James Damore: Why I was fired by Google

“I was fired by Google this past Monday for a document that I wrote and circulated internally raising questions about cultural taboos and how they cloud our thinking about gender diversity at the company and in the wider tech sector,” James Damore writes in The Wall Street Journal. “I suggested that at least some of the male-female disparity in tech could be attributed to biological differences (and, yes, I said that bias against women was a factor too). Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai declared that portions of my statement violated the company’s code of conduct and ‘cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.'”

“My 10-page document set out what I considered a reasoned, well-researched, good-faith argument, but as I wrote, the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google because of the company’s ‘ideological echo chamber,'” Damore writes. “My firing neatly confirms that point. How did Google, the company that hires the smartest people in the world, become so ideologically driven and intolerant of scientific debate and reasoned argument?”

“We all have moral preferences and beliefs about how the world is and should be. Having these views challenged can be painful, so we tend to avoid people with differing values and to associate with those who share our values. This self-segregation has become much more potent in recent decades. We are more mobile and can sort ourselves into different communities; we wait longer to find and choose just the right mate; and we spend much of our time in a digital world personalized to fit our views,” Damore writes. “Echo chambers maintain themselves by creating a shared spirit and keeping discussion confined within certain limits… But echo chambers also have to guard against dissent and opposition. Whether it’s in our homes, online or in our workplaces, a consensus is maintained by shaming people into conformity or excommunicating them if they persist in violating taboos. Public shaming serves not only to display the virtue of those doing the shaming but also warns others that the same punishment awaits them if they don’t conform.”

“It saddens me to leave Google and to see the company silence open and honest discussion,” Damore writes. “If Google continues to ignore the very real issues raised by its diversity policies and corporate culture, it will be walking blind into the future — unable to meet the needs of its remarkable employees and sure to disappoint its billions of users.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Former Google engineer James Damore’s original memo, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” can be read in full here.

SEE ALSO:
Street artist mocks Google in ads posted outside company offices following Damore firing – August 12, 2017
Here’s why the tech industry doesn’t need more female software engineers – August 9, 2017

82 Comments

  1. Not surprised. The thought police will not tolerate different views or opinions. Here’s a guy who didn’t hurt anyone but just dared to give his viewpoint. Disgusting.

    1. Sure, but we all have to personas, the professional and the private one. You can express what you like on your private one, but once you step into the professional one, expect repercautiolns. That is the way things are. I can agree or disagree with the guy, but I certainly don’t need to employee him.

            1. Nighttime rallies with lights tend to look similar regardless of political affiliation, or reason for that matter. I have absolutely no doubt I could find indistinguishable pics of Democratic gatherings.

              Although a lot of them prior to the 1960s would probably have a black man or two hanging from a tree.

            2. If nighttime rallies, crowds and lights are really of any importance, then Obama has topped them all. None prior nor future will top his. But there was good reason for that too. 1st man of African extraction to be elected to the highest office in the land given our history. He can lay claim to what no other person can.

      1. No you’re just a loser who only wants to see his way or no way, my way is the way and no one else better think different then me. People like you is why the way society is as a whole. There are good people and bad people. Once you STUPID leftist, feeling good idiots get it through you’d stupid skulls, it would be a “miracle” if that could happen, things would be better. If we realized that there are people who are poor and down and out is because they are just plain LAZY. They don’t want to work and be taken care of by big daddy government and idiotic,
        politically correct progressives are only too happy to give it to them without any thought for where the money comes from idiots. You will be paying taxes that go to give lazy bums those perks that you are so blindly fighting for..

        1. The government in my area did a survey once. Since they were right wing, everyone expected them to “find” that welfare recipients are all lazy parasites.

          What they ACTUALLY found AND reported was:
          – Most welfare recipients are short term.
          – Most get off when they can.
          – Some really need it – because of severe mental problems, or severe physical problems.
          – There are a relative small percentage that are the chronic, totally-fine-to-work, lazy scum parasites of your cliché.

          Why are you not a multi-multi-millionaire? Because you are a lazy scumbag? Probably not. It’s more likely you don’t have the particular skills and knowledge to do that. And you never will.

          Similarly, there are poor people “below” you, who cannot just up themselves to your level of income. They just don’t have the knowledge and abilities. Maybe they can gain them, maybe not. But most would like to, if they could.

