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Krazychic

Google fires engineer who “crossed the line” with diversity memo

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Google has fired James Damore, an engineer who wrote a controversial essay arguing that the company has gone overboard in its attempts to promote diversity. Damore confirmed the firing in an e-mail to Bloomberg.

 

Spoiler

“At Google, we’re regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership,” Damore wrote in an internal posting that went viral within the company over the weekend. The posting was subsequently leaked to Gizmodo. However, he argued, that’s “far from the whole story.”

 

Biology is partly responsible for differences between men and women, Damore wrote, and “these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”

 

Google condemned the post after it became public on Saturday. Danielle Brown, Google's vice president of diversity, integrity, and governance, wrote in a response to Google employees that it “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender” and is “not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes, or encourages.”

 

On Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai piled on. “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” he wrote. “Portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

 

Now Pichai has followed through on that assessment by showing Damore the door.

 

Recode reports that the essay sparked a massive debate within Google. “It has been really toxic,” one Googler told Recode. “It’s a microcosm of America."

 

Source


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You can read the original document here: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf

 

I really like what he has to say about the dangers of echo chambers. It's a shame he had to bundle it with crappy arguments about gender.

 

This about sums up my opinion:

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It’s hard to be intellectually honest and claim that 1) he’s a bigot and 2) he has no data to back up his assertions. Some of them are shitty (Chicago Reader? Wikipedia? Wtf? Cite me Nature or GTFO), but the fundamental premise is that sexual dimorphism multiplied by cultural aspects yields different distributions for different genders. That’s hardly controversial, I would think, but apparently not. And with that, I agree with the spirit of his intent.

 

Now that being said, his political injections are nonsense and irrelevant and his attempts to explain the problems of the tech pipeline are laughable. I don’t see a lot of figures or accounting for statistical variance - just a lot of glued together studies (and often not even the original) to make a coherent point.

 

"Biology is partly responsible for differences between men and women": no arguments there.

"These differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership": I'm sure it's a factor but is unlikely to be the only/ultimate cause.

 

People seem to forget that the number of women in programming has been decreasing over time -- we are actually losing ground:

 

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The Census of 2013 did a study on the ratio of males versus females in the field of Nursing.

 

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In 2011, 9 percent of all nurses were men while 91 percent were women. Men earned, on average, $60,700 per year, while women earned $51,100 per year.

 

The same questions can be asked as well. Why aren't males bending over backwards to get into nursing? They're simply not interested or invested in that field.

 

This is my personal experience only (and personal biases), but you would think after many men confirming the same things or similar, it would be somewhat true to a degree (considering the Census is only as accurate as the people who report to the Census).

 

Women like having jobs where they feel like their higher purpose is taking care of people and clients, do better at organization tasks and multi-tasking. Women are more social than men, flat out. It makes them feel good. They like socializing with coworkers more often than their male counter-parts socialize with each other (at least in STEM, engineering and technology specifically).

 

It is very distracting for me, as a male, when I have a female counter-part talking my ear off about home or social drama in the workplace when I'm focused on a particular assignment. That's where I believe a lot of the divide is, is that males are a single track mind and keep to themselves, where women tend to be a jack of all trades, a master of none. This gives males the view that they are not responsible or knowledgeable enough to perform the duties that their male counter-parts are assigned.

 

I tried, so hard, with one black female coworker to train her on a lot of the duties that I do as a SysAdmin, because she expressed to me multiple times she felt like the odd one out with the majority white male peers. I tried, time and time again, to stay on track with the training, but was more often then not taken off of track because home drama was brought into the mix. She couldn't retain any of the information I had given her, she would derail the topics at hand with nothing really important to what was going on and didn't seem all that invested in what I was trying to show her. I understand everyone has their problems, but there is a time and place for it. Women bring this to work with them and everyone suffers from it. It's toxic, makes the workflow inefficient and they don't seem to have an interest in the work or material like my male counter-parts do.

