

Mocking or ignoring other departments (HR, Training, Marketing) where female leadership is more common. Allowing lower-level employees to explicitly diss or mock senior women behind their back without correction.

Allowing employees to refer to female hires as "affirmative action hires" and to say, "Well, I hope you're/she's qualified for her job" without correction.

Fostering the stealing of women's ideas by men.

Tuning out, checking your phone, talking or otherwise refusing to pay attention when female employees are speaking, but being attentive when male employees are.

Actually sabotaging female employees, including providing bad data, not adding them to the email chain, not inviting them to key meetings, or making changes to the project scope and schedule behind their backs.

I have personally witnessed all of these, and heard about them ad nauseaum.
posted by dancing_angel at 11:47 AM on August 8 [41 favorites]


Expecting extra work of femme-presenting employees, including non-skill related tasks such as taking meeting notes, making coffee, organizing social events, leading team diversity efforts, working through the interpersonal issues of other employees.
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:50 AM on August 8 [20 favorites]


I can't remember if I read it here or elsewhere:

When a man goes above and beyond, making a project successful largely through his own efforts, it's defined as his having leadership potential. When a woman does it, she's defined as a "team player".
posted by Autumnheart at 12:01 PM on August 8 [26 favorites]


Well, good to know that Julian Assange has his back, offering him a job at wikileaks.
posted by JackFlash at 12:06 PM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Something Dysck said upthread really resonated with me, anybody working in the emergency services, paramedics, ERstaff, critical care et cetera et cetera really doesn't have these shit ideas about gender

I wonder why?

I have on numerous locations been told why (biology) reasons for more men in surgery, yet I have never seen a strong argument other than the old equipment didn't allow for anything but brute force in things like hip replacements.
posted by Wilder at 12:06 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I really wanted to call attention to Sublimity's fantastic comment above and highlight an important piece:
"Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts." I have worked in male-dominated tech fields all my life and know no end of tech bros and let me tell you: this sentence tells me that the author is so emotionally illiterate that he has no clue that what he's written is a 10 page ten page temper tantrum. I use the phrase "emotionally illiterate" quite consciously because many men literally do not recognize the emotions that act within them, nor the processes of self-justification that get layered on top. They're convinced that they're rational when they're anything but--they're driven by emotion as much or more than anyone else, more so and worse because they're so clueless about it. In particular, people who cling so strongly to the self-identity as "rational" use it as an emotional crutch.
YES YES AND MORE YES.

Reading parts of this irrational screed made me think over and over again that this dude is angry, scared, unsure, challenged, and completely oblivious to those sensations. I doubt he has much ability at all to recognize, sit with, and process unpleasant emotions. He thinks his so-called disengagement from his emotions leads him to "better" reasoning, when in fact, it leads directly to worse reasoning because he can't take his internal emotional state in to account while reasoning.

It does not help that boys, in particular but not exclusively, are taught such piss-poor emotional coping/management skills. Furthermore, poor emotion management skills in non-cis-het-white male people are considered frightening, maladaptive, pathological, or justification for dismissal, while cis-het-white dudes are very often given a free pass or at minimum a whole lot of slack (e.g., he's too young/old to know better, he's just asking an intellectual question, and on and on).

Our society really needs to get better at educating everyone, but most especially white boys about emotion management. Emotions are useful! They can tell us so much about what we need--it's "irrational" to dismiss them because they are a source of information that we can use to improve our situations. We're all rational AND emotional beings--denying that fact is foolish.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:16 PM on August 8 [68 favorites]


What Excommunicated Cardinal and Sublimity said. I just want to add one thing:
It does not help that boys, in particular but not exclusively, are taught such piss-poor emotional coping/management skills.
Like many other women, I was never taught these skills either (messed up family). The difference is that women are punished when we're bad at this stuff, while men generally aren't.

Guess what you learn real quick when there are consequences for being bad at it?
posted by schadenfrau at 1:05 PM on August 8 [31 favorites]


> He thinks his so-called disengagement from his emotions leads him to "better" reasoning, when in fact, it leads directly to worse reasoning because he can't take his internal emotional state in to account while reasoning.

As someone who has a very hard taking my internal emotional state into account while reasoning, this seems very likely to me. As a white male engineer on the autistic spectrum this reads very much like someone who has a hard time with emotional reasoning, and if I had grown up differently I can see myself writing something like this. This is also true for communities like SlateStarCortex, the yearly surveys make it clear that autism-spectrum is heavily overrepresented. So I somewhat disagree with this statement because it's quite possible that he IS better at reasoning when he disengages from his emotions, because the emotions literally cannot be dealt with effectively.

