Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

History Explains Tech’s Diversity Problem

Sarah Jeong and Rachel Becker, the Verge:

“Essentially, engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration, and empathy for both your colleagues and your customers,” writes Yonatan Zunger, formerly of Google. “If someone told you that engineering was a field where you could get away with not dealing with people or feelings, then I’m very sorry to tell you that you have been lied to. Solitary work is something that only happens at the most junior levels, and even then it’s only possible because someone senior to you — most likely your manager — has been putting in long hours to build up the social structures in your group that let you focus on code.”

Let’s set that aside for just a moment, however, and assume that doing “tech” means you don’t have to deal with people or feelings. Is Damore arguing that men should form a massive underclass of drone-like, thing-oriented engineers managed by a superior overclass of emotionally intelligent women? Of course not. That would be absurd.

But it’s only absurd because it’s not the way things actually are. The memo isn’t reaching for a higher truth — it is instead the expression of a reactionary instinct to preserve the status quo. Deflection: now, with graphs!

That’s the money quote in this fantastic, well-researched piece: Damore’s memo isn’t documenting a discovery, it’s a feeble attempt to defend his existing biases.