 

It's easy to say "not all women," but statistically and from the ratios of personal experience, the majority is overwhelmingly this issue in specific. This may be an entirely different situation in another country, another industry, where women's culture is different and in rare cases where women have matured and become dedicated to the field they work in, but in the United States and working in Technology and Engineering, this is a common social problem in the work place. Women are not focused on their profession, but excel in areas where organization, socializing and multi-tasking is part of their daily duties.

 

Now, this isn't me saying the previous statement is all women are good for in STEM. It's what I see as a trend in the field as of current. They can do some self inflection and talk amongst their peers wanting to get into STEM that there are specific requirements and expectations to make work flow efficient and find an area of expertise, but as of right now it's impossible to vouch for women in Technology and Engineering if women don't even want to be invested in it like their male counter-parts. Medical seems to be a different world with different expectations. You have to have matured to get into higher areas of that industry and show you are dedicated to the work you do. It is very competitive. In Technology and Engineering, not so much. The same culture and mindset needs to be brought into Technology and Engineering. The HR quotas for hiring women out of pity rather than merit for this industry is really hurting it, it's hurting women's image from bad eggs and it needs to get worse before it gets better. Women need to mature in this field, keep up with their male counter-parts to create a competitive environment and start setting an example for future women of this field.

 

Edit: On a side note, don't get me wrong, there are bad egg males that absolutely hate the idea of women being in this field. Some shitty company cultures are also to blame. I have a coworker just like this. He's an asshole, downplays women whenever he can and luckily he's retiring soon (honestly should be fired for some of the comments he makes), but some companies refuse to do anything about this shitty behavior. Even if it was male versus male, it's looked at as "suck it up and grow some hairs on your chest" in this industry.

 

tl;dr version: Lack of women in STEM is also women's cultural/social problems. Males cannot be 100% the blame of this.

 

Also an interesting Census study: Ratio of men/women working in STEM regardless of the degree they obtained at a University or College.

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3 hours ago, Solaris said:

I tried, so hard, with one black female coworker to train her on a lot of the duties that I do as a SysAdmin, because she expressed to me multiple times she felt like the odd one out with the majority white male peers. I tried, time and time again, to stay on track with the training, but was more often then not taken off of track because home drama was brought into the mix. She couldn't retain any of the information I had given her, she would derail the topics at hand with nothing really important to what was going on and didn't seem all that invested in what I was trying to show her. I understand everyone has their problems, but there is a time and place for it. Women bring this to work with them and everyone suffers from it. It's toxic, makes the workflow inefficient and they don't seem to have an interest in the work or material like my male counter-parts do.

 

Could this be because most men are not the major dealer in day to day home duties therefore don't have the information processing in their heads as females do?  I'm wondering if a 'stay at home' father would inherit the same social stigma women have, whether it's a learned thing or a situational thing.  If a male returned to the workforce after such would they be no different to their male counterparts or would they be more open and vocal than the average?  Interesting thought.


Rumors are carried by haters
Spread by fools
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Accepted by idiots

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17 hours ago, Krazychic said:

Could this be because most men are not the major dealer in day to day home duties therefore don't have the information processing in their heads as females do?  I'm wondering if a 'stay at home' father would inherit the same social stigma women have, whether it's a learned thing or a situational thing.  If a male returned to the workforce after such would they be no different to their male counterparts or would they be more open and vocal than the average?  Interesting thought.

Single fathers who take care of kids on their own usually talk in passing about these issues rather than make it a forefront of their attitude or personality at work, I've noticed. It usually has some kind of purpose behind it, being either advice or planning, but it doesn't impact the work they do until something tragic happens. My father was a prime example of this. After suffering divorce and the death of his current wife, while taking care of a son and my sister with child support (she's in college), and taking care of my grandmother whom is getting up there in age, it's been a rough ride, but he learned where it's appropriate to discuss these things and work was not one of them. Not because he didn't trust anyone there, but it's really no one else's problem but his own.

 

The more mature women have learned to do this and only talk about these things with people they trust. I'd say younger age groups of women between 20-30, usually single or married without kids, are usually the problem majority of the issues described above in my field. I'd like to think that having kids, taking on actual home responsibilities without a family safety net (ie, not asking mom and dad for money to make ends meet) and learning when/where your personal business is appropriate to discuss are the key factors in this situation.