But this in no way excuses anything written because although I have an extremely hard time figuring out what I'm feeling, it is not difficult at all for me to predict that writing something like he did would cause huge emotional distress to many people and create no positive practical value. You don't need to have natural emotional empathy to not be an asshole, you just have to consider the emotions of others and treat them as real and important. It would probably be very difficult to teach the author about emotional management skills, I've been trying for decades and am barely any better at it. But we can absolutely educate people about why they should rationally care about the feelings of others. Socialization and education can be just as powerful at teaching people to care for others as it is at teaching them to embrace capitalism, it's just not something that we do, especially for young boys.
posted by JZig at 1:07 PM on August 8 [25 favorites]


For those interested in the retaliation claims, Bloomberg talked to some labor lawyers: Fired Google Engineer Will Have a Tough Time Making Legal Case He's the Victim:
"Any claim that [Damore] brings will have only a negligible chance at success," said law professor Paul Secunda, who directs the labor and employment law program at Marquette University.
...
Damore’s best bet probably would be to bring a claim under the National Labor Relations Act accusing the company of violating the legal protection for collective action in the workplace, said Wilma Liebman, who chaired the National Labor Relations Board under President Obama.

To prevail, he would have to show that his letter was related to workplace conditions, that it was designed to instigate collective action among his co-workers, and that it wasn’t so defamatory or offensive as to forfeit legal protection. “I think it’s an open question," said Liebman. “It’s not a slam dunk either way.”
And given that the NLRB has recently taken a rather expansive view of "concerted activity,” to the point that cursing out your boss and his family on Facebook along with a pro-union message is considered protected, I can kind of understand that nobody wants to say with great certainty where the lines are here. On the other hand, Google can now point to the harm he's caused pretty specifically, which isn't going to help his argument.

I don't particularly care that Google may have to defend a lawsuit over this, but seeing this guy get a payout for his behavior would be incredibly sad.
posted by zachlipton at 1:14 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


SlateStarCortex

O.o
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:14 PM on August 8 [14 favorites]


SlateStarCortex

Crap.... too much MeFi on the brain, I clearly meant SlateStarCodex
posted by JZig at 1:17 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I figured, but it's a typo that brought a smile to my face in an otherwise depressing thread, so thank you.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:20 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


tofu_crouton: Expecting extra work of femme-presenting employees, including non-skill related tasks such as taking meeting notes, making coffee, organizing social events, leading team diversity efforts, working through the interpersonal issues of other employees.

I am frequently an idiot, but even I have noticed that. Again. And again.
posted by clawsoon at 1:22 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


I suspect that this guy has never posted a pro-union position in his life. Without that, the NLRB isn't going to be particularly interested. I'd further bet that G has him on the record saying that unions are unnecessary or anti-meritocracy, probably on the same system where he posted his manifesto.

Big legal difference between "Management is requiring us to hire girls with cooties, and we shouldn't, and here's why I think so" and "Management is requiring us to hire women, and we shouldn't, and here's how we organize and present unified opposition to this policy."
posted by toxic at 1:27 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


And given that the NLRB has recently taken a rather expansive view of "concerted activity,” to the point that cursing out your boss and his family on Facebook along with a pro-union message is considered protected

In the cited case the activity occurred two days before a union certification election. The NLRB ruled that this was protected union activity related to the election. That is nothing even close to the Damore situation.
posted by JackFlash at 1:30 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


My husband was advised by multiple men who are more economically, geographically, and educationally privileged than he is to just lie on LinkedIn about college - not to put it on his resume, but to to put it on LinkedIn - that in their experience it never really comes up but gets you past some hurdles. My husband, of course, didn't follow this advice. It was fascinating to see men admit to what they've gotten away with (all the women in the discussion suggested vehemently against this lie as they couldn't imagine it would ever work - for them).
posted by radiopaste at 1:33 PM on August 8 [11 favorites]


JZig, thanks for your insightful comment.

Emotional skills are actual *skills*, in the sense of something that people can focus on, learn about, and improve. To broadly generalize, I think girls are just socialized a whole lot more to be aware of and work with those skills than boys are--in fact often boys literally get their emotional responses beaten out of them, learn the hard way to completely suppress them.

One of the things I was shocked to learn during the struggles of my marriage was that my (now ex-) husband actually, literally, was incapable of simply recognizing and naming the emotions that he felt at any given time. In our intense work in couples' therapy, and his own personal growth work with an excellent mens' group, I came to learn that actual, literal, emotional illiteracy is incredibly widespread among men. I had assumed quite incorrectly that he, indeed all people, had nuanced understanding of emotion--which I now believe is because I was socialized like a woman, and didn't recognize what it was like to be socialized like a boy. Not that he didn't feel emotions, or act on them--he certainly did, in spades--but the ability to recognize the basic emotions was just absent, and the ability to self-reflect on them or develop that was impossible without it.

I bring up this personal experience because I don't think I would have understood this in quite this depth without having gone through the painful, intimate experience of having learned this, up close and personal. But having learned the hallmarks, and how widespread this phenomenon is, I see it all over the place, and in particular in the techbro culture that we're talking about.

I'm a scientist myself. I absolutely understand the emotional draw, the emotional resonance to learning, to the draw to logic and well-supported conclusions, to the accomplishments of technology. I see it all over the place with those guys, too, except they don't realize how their prefrontal cortex is busy building justifications as their toddler brains are throwing a tantrum.
posted by Sublimity at 1:34 PM on August 8 [19 favorites]


i just had the weirdest feeling, did anybody else have a weird feeling just now, was it just me
posted by cortex at 1:49 PM on August 8 [26 favorites]


i just had the weirdest feeling, did anybody else have a weird feeling just now, was it just me

I immediately suppressed it.
posted by clawsoon at 1:54 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Did it feel like existential dread mixed with high statistical significance? Probably was the SlateStar Cortex thing from a little ways up.
posted by Sublimity at 1:58 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Aw, jesus christ on a crutch, I'm late to this particular party. I'm glad to second Excommunicated Cardinal and Sublime's excellent comments on emotional vs logical reasoning, though--it's fucking clear that this bro is really, really bad at distinguishing both his own emotions and honestly bad at logically evaluating the existing data in the scientific literature. He is bad at logic.

