“Apple VP of Inclusion and Diversity Denise Young Smith on Friday issued an internal memo to clarify and apologize for comments made during a business summit last week, reiterating that Apple is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace,” AppleInsider reports. “”

“At the One Young World Summit in Bogota, Colombia, last week, Smith joined Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson and KPMG International’s Global Head of Corporate Citizenship Lord Michael Hastings on stage in a panel discussion covering racial injustice,” AppleInsider reports.

Denise Young Smith, Apple's new Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity

Denise Young Smith, Apple’s new Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity

“‘Diversity is the human experience,’ Smith said. ‘I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT… There can be 12 white blue-eyed blonde men in a room and they are going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.'”

“As noted by TechCrunch, which procured a copy of Smith’s letter, the statement appeared to suggest diversity of thought is a suitable stand in for proactive hiring practices adopted by a variety of tech firms, including Apple, to foster racial and gender diversity,” AppleInsider reports. “‘I regret the choice of words I used to make this point. I understand why some people took offense,’ she said in a letter to employees. ‘My comments were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it. For that, I’m sorry.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The irony is draped all over this one.

Diversity is certainly good, but getting the absolute best should remain the goal. Forced diversity carries its own set of problems. Would the group be comprised of the best-qualifed people possible or would it be designed to hit pre-defined quotas? Would some employees, consciously or unconsciously, consider certain employees, or even themselves, to be tokens meant to fill a quota? That would be a suboptimal result for all involved.

The best and desired outcome is for this to work in Apple’s favor. Truly looking at qualified people from a larger pool would result in delivering different viewpoints and new ways of looking at things and tackling problems than a more homogenized workforce would be capable of delivering.

Regardless and of course, someday it sure would be nice for everyone to just be able to evaluate a person’s potential, not measuring and tabulating superficial, meaningless things like skin color and gender.MacDailyNews, August 3, 2016

Smith’s full letter, verbatim:

Colleagues,

I have always been proud to work for Apple in large part because of our steadfast commitment to creating an inclusive culture. We are also committed to having the most diverse workforce and our work in this area has never been more important. In fact, I have dedicated my twenty years at Apple to fostering and promoting opportunity and access for women, people of color and the underserved and unheard.

Last week, while attending a summit in Bogota, I made some comments as part of a conversation on the many factors that contribute to diversity and inclusion.

I regret the choice of words I used to make this point. I understand why some people took offense. My comments were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it. For that, I’m sorry.

More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.

Understanding that diversity includes women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and all underrepresented minorities is at the heart of our work to create an environment that is inclusive of everyone.

Our commitment at Apple to increasing racial and gender diversity is as strong as it’s ever been. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, but there is much work to be done. I’m continually reminded of the importance of talking about these issues and learning from each other.

Best,

Denise

SEE ALSO:
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Here’s why the tech industry doesn’t need more female software engineers – August 9, 2017
Apple’s new Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity will report directly to CEO Tim Cook – May 24, 2017
Apple’s board has urged shareholders to reject proposal to tie executive compensation to racial diversity quotas – February 27, 2017
Apple Inc. fights shareholders group demand for more diversity – February 15, 2017
Apple touts diversity of recent hires – August 3, 2016
Apple inches toward workforce diversity – January 20, 2016
Diversity report shows Apple’s U.S. workforce still mainly white and male – January 19, 2016
Apple’s Board of Directors says a call for diversity is ‘unduly burdensome and not necessary’ – January 15, 2016
Apple leads Facebook, Intel, Cisco, Google on gender diversity among Bay Area companies – November 17, 2015
Apple’s latest diversity report shows progress – August 13, 2015
Tim Cook is ‘personally involved’ in improving diversity at Apple Inc. – July 14, 2015
Apple donates over $50 million to diversity efforts – March 10, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook met privately with Jesse Jackson regarding diversity – December 9, 2014
Apple adds Vice Presidents, more diversity to Executive Leadership Team – August 15, 2014
A message from Apple CEO Tim Cook on diversity – August 12, 2014
Jesse Jackson calls on Obama to scrutinize tech industry’s ‘lack of diversity’ – July 28, 2014
Tim Cook: Apple will release diversity data ‘at some point’ – July 9, 2014
Jesse Jackson targets tech’s lack of diversity; sends letter to Apple, Google, HP, others – March 19, 2014
Apple changes bylaws after facing criticism about lack of diversity on board – January 9, 2014