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Posted (edited)

I don't get why social politics are so popular nowadays. I've gotten to the point where I know what I believe, I make judgments and presumptions based on it, and I alter my beliefs accordingly based on my observations compared to my initial judgment or presumption. That's what natural selection is all about. Presumption allows me to try to predict the future and when it fails, I try to presume better next time. It's important to note the difference between assumption (a baseless prejudgment) and presumption (a prejudgment based on previous experience).

 

I don't let details like causation come into play for me anymore; correlation is enough. Being a woman may or may not be the cause of many differences I observe in women, but regardless of cause the correlation exists. A great example is in selecting a new shift manager at work, which is partly my job at this point: it's not that I view women as inherently incapable of management, it's that each woman or girl in my workplace (except one) has individually and independently invalidated themselves in my eyes for the position for similar reasons as mentioned by Solaris. They seem to be more interested in drama and gossip than in making the workplace efficient. That is not to say it is limited to only the women there, one of my closest male friends struggles with "talking shit" about people who make mistakes that make his job harder (a bit more work-related than the gossip/drama of which the girls are guilty but gossip/drama nonetheless); but men, on average in the workplace, seem to be more work-minded.

 

My point in that paragraph being, do I care what causes this to happen? All I care about is the correlation that allows me to say to myself, "this seems to be the case with a lot of women," and that in turn allows me to formulate a way to deal with it ahead of time, if I see it approaching in the future.

 

I was speaking to a girl who wanted to be shift manager and it got the point where I decided it would be professional of me to be flat with her - I told her what stopped me from promoting her, and that the only way she would be reconsidered is if she cut the gossip and showed that she could maintain professionalism for an extended period of time. No mention of her being female and that's the way it should be; actions are the judges of results and if there end up being no female managers as a result of correlation, it will simply be the result of that correlation.

Edited by TCK
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Leaving out the details of causation, aka the factual evidence, will not give one an objective(ly enough) picture of a situation.
Your presumptions will be heavily subjectively influenced and in the end be indistinguishable from prejudices.

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Posted (edited)

On 8/11/2017 at 7:21 PM, tarikja said:

Leaving out the details of causation, aka the factual evidence, will not give one an objective(ly enough) picture of a situation.
Your presumptions will be heavily subjectively influenced and in the end be indistinguishable from prejudices.

Interestingly enough, in the last few debates I (or others) have attempted with you, you reject most causation-related evidence. Additionally, I don't believe that correlation or causation are either words which modify observations in terms of being factual. An observation that bears shit in the woods is correlative, as bears would shit just as often in the city if not for the fact that they live most often in the woods. Does this affect the subsequent observation that bearshit is most often found in the woods?

 

If we move past that, you might have a compelling argument when concerning an individual experience but it's easy to see how one could use modern technology such as the internet to research and improve one's own development of probability (whether through reading studies or through making the net of experiences more widespread). The concept of altering a prejudgment completely invalidates it as prejudice, and I'd be extremely interested to see that contested.

Edited by TCK

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7 minutes ago, TCK said:

Interestingly enough, in the last few debates I (or others) have attempted with you, you reject most causation-related evidence.

Do you come to that conclusion by don't letting you get affected by the details of causation?

 

And yes, I would reject 'causation'-related evidence (provided it is actually of causative origin and not, as you like to put it, correlative) if the argument is based on inductive reasoning.

 

7 minutes ago, TCK said:

An observation that bears shit in the woods is correlative, [...]. Does this affect the subsequent observation that bearshit is most often found in the woods?

 

Concluding from the particular case to the given precondition. Inductive reasoning per example, when it should be the other way around.

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20 hours ago, TCK said:

it's easy to see how one could use modern technology such as the internet to research and improve one's own development of probability

Indeed, the original essay did exactly this.

 

He acknowledged there are other explanations for the gender gap in tech. His biggest sin was only citing sources in favor of his opinion, and implying those were powerful enough effects to explain the whole gap.

 

It's very easy to invoke authority-by-science in an argument. It's a lot harder to actually practice good science.

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