I say this because in arguments with people who view things the way these gentlemen do, when I actually resort to dispassionate analysis of the evidence and start asking for specifics and delving deep into study designs, generally they throw a fit. There's a particular and excellent book I'm thinking of, Rebecca Jordan-Young's Brain Storm, that devotes an entire chapter to carefully going through and reviewing the literature on sex-specific interests with respect to testosterone, both in the context of studies done on people with congenital adrenal hyperplasia and in the context of studies done on digit length ratios. The book in question is notable to me because the author takes the time to go through many studies and discuss methodologies, specific small inconsistencies in results, and small flaws in design.

But when I try to bring the points this author makes, or even ask to talk about the evidence underlying the claims that these bros are making so confidently, they immediately become defensive and accuse me of being anti-science. I'm a scientist myself and I am fluent in hormonal and biochemical research, and in conversations like these I'm explicitly dropping all questions about what should be aside and asking to logically and, with minimal emotion, evaluate the evidence for claims about what is. That's literally the fucking scientific method.

And still these men will defensively hurl appeals to authority and emotional attacks at me, when I take them at their literal word and argue in exactly the way they say they want.
posted by sciatrix at 1:58 PM on August 8 [60 favorites]


Ashley Feinberg, Wired: Internal Messages Show Some Googlers Supported Fired Engineer’s Manifesto, with leaked screenshots from Google's internal discussion of the document.

In particular, one Googler tried to demonstrate that the manifesto was absurd by asking whether the author would view Google's lack of racial diversity through the same biological lens. Damore missed the point entirely:
Rather than dismiss race science out of hand, Damore responds that he doesn't "know as much about racial issues" as he does about "gender ones." He goes on to claim, "Also, women and men have repeatedly been shown to have biologically driven differences in population level distributions of traits so it’s much easier to understand some of the forces (and their solution) behind the gender gap."

Eventually, Damore takes offense as he catches on: "I’ve been told by multiple people that you’re trying to bait me into saying something to get me fired and that you’ve done it before. This is perhaps the least Googley thing I’ve heard anyone do, please stop.”
And more inside.
posted by zachlipton at 2:02 PM on August 8 [9 favorites]


if you really want someone to go through and dissect his claims on a biological basis I probably could do it, esp. on a testosterone-level basis, but I would be effectively borrowing and cribbing an awful lot of analysis from both Rebecca Jordan-Watson and Cordelia Fine. It would also be a hell of a lot of work because the claims he makes are so vague, poorly cited, and broadly ranging that they're hard to refute simply without first tracking down what he is citing and why.

It's probably just easier to read the two actual books Fine has written on the topic as well as the one I mentioned earlier and call it a day. I was actually sitting down to do it but I have slides for a summertime lab meeting due tomorrow and also it's 4pm and I would like my head not to explode today, thanks.

posted by sciatrix at 2:08 PM on August 8 [27 favorites]


Eventually, Damore takes offense as he catches on: "I’ve been told by multiple people that you’re trying to bait me into saying something to get me fired"
COME ON
posted by schadenfrau at 2:10 PM on August 8 [21 favorites]


fuck I got Sublimity's name wrong in bold point font and I suck and am very sorry
posted by sciatrix at 2:12 PM on August 8


Latest article on this from Slate.
posted by Artful Codger at 2:25 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


sciatrix: if you really want someone to go through and dissect his claims on a biological basis I probably could do it, esp. on a testosterone-level basis, but I would be effectively borrowing and cribbing an awful lot of analysis from both Rebecca Jordan-Watson and Cordelia Fine.

I think that would be fantastic. I would gladly mefi's-own-FPP that if it ended up on Projects.

It would also be a hell of a lot of work because the claims he makes are so vague, poorly cited, and broadly ranging that they're hard to refute simply without first tracking down what he is citing and why.

And with claims like that, you know that the goalposts will be continuously moved no matter what specific points you manage to destroy. In the end, they will always go back to, "But surely the population-level gaps are biological somehow, even if not in that specific way that you've just disproven."

There's a useful response-to-a-response-to-a-response-to-the-memo here, which repeats the point mentioned above that
...when you see the U.S. computer science majors dropping from 37% women in the mid-1980s to below 20% women by 2010, you can’t claim gender differences in interests are biological. Female biology didn’t change in a quarter century.
posted by clawsoon at 2:34 PM on August 8 [14 favorites]


*makes faces* If you want it, would you be willing to toss in the equivalent of few bucks for a cup of coffee for me to hole up in a coffee shop and write for a while tomorrow? I got a day job, and I'm just about to head onto two weeks of sorely needed vacation before my semester starts up. I'm not kidding that writing that thing would be a serious fucking headache and take considerable time to do well, but I keep seeing people wanting to see one written and I do have the expertise, and I am sorta broke right now...