          Check out any one of a number of poor states and tell me there are jobs just sitting there for all the poor people to get, if they wanted. It just ain’t so, fella.

    1. Myself and a group of 5 were reading the article and then dropped down to the comments. I said it would not take 15 seconds for a race/gender card to be dropped. 3 comments down, BOOM, card dropped. That was quick! Good job!

        1. With progressive, recent tort reform, the Bar has pushed the bar up. Higher cost to pursue a frivolous suit, higher threshold for judicial assent.

          And that’s a good thing.

        1. Glenn, you clearly do not understand the concept of freedom. It does not mean that there are no consequences.

          James Damore exercised his right of free speech. He did so within the bounds of a public corporation using corporate resources and speaking out again corporate policy. There is the freedom part. He was fired. There is the consequence part.

          James Damore had many avenues open to him regarding expression of his opinions. He chose to publicly undermine his employer using corporate resources. He could have scheduled private meetings with Google management and HR. He could have issued his opinions on a private blog or opinion website. He could have contacted Fox News or CNBC or others.

          I have no doubt that you can find situations in which companies under conservative leadership or ownership exercised similar discretion when faced with outspoken employees who publicly challenged company policies and initiatives.

          Note that I am not supporting or opposing the firing of James Damore. That is Google’s choice, not mine. James exercised his rights. Google exercised its rights. Case closed.

          I will repeat once again – personal rights are accompanied by personal responsibility. Don’t start whining when there are unpleasant consequences – particularly when the consequences are easily predictable. No one ever claimed that freedom was easy. Toughen up a little, lest you become the “snowflakes” that you so despise.

  2. Posting opinion on the issue without reading his original memo is dishonest. I doubt many here actually took the time to read it.

    I did. It is exceptionally well crafted text that tries to push all the right buttons. It has all the important elements: “I’m actually a progressive but…”, “Research shows that…” “We need to increase the transparency…”, etc. Without looking into the purported research that supposedly shows inherent differences between genders, one would find the arguments in the memo very convincing.

    The biggest problem I have with the memo is that most of his arguments are substantiated by bogus research that has been debunked.

    I agree with him on a few points. Increasing transparency (with respect to the ‘Unconscious Bias’ training and its results), stop alienating conservatives, evaluate other types of biases, etc. However, most of his letter is grounded on a fundamentally false premise. When all of it starts from wrong data, then the whole point is simply wrong.

    1. The gist of his message is that is this… Companies have HR departments and there is a strong focus on diversity. In this case, Google sees that they have considerably more male engineers than female. The HR groups push to “correct” this “problem” by putting pressure on hiring managers to “improve their diversity numbers”. This itself is a form of discrimination.

      His point is that the reasons for the disproportion of male to female engineers are many. Some of those reasons may well be due to bias and discrimination. However, there are many other reasons that are cultural and possibly even biological which influence the outcome long before the hiring process. As someone with an engineering background, I can tell you there are far fewer female engineers than males, even in schools that have a higher female population overall. That is, when the pool of engineers is roughly 20/80 female to male, why should any company be expected to have an equal 50/50 split in that regard? It won’t happen naturally, based on merit. The only way that would happen is if HR departments force a form of discrimination under the guise of “diversity”. Damore’s point is that this type of action is harmful to the company overall.

      In the end, this is a discussion that needs to happen and he’s right about the echo chamber and the effects of silencing dissenting opinion. Having said that, I also agree with others in that there are repercussions for our actions. Taking such a position publicly takes courage. It takes courage, because the outcome will not be positive for his career… at least as an engineer at Google. I believe Google had the right to fire him, but I also think it was a knee-jerk reaction on Google’s part in order to appear being politically correct.

  3. One thing is certain: Damore has turned himself into a holy grail of conservative pundits: “I’m a liberal, but…” is one of the most sought-after types by the likes of FOX news and similar. The idea is: “When one of their own clearly sees how bad liberalism is…” etc.

    I am genuinely curious to see what trajectory his career will take after this. If he truly is what he claims (progressive liberal humanist), he is bound to be extremely uncomfortable by anyone on the right turning him into their champion. We’ll see…

    1. THE PROBLEM with is whole situation, is that many of the weaker conservatives, the ones that need their “safe space” to not hear bad things said about the President and need to feel “special and valued” at work are latching onto this. I really never wanted to see SJW words coming out of conservatives, but here we are.

