This month Google fired an employee James Damore for breaching its code of conduct. The issue started over a year ago, when Google had a real issue on its hands. The problem was diversity. Google lacked diversity and really wanted to appear to world to be the beacon of equality. However, there was a real problem 80% of its work force were/are men. In order to combat this lack of diversity, Google shifted the way it hired people giving women and minorities greater opportunities to join and advance within the company. Yet despite all of their efforts things didn’t change.
James Damore, who was a proud Googler, wrote an internal memo suggesting reasons for what could be causing the discrepancy in the representation of men and women at Google. He wrote:
“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.”
He suggested that there might be a biological reason that women just aren’t as interested in tech much as men are. This memo was well researched and supported by scientific studies. That fact is women choose different career paths than men. It is even seen much earlier in their backgrounds. 80%+ computer science graduates are men. This means there is a smaller pool of women entering the tech industry. Women are choosing other fields of study based on their natural interests. Damore suggested that at Google there is a toxic environment where different viewpoints are not allowed to be freely expressed. Ironically by firing him Google showed its intolerance for differences in opinion.
So how is Google sexist. The lack of women at Google can be explained by two means: either option-A Google is sexist and is deliberately not hiring women or option-B women are less interested in tech and are not choosing to work in the industry as much as men. According to Google the option-B that men and women are different and that this is an explanation for the disparity is not an option. Google firmly disavows any such thoughts and even fired the guy who suggested them. So that only leaves option-A that Google is sexist and it is deliberately discriminating against women despite them doing everything possible to be more inclusive.
So how is Google racist. Well based on the same logic that disparities in representation can only be explained via some kind of discrimination then the racial breakdowns must be due to racism at Google. Here is their own statics published in Fortune Magazine: “Google’s overall workforce is 56% White, 35% Asian, 4% two or more races, 4% Hispanic or Latinx, 2% Black and less than 1% American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.” According, to this breakdown Asians are over represented by 6x and every other race is underrepresented. Even whites who make up 63% of the US population are underrepresented by 7%. So Google is very racist towards all groups except Asians.
So is Google really sexist and racist? No. However, they do have a real problem with diversity. The problem is instead of focusing on hiring the people with the best skills they focus on trying to force diversity of overcome. People are different and make different choices. We need to just accept that. Men prefer tech more than women do. Asians study hard and really enjoy computer science and do well at it. The Google diversity experiment has failed and should be a lesson for all of us that disparities in race or genders doesn’t always mean that there is sexism or racism. We should focus not skills and not a person’s gender or race, in the end, isn’t that what fairness is all about.