(re the age thing: by the way I'm 26, do I not get to know better than this fucklord? I mean he's had a whole two years of life experience on me and everything, and somehow I still know better than to put this kind of shit out under my employers' name!)
posted by sciatrix at 2:40 PM on August 8 [21 favorites]


Which is to say: look, I'm willing to do a writeup like this, but I also value my time and my energy enough that I don't want to engage in an in-depth, thorough, scholarly point by point take-down on a topic which has been covered by multiple published books for free. I am tired, and my time has value outside of educating people who don't care to look--or even outside of bludgeoning the lazy with pointed cuts to their ability to cling to Science as a protector of their bigotry. I mean, I literally just pointed out that it generally doesn't even work well when I have to engage with Captain Mansplainers worldwide on this, so at this point I'm like.... give me a good reason to invest the effort, you know?

My time and my expertise is valuable. Saying that shouldn't feel like a line in the sand, but it does.
posted by sciatrix at 2:46 PM on August 8 [39 favorites]


My time and my expertise is valuable.

Agreed.
posted by clawsoon at 2:49 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


If you really do want to do it sciatrix, and I don't think you should if you don't personally really want to, I'm happy to toss a cup of coffee in your direction through whatever payment mechanism. But I, personally, don't need a scientific refutation of this garbage. That he is wrong is self-evident from every bit of my own professional experience, the fact that he has clearly never listened to what women have to say about his chosen topic, and that he omits pretty much all of the things women do say if you listen. It shouldn't be on you to spend so much time and energy rebutting what is so obviously garbage, and whether it is ok to call thousands of your colleagues biologically inferior need not hinge on a careful debate over the scientific evidence to prove that they really aren't. That's something we already know.

I'll happily support anything you want to do and will read whatever expertise you want to share, but I, for one, don't need proper citations to refute his statements line-by-line.
posted by zachlipton at 2:57 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


sciatrix, I don't really have the time for it either, but I've been thinking about it anyway. If you want me to do it instead, or maybe collaborate, just give the word. I'm at your disposal.
posted by biogeo at 3:04 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Honestly sciatrix I think I would rather pay you to go take that sorely needed vacation a day early. I mean yeah, I would viscerally enjoy the existence of a point by point takedown of Google Bro's ridiculous acertations, but I enjoy the thought of this guy not eating into your valuable time more.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 3:10 PM on August 8 [30 favorites]


Just chiming in to say that I don't want sciatrix to feel pressured to throw her energy down the endless gaping maw that are sealioning white men either, but if the idea of getting paid for this would transform the work into a positive and willing experience, I am like, where do I pledge???
posted by Conspire at 3:22 PM on August 8 [7 favorites]




Tim Chevalier does an excellent deep dive into how male abusers gaslight their victims, with a contrast/compare to the Googler under discussion, as well as two misogynistic mass murderers. That might sound over the top, but gender violence is baked into our system.
The opposite of abuse is not empathy. The minimum baseline we ought to expect from everybody is respect, which everyone is capable of giving. Abusers choose not to respect the people they abuse. Their behavior isn't caused by low emotional intelligence or low empathy. They don't need to be taught social or emotional skills. In fact, when they are taught these skills, abusers use them to become better at abusing people. Abusers don't lack emotional intelligence, they just choose to use that intelligence to come up with ways to use other people as instruments for getting what they want. Attributing mistakes to lack of skill rather than genuine desire to do the wrong thing can often be a useful strategy, but applying that strategy to abuse only compounds the abuse.
Refusing to Empathize with Elliot Rodger: Taking Male Entitlement Seriously
posted by Jesse the K at 3:42 PM on August 8 [50 favorites]


From Jesse the k's excellent link:
When you say that the manifesto writer had a point, you are saying that Rodger and Lépine had a point.

In the rest of this essay, I'm addressing you if you think the views in the manifesto are wrong but that the author has some valid points, or that the manifesto is a valuable contribution to healthy debate. I want to show you that these views need to be shut down, not debated with or sympathized with. I am not addressing people who substantially agree with the content of the manifesto. If that's you, then you might as well stop reading right here.
And
Abusers believe they have the right to abuse, and so they interpret any empathy or sympathy as approval. When we say things like, "Well, he must feel awfully hurt because people demean his beliefs", what they hear is, "Yes, you do have the right to do this; you are justified." As a result, they commit more abuse. To empathize or sympathize with abusers is not an act of compassion; true compassion for abusers means helping them stop being abusers, which begins with refusing to tolerate their behavior. Empathy or sympathy should be reserved for their victims. Empathizing with abusers harms everybody.
There's more. Lots more. But yeah. Google legitimized this fuckery, and unexpected men have been popping up to do the same. At this point the probability of any random dude being Schrödinger's Misogynist is approaching "high enough."
posted by schadenfrau at 4:08 PM on August 8 [20 favorites]


Lately, all the people who I've heard calling for "diversity of opinion" have then proceeded to express a series of near-identical conservative talking points. Just once I'd like to hear someone call for diversity of opinion and then launch into something truly weird and interesting.
posted by clawsoon at 4:49 PM on August 8 [33 favorites]


GOOGL stock finished down $1.56 per share today. I said earlier in the thread that a $5 stock drop would be about a billion-dollar loss, and they're more than halfway there already just since Friday. It might only be a fraction of a percent of total company value, but still...a billion dollars pays for a lot of development that is not going to get done because of this one guy.

