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Thread: Google fires engineer for anti-diversity memo

  1. #1

    Default Google fires engineer for anti-diversity memo

    It's been in the news lately that Google has now fired the employee who authored a ten page memo about the way they felt the company pushed for diversity in the workforce.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/b...ired-memo.html

    I find it interesting that their newly appointed VP of diversity and integrity stated, "Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinion."

    I guess feeling safe doesn't mean feeling safe about your job.

  2. #2

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    Make sure you read the original version with all the footnotes, links, and graphs.

    Google has finally dropped the mask and revealed itself as an Orwellian police state as we suspected.

  3. #3

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    good on Google.....
    they have my vote for a diverse and safe work-space.
    fiver

  4. #4

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    You are free to speak your mind as long as long as it agrees with the current majority!

  5. #5

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    I have mixed feelings about what happened. The obvious lies at the surface, that his statements were politically incorrect. As I understand it, Google has an open bulletin board where employees can discuss topics. The news media was questioning why Google hires more men than women, so this was his response. I don't think his response was especially accurate, because there are a lot of other reasons girls often don't go into science, engineering, etc., many of them because of how society defines us in terms of gender and the roles we're supposed to embrace.

    So he expressed his opinion just as others were expressing their opinion, but because his didn't agree with the public face that Google wishes the public to see, he got fired. So the lesson learned here is at the job site, the less said the better. Not all of us may like having to be politically correct, but by being so, we continue to work like good worker ants.

  6. #6

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    Here's the thing that is my basic thought--I don't agree with what this engineer said at all. However, coming out and firing this engineer while trying to claim that people with alternative views can share their opinions is being hypocritical. I work at a job in Silicon Valley where we hire the best person for the position. It matters not to us if the person is male, female, black, brown, green, purple, has tentacles, whatever. They get paid according to their ability to produce results, and more often than not those who cannot perform get put on notice to improve their performance or face being let go. The CEO of the company started it and ran it for 35 years until we got bought earlier this year with the attitude that anytime he raised his voice it was never personal but completely about business. I sat in meetings with him where he would rip somebody apart for not doing their job, then turn to talk to me and be completely normal. If you couldn't handle the risk of being offended, you wouldn't survive.

    Still, we have a situation where 'alternative' views are supposed to be allowed, and instead of taking this opportunity to educate people, they immediately remove this person. This was not a manager responsible for others, they aren't using their opinion to hire and fire or determine pay rates. While their viewpoints may not be politically correct, there is no place that they can force those onto others. If it were one that this person refused to work with people because of his views, that's a different matter, but it was never shown to be the case.

    I have read this guy's 'manifesto' and I don't agree with it. At the same time, I think it could have been handled better. People claim that this person putting this memo out there made the workplace difficult, that they were hurting and felt judged by their gender. So you placate them by firing this one person, but now you have another group that is marginalized by making it clear that any view not agreed upon by the company is grounds for dismissal.

    I did read the 'manifesto' and there were stereotypes put forward, there were a lot of generalizations made, and it was not politically correct in the least. I have my own opinions on how to best get women and minorities more into the tech sphere (most of it beginning with teaching them as early as elementary school about this stuff), but I would think it more important to use this as an opportunity to educate rather than just end someone's career.

    '...make an effort over the coming days to reach out to those who might have different perspectives from your own." (This from a memo from Google CEO Sundar Pichai). Yeah, reach out to them with the box of their possessions as they're escorted out the door maybe...

  7. #7

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    Diversity hiring practices are the proverbial "cherry on the shit sundae." Or the "lipstick on the pig," if you prefer. They make for good PR, but do relatively little--or in this case absolutely nothing--to address the real problem. And the real problem in this case is that women simply aren't getting interested in technology soon enough and often enough to participate in the industry.

    I can vividly recall my first "weed-out" computer science course in college. There were perhaps a hundred males and a dozen females. By the end of the course, half the males were gone. And there was only one female left. She dropped out after the second semester. And here's why: Almost all the people who survived that class survived because they'd arrived to college with years of coding experience. Most had gotten hooked on video games at a young age, started wondering, "Hmm. I wonder how these work?" and ended up teaching themselves how to code before even reaching high school. I was one of those. So, to compensate, the college courses had to start out in mega-super overdrive, which made them extremely unfriendly to the females, most of whom had simply decided to pursue computer science upon graduating from high school. In their defense, that sort of last-minute decision is perfectly fine for many degree programs. Computer science just isn't one of those.

    And because the average male computer science freshman arrives to college with more coding experience than his female counterparts, it shouldn't be too surprising that males reach the job market with more coding experience as well. And it goes beyond that. I interviewed candidates for software engineering positions for nearly 20 years. The male candidates were many times as likely as the females to have coding-related hobbies and other technical side-projects that amounted to significant experience, and backed up their claims to being passionate about the subject matter. Trying to hire your way around that kind of a disparity really does more harm than good.

    The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is technology and coding curriculum for young children that works against the stereotype of the male computer scientist/software engineer. That stereotype, and similar gender norms, are where the damage gets done. And once it's done, it's done. You don't get to simply decide, a decade or more later, that you're going to hire a bunch of qualified female software engineers. They aren't there.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogRTO View Post
    I find it interesting that their newly appointed VP of diversity and integrity stated, "Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinion."

