Think you don’t need to care about the super inflammatory Google diversity manifesto that dropped this weekend? Think again.
The tech community has been abuzz since Saturday about what the leaked document — which is full of all kinds of sexist commentary masquerading as an intellectual exercise — actually means. Plenty of people have argued it doesn’t mean much. After all, it’s just the thoughts of one exceedingly white tech bro, right? Wrong. So very wrong.
To review, the screed was reportedly penned by James Damore (a software engineer first officially identified by Motherboard), who engages in a healthy dose of mental gymnastics to make the case that a) women are biologically different from men and that’s why they don’t get tech jobs and b) Google is not welcoming of conservative viewpoints and isn’t open to rethinking its efforts to diversify.
It’s 2017. The notion that your genetic makeup has any influence on what kinds of jobs you’ll be well-suited to is exceedingly outdated and dangerous. And it’s certainly not a legitimate set of ideas to be sending out to a huge swath of your coworkers. Yet here we are.
Of course, the tech industry’s lack of diversity is a known issue, as is the complete lack of any self-awareness that might lead to fixing the problem. Google itself is already being investigated for an extreme gender pay gap.
So, you might find yourself thinking, “Why is it a big deal what this one dude says? Especially when it’s been made very clear that not everyone who works at Google agrees with him?”
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of thousands of non-white non-males who are too exhausted to even scream.
While it’s tempting to dismiss his take on the world as backwards and outmoded, don’t — because this isn’t an isolated incident and these ideas have very real consequences in the present moment.
Mashable spoke with Elizabeth Ames, senior vice president of marketing, alliances, and programs at the Anita Borg Institute, which champions the advancement of women in the tech industry. She told us what exactly a document like this does:
“It really lays bare the challenges that women and underrepresented minorities face in tech today, when you have a coworker who writes something that says, ‘I think you’re genetically predisposed not to be good at this,’ that’s not really a great starting place.”
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