James Damore

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James Damore is a software engineer and former Google employee.


"Google's Ideological Echo Chamber"

During July 2017, an internal memo was shared by Damore raising concerns of political bias and discriminatory practices[1] causing an uproar within the company. When first leaked, it included a public response to misrepresentation and abstract as follows:

Reply to public response and misrepresentation
I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

TL;DR
● Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of ​psychological safety​.
● This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
● The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
    ○ Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
    ○ Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
● 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.


Media Reaction...

On August 5th, 2017, existence of the internal memo was first reported on by Vice's Motherboard[2] and shortly leaked by Gizmodo[3], excluding any charts and sources, reporting it as an "anti-diversity screed.” Many publications followed with similar "anti-diversity" takes including Fox News[1], CNN[2], ABC News[3], Reuters[4]. NBC News[5], Time [6], Slate[7], Engadget[8], The Huffington Post[9], PBS[10], Fast Company[11], The Atlantic, and many others.

Damore was fired that same weekend. [12]

The Atlantic later wrote about how misleading this representation is[4].

Hitpieces

TheGuardian - Laurie Penny James Damore is wrong. It’s fine to discriminate against bigots and bullies

Lawsuit

On January 8th, 2018 James Damore and David Gudeman filed a class action lawsuit against Google acting as the representatives of white male employees at Google.[5] Alleging that white heterosexual males were unfairly denied promotions and job opportunities. Based on being white males with a conservative viewpoint at Google, in violation of California law which protects all races, genders and political viewpoints including those of Damore, Gudeman and their representative class.

(Unorganized links)

USA Today: Ex-Google engineer Damore sues alleging discrimination against white, conservative men (Archive) Breitbart: James Damore Starts Legal Fund for Google Lawsuit (archive) Scribb: Damore vs Google Class Action Lawsuit Filing

References

  1. "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber" https://archive.fo/sgEkd https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf
  2. Motherboard: Google Employee's Anti-Diversity Manifesto Goes 'Internally Viral' https://archive.is/szkc3
  3. Gizmodo: Exclusive: Here's The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google https://archive.is/nxkNH
  4. The Atlantic: The Most Common Error in Media Coverage of the Google Memo http://archive.is/5C1Cc
  5. Damore vs Google Class Action Lawsuit https://www.scribd.com/document/368689407/Damore-vs-Google-Class-Action-Lawsuit#