      Boo hoo, look at me, I’m special but they don’t see that conSJW’s are SJW’s too!!! Sick. I hope this is rejected quickly and completely leaving SJW values to the experts on the left.

      NO MORE CONSJW’S!!

  4. Men and Women on average are not the same. Is that so terrible a statement that can get you fired? Does that make you the same as a man the sexually harasses a woman like so many men have on Fox? Women are on average smaller than men. Men do make up 95% of the prison population. Men are on average stronger than woman. These are facts that don’t fit the modern feminist narrative. We are becoming like “1984.” Good for Mr. Dalmore being brave enough to point this out.

    1. Of course men and women are not the same. They have different genitalia. What does that have to do with hiring coders who are fancy on the outside instead of the inside? There is no generally accepted research (apart from alt-right junk science) to suggest that women cannot code as well as men.

      Even if it were true that women, on average, were weaker coders, so what? Google does not hire “average” women. It hires particular men and women who may or may not correspond to a gender stereotype. They are hiring a person, not a typical representative of the applicant’s gender.

      In 1964, there were probably a higher proportion of black Americans who were illiterate than of white Americans, but that did not justify preventing the qualified applicants from voting, housing, and employment. The qualifications of other people was simply irrelevant.

      Women on average are weaker, but would any of you step into a ring with a women professional boxer? The nature of “average” is that some women are stronger than some men. So, even if there were real differences between the sexes that are relevant to hiring coders, it would not justify hiring a male just because he is male or rejecting a woman for being female.

      This is just another chapter in the developing alt-right narrative that white Christian males are being oppressed because everybody else is envious of their obvious superiorities in every case and in every field.

      1. “They are hiring a person, not a typical representative of the applicant’s gender.”

        Wasn’t his original point that hires were being based on quotas rather than talent?

      2. There is no evidence that Google is applying quotas. It is taking diversity into account in making its hiring decisions, but that is not the same thing. Oddly, white guys never complained about quotas when they came in the form of “gentlemen’s agreements” to limit the hiring of women, Jews, and other minorities.

        The issue here is that Damore and his cohort define “talent” purely in terms of being exactly like a coder who is young, white, male, and upper-middle class. People from other backgrounds bring other talents to the workforce, but they are never going to be nerdy white guys. The assumption that the new hires are less talented is based on the assumption that all the members of a particular class (blacks, women, etc.) are uniformly less valuable employees than all the members of another class. That is an invalid argument when applied to individuals.

        1. TxUser, I am very impressed by the quality of your posts. They are well-reasoned and logical, which is surprising for this forum. For years it has been largely dominated by vocal elements of the alt-right who value doctrine over truth or fact.

          I have avoided MDN for quite a few months. But I enjoy reading your posts. They give me hope that reason and moderation still exist in this increasingly troubled world.

        2. What is the talent pool ratio of qualified male to female engineers from which to draw from? Do you have an engineering background? If so, how many females were in your engineering classes as opposed to males? This isn’t an issue of whether males are more qualified than females. Rather, the talent pool from which to draw from is predominantly male for this job function. There are many reasons for this and most of which have nothing to do with bias or discrimination at the hiring process.
          Attempting to force such an equilibrium where it doesn’t exist organically will have bad results. While I don’t agree with Damore’s position entirely, I do agree there is a problem with the way we look at and push “diversity” programs. I don’t believe using a form of discrimination under the “diversity” banner suddenly makes it okay to discriminate. Maybe you do.

          1. “Attempting to force such an equilibrium where it doesn’t exist organically will have bad results. While I don’t agree with Damore’s position entirely, I do agree there is a problem with the way we look at and push “diversity” programs.”

            Amen!

            You have effectively boxed in the FAKE conservative with facts minus dogma, well done …

  5. Not surprised. My country eas occupied by USSR. During 1980s when I was a kid my mother and grandma took me to the local church during a christmas eve. The headmaster of mu class, Mrs. Eva Paal was hiding in the church and wrote down the names of kids of our class she identified. Later, during an ordinary school day she riduculed those kids in front of the class. It was discusting then and is now. No matter that political rulers found it acceptable. I see a LOT of similarities between that era and nowadays leftish liberals. Eventually they will not prevail.

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