As a thought exercise, think about how much productivity and innovation get lost because of every dude that acts like this.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:56 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


a billion dollars pays for a lot of development that is not going to get done because of this one guy

Changes in stock market value are not the same as changes in revenue or profit. The price of Google stock has zero bearing on how much money they make or how much they spend on R&D.
posted by GuyZero at 5:07 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Of course. They have $430 billion in cash reserves, they could go private tomorrow and have enough to run the company for 50 years without bringing in a dime. That's not the point. The point is that the cost of prejudice in the workplace has a dollar value.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:17 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Sure. But measuring the changes in stock price isn't it. and edit: they have like $86B in cash.
posted by GuyZero at 5:23 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


My bad. I skimmed an article and took a total for the top 5 companies as Google's alone.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:26 PM on August 8


Jesse the k's link is amazing. Reframing the self-righteous misogyny of my grad school labmate as the abuse it was really, really helps. I've been having trouble sleeping since this memo dropped, but I might be able to sleep tonight.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:35 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


One consequence of Trump is that bigotry became much more acceptable to state openly. Its hard to imagine this guy thinking that this blatant hate would go over as well in without Trump.

What's also kinda nice is that all the usual suspects who come out and would say superficially not-obnoxious things like 'political correctness may have gone too far' or 'yeah but I'm just asking questions" or any of the things that to someone not woke sounds ok but isnt viewed as atrocious, are now in the position where they are celebrating a guy who wrote a screed with the thesis that women are genetically inferior. Bigots have let the mask slip--I don't know if the end result is good or bad but it certainly means that they were worse than they pretended to be.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:04 PM on August 8 [10 favorites]


Much of my grad school experience was colored by experiencing invalidation by the in/action of and expectations held by white and/or male students, and on multiple occasions, faculty. I suppose that's a lot of words to describe an atmosphere of distributed abuse.

But I'm also a leftist and one thing I'm sensitive to is the conceptual reification and dichotomy that Chevalier's rhetoric relies on, and the problematic of knowing how to read that and be aware of it and the interpretive implications for the reader. It is a more difficult path to attempt but I think more rigorous.
posted by polymodus at 6:08 PM on August 8


it seems like there's a culture of questioning everything and being permitted to say anything

I cannot believe how easily this seems to have been accepted. It seems like there is a culture of men being permitted to say anything. Every quote from unhappy women at Google has made it clear that there is no such culture for "tech workers" or "Silicon Valley employees" or whatever. Men feeling the freedom to speak freely between themselves, out loud and in print, is not just another way of saying there's intellectual freedom and free speech. "Everything" is not questioned.

I am not a tech person but I have worked in an office or two filled with cream-faced business boys who fancied themselves thought leaders and it was plenty permissive for them, because they were smiled on by the vice presidents when they weren't vice presidents themselves. Was it a permissive and freely questioning mind playground for me and all other women who wanted to get promoted or at least not fired? no. it was not.

accepting men's self-pleasuring narratives about what bold questioners they are and deciding perhaps the problem is too much bold questioning is actually shocking. why would we do this?
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:26 PM on August 8 [49 favorites]


That's fair. I apologize for shocking you.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:44 PM on August 8


from twitter:
mcc: Hey: I have some things to say about "the google employee that got fired". I think they're important. They're below.
• Large faceless corporations (like Google) are years ahead of “nerd space” institutions like cons or open source projects, in terms of supporting non-white-males and dealing with white males who have discriminatory views about non-white-males in their spaces.

• This is largely because large faceless corporations are terrified of creating a situation where the treatment of any employee constitutes “a hostile work environment” for purposes of sexual and racial harassment law. These corporations have to create policies and systems for harassing or exclusionary behavior being reported, identified early, and acted on.

• These systems— HR reporting, etc— are not perfect. They often are not there when minoritized employees need them. However, they’re there, and they’re the baseline for what you can expect when working for a company such as Google. The corporation is required to at least go through the motions of formalizing the policy and claiming that they support it.

• This makes most discussions about open source projects, etc adopting codes of conduct surreal if (as I am) you’re used to spending your time in corporate space. OSS/nerd culture groups— and the online discussion around them— talk about the idea of “if someone is saying exclusionary things about a group, you need to exclude that person before they drive people away from the project” as if it were this weird, alien idea that requires a strong justification. Seeing these discussions, I generally wind up (paradoxically?) feeling like work is a safe place and OSS projects and hobby spaces are unsafe.

• In the last few days, however, the nerd culture discourse— used to talking about excluding-exclusive-behavior as an abstract— has started discussing an actual instance of this kind of behavior occurring at a business (Google), a mature business with a working HR department and subject to employment law, and that business’s HR response (a firing).

