Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

This Idiotic Anti-Diversity Manifesto Thing Refuses to Go Away

Kara Swisher reports for Recode that an all-hands meeting at Google was cancelled:

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has canceled the company’s much-anticipated meeting to talk about gender issues today. The move came after some of its employees expressed concern over online harassment they had begun to receive after their questions and names have been published outside the company on a variety of largely alt-right sites.

[…]

Wired reported earlier that conservative pundit Milo Yiannopoulos “posted on his Facebook page the Twitter biographies of eight Google employees who criticized Damore’s post.”

Don’t kid yourself: the people and publishers knew fully well that targeted harassment could occur when they posted the names and identifiable features of Google employees who expressed disagreement with the manifesto. That’s indefensible, as is the harassment itself.

Cynthia Lee, for Vox, explains why the manifesto is so toxic:

To be a woman in tech is to know the thrill of participating in one of the most transformative revolutions humankind has known, to experience the crystalline satisfaction of finding an elegant solution to an algorithmic challenge, to want to throw the monitor out the window in frustration with a bug and, later, to do a happy dance in a chair while finally fixing it. To be a woman in tech is also to always and forever be faced with skepticism that I do and feel all those things authentically enough to truly belong. There is always a jury, and it’s always still out.

When men in tech listen to the experiences of women in tech, they can come to understand how this manifesto was throwing a match into dry brush in fire season.

The only thing in Lee’s article that I would contest is this, in regards to the faux academic tone of the manifesto:

I cannot judge what the author’s motives might be in adopting this rhetorical strategy: It could be cynical and strategic, or, as I suspect, the author may simply be very, very naïve.

I find that assumption very charitable. T.C. Sottek of the Verge:

Former Google engineer James Damore, who was fired for distributing a memo suggesting women are not biologically suited for certain types of work, is now branding himself as a brave truth teller. In what appears to be his new Twitter account, Damore can be seen wearing a shirt with the word “Goolag,” a play on “Google” that means to suggest the Silicon Valley search company is something like the infamous Soviet camps where prisoners were worked and starved to death as part of one of the 20th century’s worst genocides.

Outside Google’s Venice office, bus stops have been defaced with professionally-printed signs featuring the same idiotic statement. That show of support plus internal Google polls that suggest that Damore is far from an outlier in his views is a truly worrying proposition — worrying, that is, but not surprising.

See Also: Suzanne Sadedin’s response.