This weekend an anti-diversity memo shared among employees at the biggest giant in Silicon Valley leaked and quickly went viral. The Google memo talked about how in efforts to arbitrarily seek equal representation, Google was discriminating and sacrificing the company’s best interests in the name of political correctness. It included lengthy biological, realistic explanations for why women are underrepresented in tech in the first place. It talked about the ideological echo chamber being enforced, and importance of intellectual diversity trumping the value of demographic diversity. The backlash was predictably vocal and widespread.
The anonymous author of this 3,000 word Google memo was accused of all the big bad bigotries under the sun. Women in tech used it as yet another example of the sexism and misogyny that runs rampant within their industry and how the fight for equality was far from over. But as a black woman, I couldn’t agree more with the general sentiment of the memo.
Ben Shapiro coined the phrase “facts don’t care about your feelings,” and his words become more relevant with each day we collectively reject logic and rational discussion for hyperbolic, emotional screeching. There are biological and statistical facts impossible for any intellectually honest person to ignore, and they’re not always pretty. When we work so hard to make the American Dream an accessible possibility for all, it’s not convenient to admit that women are happiest at home and that there are significant racial disparities when it comes to IQ. But acknowledging the numbers doesn’t mean that the numbers are all that matter or that people less statistically likely to excel in certain areas are incapable of doing so.
I’m an exception in many ways. Most obviously, I’m a black Trump supporter. But a better example is that I was raised by a single mother for the first 8 years of my life. My mother had me at 24 out of wedlock and statistically, I was destined to fail. But my mom went to Brown and was headed to law school when she found out she was pregnant with me. Her family had money, and she went on to provide for us on her own. I lived in the same 5 bedroom house my entire life, and I didn’t know that the government gave people money until kids at my summer camp made fun of me for not knowing what “EBT” was. My mistake would be to assume that my anecdotal positive experience being raised by a young, single mother (for the first few years of my life before she got married) negated the ample evidence that single motherhood has generally negative effects on children and society at large. What am I trying to say? Just because you’re a minority or a woman doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed in a competitive industry. The statistics aren’t in your favor, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a statistic. It’s just not honest or productive to pretend they don’t exist.
The issue is when competent, qualified individuals are overlooked because of factors outside of their control. If a hiring manager throws away a resume because they see a black name or girl name and assume they aren’t cut out for the job, that’s wrong. But what’s more common in this day and age is competent, qualified white men’s resumes being thrown away because they don’t fulfill enough victim check boxes. It’s not fair.
As a black woman, I think I’m intelligent and creative enough to be hired on my merits; not to fill some diversity quota. I don’t want to be hired just because they need more color or estrogen on their company website. I don’t want handouts or shortcuts because people think I can’t do for myself. If you can’t say the same, you aren’t right for the job and you’re taking the space of someone more deserving than you. There was a time where affirmative action might have been a reasonable solution, but we’re long past it.
Our picture of equality has come to mean anything but equality. If a white man thought he was owed something by virtue of being a white man, he would be castigated. But this very same mentality is accepted and enabled in everyone BUT white men. It’s blatantly hypocritical and only leads to buried resentment and tension.
The Google memo was right, and it’s about time we stop kidding ourselves. Preferring the best people for the job regardless of gender or race is actual equality. Anything otherwise is a waste of time and resources, and a disservice to all parties involved.