In memo’s aftermath, Google can’t talk diversity

Google has canceled a meeting on diversity because of fears over the safety of its employees, the Wall St. Journal reports.

This all comes following the publishing of a memo from a now-fired Google engineer who said the company’s diversity efforts are discriminatory at the tech giant where nearly 80 percent of employees are men.

Some alt-right websites have since published names of employees leading to fears of organized online harassment, Recode said.

It was to be a mandatory all-hands meeting, called by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who ended a vacation to address the firestorm caused by James Damore’s memo.

Wired reports that some employees have been victims of “doxxing”, online harassment that includes publishing of private information.

Google employees had submitted more than 520 questions to Pichai, who spoke at a girls’ coding conference yesterday.

“I want you to know there’s a place for you in this industry,” Pichai said. “There’s a place for you at Google. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You belong here, and we need you.”

In the New York Times today, columnist David Brooks said he should quit.

We should all have a lot of sympathy for the second group of actors in this drama, the women in tech who felt the memo made their lives harder. Picture yourself in a hostile male-dominated environment, getting interrupted at meetings, being ignored, having your abilities doubted, and along comes some guy arguing that women are on average less status hungry and more vulnerable to stress. Of course you’d object.

What we have is a legitimate tension. Damore is describing a truth on one level; his sensible critics are describing a different truth, one that exists on another level. He is championing scientific research; they are championing gender equality. It takes a little subtlety to harmonize these strands, but it’s doable.

On Vox, aspiring women engineers said Damore’s memo isn’t going to scare them off.