Google may have their hands on just about every piece of technology we see in the world these days but they are facing a problem that many tech giants are being criticized for — diversity.
But now a Google software engineer’s 10-page memo that circulated amongst employees has drawn the spotlight directly on one of Silicon Valley's largest companies. This previously unnamed engineer accused Google of being a “politically correct monoculture” due to its left leaning bias.
The memo, which was revealed to be written by James Damore, is titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” and has sparked an intense free speech battle online.
At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices...
Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies.
Not only did Damore have some points about conservative views, he focused on Silicon Valley's diversity problem and argued that biological differences play a role in the seeming lack of women in the tech industry and its leadership positions.
In response, Google has fired Damore.
Google’s vice president for diversity, integrity, and governance, Danielle Brown, sent a statement to the staff condemning Damore’s views and promised to keep the company's diversity goals despite Damore's controversial memo.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has also responded to the outrage by saying that employees have the right to express themselves in any way politically, but condemned the biological argument against female employees:
First, let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives.
To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects 'each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.'
Damore has claimed that he will likely take legal action against Google for his termination.