    I guess feeling safe doesn't mean feeling safe about your job.
    1. VP of diversity and integrity? I looked in the thesaurus... that was the first entry for "affirmative action position"

    2. Feeling safe about your job? When, where, and how is that even a thing? Unless, of course, you're a unionized state employee with seniority in the Democrat People's Republic of Illinois.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'll start out by saying that the guy had to be out of his mind to put out that (or any other) sort of political statement at work. Would you preach in the cafeteria? Stupid.



    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontail View Post
    Diversity hiring practices are the proverbial "cherry on the shit sundae." Or the "lipstick on the pig," if you prefer. They make for good PR, but do relatively little--or in this case absolutely nothing--to address the real problem. And the real problem in this case is that women simply aren't getting interested in technology soon enough and often enough to participate in the industry.
    And this is a problem... why? If any women want to do this sort of thing, fine, no problem, buy why should it be forced? Men and women are different. It's not reasonable to expect that they would want exactly the same things.

    I see it as more of a potential problem that you and others are trying to erase the difference between men and women, or at least pretend it doesn't exist.



    I can vividly recall my first "weed-out" computer science course in college. There were perhaps a hundred males and a dozen females. By the end of the course, half the males were gone. And there was only one female left. She dropped out after the second semester. And here's why: Almost all the people who survived that class survived because they'd arrived to college with years of coding experience. Most had gotten hooked on video games at a young age, started wondering, "Hmm. I wonder how these work?" and ended up teaching themselves how to code before even reaching high school. I was one of those. So, to compensate, the college courses had to start out in mega-super overdrive, which made them extremely unfriendly to the females, most of whom had simply decided to pursue computer science upon graduating from high school. In their defense, that sort of last-minute decision is perfectly fine for many degree programs. Computer science just isn't one of those.
    My experience was considerably different. Computer science wasn't really a thing yet. There were a couple of programming classes. I think they belonged to the math department. It might have been business, but classes happened in the math building. Math department chair was a woman, as was economics department chair. There were several standout female students in math and the sciences. Nobody thought twice about that. It was nowhere near equal numbers, but then the school had only recently gone coed, so male/female ratio was maybe 8 to 1.



    The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is technology and coding curriculum for young children that works against the stereotype of the male computer scientist/software engineer. That stereotype, and similar gender norms, are where the damage gets done. And once it's done, it's done. You don't get to simply decide, a decade or more later, that you're going to hire a bunch of qualified female software engineers. They aren't there.
    Gender norms? Damage? Have you look in your pants recently? In your wife's pants? There's a significant difference. Why would we want to pretend otherwise? Not suggesting individual men or women shouldn't pursue knowledge and careers they're attracted and suited to, but what's the point in trying to force it?

  9. #9

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    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gxIw9fyIK_c


    Please read the description of
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TN1vEfqHGro because sources are cited, and the original unaltered document can be read, and even listened to on soundcloud.

    Sorry, not yelling. Copied the links from notepad, and it messed with the font.
    Last edited by SpAzpieSweeTot; 10-Aug-2017 at 17:13.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    1. VP of diversity and integrity? I looked in the thesaurus... that was the first entry for "affirmative action position"

    2. Feeling safe about your job? When, where, and how is that even a thing? Unless, of course, you're a unionized state employee with seniority in the Democrat People's Republic of Illinois.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'll start out by saying that the guy had to be out of his mind to put out that (or any other) sort of political statement at work. Would you preach in the cafeteria? Stupid.
    Though it's ridiculous of the company to have an internal microsite where discussions like this are supposed to be allowed. There's a 'mature topics' section here on ADISC and while several people get plenty of response trying to show how others think they're wrong, it's not like we ban them or push them out of here entirely. Offering that forum to discuss sensitive topics and then firing someone for not blindly following the corporate line and not also not doing anything illegal or unethical, just reeks of hypocrisy.



    And this is a problem... why? If any women want to do this sort of thing, fine, no problem, buy why should it be forced? Men and women are different. It's not reasonable to expect that they would want exactly the same things.

    I see it as more of a potential problem that you and others are trying to erase the difference between men and women, or at least pretend it doesn't exist.
    If an honest look at it is made, women used to outnumber men highly in coding positions. So trying to get women more into those positions isn't a matter of erasing differences, but getting them interested in the jobs. There is absolutely no reason that we can't expose children to science and technology at a young age to get them interested, regardless of gender.




    My experience was considerably different. Computer science wasn't really a thing yet. There were a couple of programming classes. I think they belonged to the math department. It might have been business, but classes happened in the math building. Math department chair was a woman, as was economics department chair. There were several standout female students in math and the sciences. Nobody thought twice about that. It was nowhere near equal numbers, but then the school had only recently gone coed, so male/female ratio was maybe 8 to 1.
    Again, early days of coding showed more women than men. Your experience is just an anecdote in the matter. I can give my experience, and when we take all experiences everywhere together, maybe we'll get a better picture of what the net statistical ratio is.




    Gender norms? Damage? Have you look in your pants recently? In your wife's pants? There's a significant difference. Why would we want to pretend otherwise? Not suggesting individual men or women shouldn't pursue knowledge and careers they're attracted and suited to, but what's the point in trying to force it?
    It's not a matter of trying to force it, but instead providing the exposure to children to help get their interest in it going. It's easier to show a child a number of different jobs and let them know they are capable of doing any of them than it is to constantly tell them they are only suited to do a handful of them and the rest are reserved for others. Yes, we shouldn't force those who are not attracted to a job to do it, but at the same time, we shouldn't try to force them away from jobs that they are attracted to by pushing that things are always supposed to be done one way.

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