* I want to really stress that all the online discussion around Mr. Damore, his “memo”, and his firing by Google, are gibberish. Absolute, total gibberish. You are having a philosophical discussion about first principles of exclusion in a group, while Google is operating in a realm where first principles were established and reified into practice, legislation and case law in the 70s.
...
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:10 PM on August 8 [22 favorites]




> How mischaracterizing the memo as an "anti-diversity screed" harms social-justice causes.

*mouses over link*
*notices it's an Atlantic piece*
*figures it's probably Conor Friedersdorf concern trolling*
*takes deep breath, clicks through*
...
eeeeeeeeeeeeeyup.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:50 PM on August 8 [41 favorites]


deep breath What the hell. I like taking this shit apart, and it sounds like a fun project. And I've read a lot of the pertinent literature already, and I do know where to get more.

Here's a patreon account; I'm going to calculate that an in-depth interdisciplinary takedown of this dude will take at least ten hours, so if I pay myself $10/hour, that comes to $100. If enough people pitch in to get to that amount, I'll go ahead and write it up.
posted by sciatrix at 8:03 PM on August 8 [38 favorites]


You would think that, for once, the editors at The Atlantic would look at Young Conor and tell him "how about you take a miss on this one, okay?"
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:08 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


sciatrix: so if I pay myself $10/hour

I think that's a significant undervaluation for the work at hand, and I hope that the pledged totals reflect that.
posted by clawsoon at 8:18 PM on August 8 [26 favorites]


John Cohen, do you not find it ironic how you're doing the exact same thing as the author of the screed did, where you've decided that uppity women and minorities are the problem and you're digging for whatever citations you think support that idea regardless of their quality?

I mean, if your goal is to co-opt social justice language to try to convince us that we're just being hysterically whiny about this shit, you're really failing at it if you're referring us to a total and utter transphobe in your mad scramble to find literally any woman who will play devil's advocate on this issue. And failed in that, you've jumped to the next gambit.

Stooooooooooooooop.
posted by Conspire at 8:37 PM on August 8 [29 favorites]


Fired Google Memo Writer Took Part in Controversial, 'Sexist' Skit While at Harvard for which Administration Issued Formal Apology
A source who spoke under the condition of anonymity because they did not want their name associated with the current controversy surrounding Damore said that Damore participated in the writing, arranging, casting, and performing of the skit, which they described as “sexist” in nature. According to the source, a short humorous skit is typically performed by students during the annual retreat, and while they described the skits as typically a “roast,” they emphasized that “the goal is not to offend.” Damore participated in the writing of the skit, along with other program students, but according to two sources, Damore was the primary performer during the skit when it was performed. The source noted that in the “particular year in which James played a role organizing, [the skit] was particularly offensive to women.”

Three sources allege that Damore told what they characterized as a masturbation-related joke during the course of the performance, which fell flat and offended some in the audience. However, two sources attributed the backlash to the performance not to any malice on the part of Damore, but instead to his awkward delivery.
These institutions just can't handle Damore's bold, edgy truth-telling.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:42 PM on August 8 [13 favorites]


Whelp, patreon is being stupid right now and not letting me past the captcha (seriously - are street poles part of signs?) but I'll try to chip in again tomorrow.
posted by zug at 8:43 PM on August 8


sciatrix: Your expertise and insights--not to mention time--are worth far more than $10/hour. You should not put time into this for less than $25/hr unless you really want to. I hope you get the $ you deserve and then do this because I'd love to read it and I frequently look to your comments for valuable insights and perspectives.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:49 PM on August 8 [10 favorites]


So, Google has internal political party group discussions and a private meme generator? They're the problem. The work distractions are coming from inside the house.
posted by xyzzy at 9:10 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


The fact that there were no repercussions for a graduate student doing something so spectacularly stupid just makes this guy look more and more mediocre, and the organizations that have let him slide by more and more complicit.

(I know I'm stating the obvious, but I don't think I've ever seen it as blatant as this)
posted by Yowser at 9:16 PM on August 8 [11 favorites]


Google has internal communications tools of all sorts; it's part of the "make Google your life" employment plan, along with the free restaurants ("cafeteria" really understates it), bike paths, swimming pools, exercise rooms, and so on. Of course they have basically their own private internet - hey look! Never need to go elsewhere to hang out with all the cool people! - and it's prone to exactly the same kind of echo-chamber issues that any closed-garden social setting has.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:36 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I alluded to that Google Life problem in an earlier post in this thread. It's a bit mind boggling to me that employees don't recognize that extreme work comfort just leads to inappropriate boundary setting and a life of slavish devotion to an interest that has little interest in you. When I worked in tech we had extra curricular projects that we formed little mailing lists around, but they were all action based. No ideology. Make our company a higher tier time server. Submit a patch to the open source Amanda backup system. Set up a Friday evening frag club. I can't even imagine openly discussing my political beliefs with co-workers.
posted by xyzzy at 10:41 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


It's a bit mind boggling to me that employees don't recognize that extreme work comfort just leads to inappropriate boundary setting

Google works to hire a lot of them straight out of college - a lot of them have never had a life apart from "the authority figures assign me tasks and give me food and a social setting, and maybe I could do something else on the weekends, but maybe I'll need to work on the tasks during the weekends." There's a reason it's called "the campus" instead of "the office center."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:03 PM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Yep. And Google pays. Well. And those fresh-out-of-college new hires probably have a lot of loans to pay. And the lifestyle seems cool. I mean, it's very easy to slide into something like that until it becomes "normal."
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:09 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


I can't even imagine openly discussing my political beliefs with co-workers.

Good for you? I am involved in our company Pride group, have organized events promoting diversity around race, gender and religion at work, and been part of discussions on how we can change our hiring process to increase the likelihood of hiring minority candidates. If everybody avoided those conversations then I guess we'd keep hiring the same white male college grads. I love how "a Friday evening frag club" just sits comfortably in there with other work activities as innocuous and safe, like going for a round of golf or something.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:10 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Well, after my married CEO asked me to sit in his lap during a weekend work retreat, I decided that drawing very firm boundaries between work activities and my life was the safest, best option. My participation in the half-life group added up to installing the server software after they got permission to run the group from said CEO. But your assumption that I am a white dude was pretty cool.
posted by xyzzy at 11:44 PM on August 8 [14 favorites]


jfc i hope you stapled his nutsack to an enraged bear
posted by poffin boffin at 12:13 AM on August 9 [32 favorites]


and i mean if you didn't there's still time
posted by poffin boffin at 12:13 AM on August 9 [32 favorites]


I can't even imagine openly discussing my political beliefs with co-workers.

In academia there's much more flexibility about this both as water cooler / party talk amongst grad students, and more generally as part of the accepted modes of intellectual inquiry in a university setting. Albert Einstein writing about politics is one obvious example. And not all professors are overtly politically active / activist. But what's striking about this is that the tech gets transferred, and "campus" life is superficially reconstructed, but the structures and intellectual heritage needed to make political participation possible don't get translated over to a corporate environment. That very disparity could be a factor in such conflicts. Tech minus politics as a formula for success.
posted by polymodus at 12:17 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Ahah. No, no stapling of nutsacks. But I realize that typing on my phone makes me sound dismissive and short, so let me explain my position a bit more.

If I was on an interview committee (as I was, on several occasions) I would discuss a lack of female candidates or under-representation of PoC. As a nonprofit associated with a university, we had some requirements around that, even back during the heady era of the dotcom bubble.

But I did not care then, nor would I care now, to read Bob from accounting's musings on the joys of libertarianism or the evils of SJWs or whatever. Just don't give a fuck. As it was related to my work, yes, I discussed politics. I was quite insistent, for example, that we carried every single usenet feed in order to avoid getting saddled with federal requirements to prevent or manage criminal activity on the internet. That was a political act. I would bring up diversity in hiring as part of interview committees. Also a political act. But I would have strongly advised against open internal communications channels where people could spend their lunches pontificating on the nature of female brain biology or whatever other horseshit came into their minds.
posted by xyzzy at 12:36 AM on August 9 [11 favorites]


Snarl Furillo's takedown above reminded me of something funny: I, a white male, have scored high in both "agreeableness" and "neuroticism" in just about every Big 5 test I've taken. In the case of neuroticism, we're talking like 97th percentile! And yet, I just remembered that I literally won an award for leadership this year. I mean I'm not saying I'm Abraham Lincoln or whatever, but it sure sounds like my being both kind of a people-pleaser and prone to anxiety/depression did not actually prevent me from mentoring and managing people effectively.

I'm not an expert in personality psychology but a 2002 meta-analysis sort of backs me up: the traits most associated with leadership were actually 1. extroversion (obviously! but somehow missing from the conversation so far), 2. conscientiousness (where women actually have an advantage, as others have said), and 3. openness to experience. Low neuroticism is in the mix, but it's #4. And agreeableness didn't predict leadership emergence, but it did predict leadership effectiveness, suggesting to me that it may be worth some effort to encourage more agreeable people to take leadership positions. Shruggo.

I guess one larger point here is that spinning a web to connect, for example, Big 5 traits to leadership propensities to gender imbalances to specific policies designed to correct these imbalances is an intrinsically fragile chain of reasoning. It reminds me a lot of when people make dodgy claims about nutrition on websites about very specific diets. You can't just link up correlations (or even mechanistic findings, in many cases) across different fields, let alone studies, and hope to come up with anything more than speculation, even if the individual steps are based on valid sources.

If women are in fact more "neurotic," maybe it’s due to dealing with shit like this.

I was immediately reminded of the concept of "minority stress"; I first encountered it in the context of explaining the higher suicide risk for LGBTQ people, but it's also been applied to other health outcomes and to racial minorities, especially Black Americans. Given that "perceived discrimination" is one of the factors involved in minority stress, it seems pretty logical that women would experience something similar.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:33 AM on August 9 [31 favorites]


[One deleted. Just in case there was some memo going around that it's "Be As Snarky As Possible And Attack Your Fellow Members In Every Possible Thread Week," I'm here to say the memo is false! Do not believe the memo! The memo is a lie! Burn the memo! Here's a Doggo Metafilter to help you along. Kitteh loves Mefites. Here's a post with otters. The otters want you to know it's otterly okay to make your reasonable points without the bonus aggro!]
posted by taz at 4:02 AM on August 9 [56 favorites]


Good for you? I am involved in our company Pride group, have organized events promoting diversity around race, gender and religion at work, and been part of discussions on how we can change our hiring process to increase the likelihood of hiring minority candidates. If everybody avoided those conversations then I guess we'd keep hiring the same white male college grads

Having these conversations would just flat out get you fired from a lot of places, or lead to your working life being made miserable until you quit. Not everyone has the same opportunities you do.
posted by Dysk at 4:05 AM on August 9 [9 favorites]


I've been following this debacle with interest since it blew up on the weekend. Mostly it just reinforces for me that the only white men who should feel threatened by diversity efforts are the ones who are mediocre-to-awful at their jobs. Damore is clearly struggling in the logic department, so he must have been coasting by with people giving him the benefit of the doubt every time he wrote crappy code. It was a matter of time before he got replaced with someone better - whether that better person is a man or a woman or white or a POC doesn't really matter, except to his own bigotry.
posted by harriet vane at 5:45 AM on August 9 [13 favorites]


If you want to be not surprised at just how closely he's going to follow the pattern Damore apparently did an interview with Stefan Molyneux. I don't know why you'd want to watch it and I avoid that universe because it wrecks my Youtube recommendations but it's there if you want to hear the guy talk.
posted by edeezy at 7:15 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


For posterity, here's a snapshot of Damore's LinkedIn when he claimed a Phd from Harvard.

The important thing is that he lied and thus most likely lied on the CV that got him hired at Google. It goes right to the the heart of his character or lack of it. That he did go to Harvard is irrelevant and a distraction, I think. From what I can see, even his Harvard classmates were offended by him.
posted by vacapinta at 7:15 AM on August 9 [6 favorites]


vacapinta: For posterity, here's a snapshot of Damore's LinkedIn when he claimed a Phd from Harvard.

I squinted and squinted and didn't see the claim. Then I realized I needed to click on the picture to see the whole thing.
posted by clawsoon at 8:24 AM on August 9


The contrast between his LinkedIn with PhD vs. with MS is a little easier to see in this presentation.
posted by BibiRose at 9:25 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Before he went and changed that PhD to an MS I was prepared to believe it wasn't deliberate dishonesty; it may be that the way you designate studying for a degree and having the degree look about the same on some sites. He could have been on a leave of absence or something. But if he actually got a masters and didn't put that, but a degree he hasn't got? Bah. Maybe things have changed since I was in graduate school; back then, if you were in a PhD program and they gave you the masters it was as a parting gift.
posted by BibiRose at 9:35 AM on August 9 [14 favorites]


Anyone saying Google is a private company, so the firing isn't an issue of government infringing on the right to free speech, doesn't understand the legal context in which Google made its decision.
posted by John Cohen at 9:35 AM on August 9


> Anyone saying Google is a private company, so the firing isn't an issue of government infringing on the right to free speech, doesn't understand the legal context in which Google made its decision.

A senior fellow at the Cato Institute wants to blame the government for a company firing an employee who was arguing that women are biologically inferior? Color me shocked.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:39 AM on August 9 [21 favorites]


Maybe things have changed since I was in graduate school; back then, if you were in a PhD program and they gave you the masters it was as a parting gift.

That may be the case here too. It appears that the Sys Bio department only offers Phd programs.
posted by vacapinta at 9:39 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


John Cohen: Do you actually communicate with people, or are you an alt-right Mefi bot?
posted by XtinaS at 9:42 AM on August 9 [35 favorites]


> Anyone saying Google is a private company, so the firing isn't an issue of government infringing on the right to free speech, doesn't understand the legal context in which Google made its decision.

Just because Olson had his opinon printed doesn't mean he understands the issue either. Olson is not a lawyer and his expertise is tort-reform punditry. He has no authority on 1st Amendment issues.
posted by papercrane at 9:45 AM on August 9 [6 favorites]


Susan Wojcicki's response to the memo. She is the YouTube CEO and one of Google's longest-serving employees. (In my experience, early Google was more women friendly than many other tech companies. Not perfect, but better. Susan was one of the early women in a leadership role as a product manager.)
posted by Nelson at 9:46 AM on August 9 [12 favorites]


Olson is not a lawyer and his expertise is tort-reform punditry. He has no authority on 1st Amendment issues.

He's a libertarian bro dude and by definition is expert in all things.
posted by JackFlash at 9:49 AM on August 9 [17 favorites]


From Damore's screed:

"The male gender role is currently inflexible."

Again, he has had diversity training. He has worked with women. He probably has friends (maybe just the facebook type) who he would describe as SJW. He's aware of current discourse.

He's internalized a major claim of feminists--that the patriarchy hurts men--but still doesn't get it. He discards all the other stuff.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:49 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Speaking of degrees, he claims to have three bachelor's degrees on his LinkedIn page, but the graduation list shows one. I haven't gone through the whole thing, so I can't tell if it isn't built to handle multiple majors or if he didn't get multiple majors. Anybody familiar with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's system?
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC at 9:49 AM on August 9 [