Google: Visual Diversity vs Intellectual Diversity

Recently, a Google employee by the name of James Damore released a memo essentially criticizing the company’s idea of diversity, and attempting to explain what actual diversity was, via things like common sense and published studies. Not surprisingly, the cult of left-leaning media got together, and decided to push the narrative of “anti-diversity” in describing the memo, which they also took to calling a “manifesto”. You know… like those things lone wolf killers release after massacring a building full of people. Propaganda much?

When I read this memo on Gizmodo, or one of those other BuzzFeed-esque bastions of idiocy, I initially thought the contents of the memo was actually the response of Google’s brand spanking new VP of Diversity, Integrity, and Governance (Who pulled that job position out of their ass?). You see, this memo that every pearl-clutcher on social media was complaining about, was supposed to be this dangerous, hateful screed demonizing minorities, women, and family pets. As you can imagine, I was expecting the actual memo to be irrational, and the person with the pretentious title’s response to be the rational part.

The memo I read however, was very calm, collected, analytical, and actually argued in favor of diversity in the work place. As someone who actually reads, and enjoys things like facts and science (And not just faux-science facebook pages), I didn’t see much stated in the memo that I wasn’t already aware of. It did contain “hate-facts”, like arguing that men and women are different, motivated by different things, and have different strengths and weaknesses. The type of facts anyone who has ever been in an adult relationship with the opposite sex, or at very least doesn’t live in a cave should probably already be aware of.

Ironically, the memo also argued that silicon valley is overwhelmingly Democrat-voting, and tends to be a hostile, noninclusive environment to anybody of any other political affiliation or background. The irony being that there is now one less non-leftist in silicon valley (Damore is evidently Libertarian), because someone dared to hold an opinion and state factual data that didn’t fit the narrative of his employer and employees. Those in the echo chamber of silicon valley felt threatened and unsafe by differing opinions (i.e. diversity), and felt the need to purge that which was different.

Which brings me to the title of this article.

When a company like Google touts it’s diversity, it isn’t referring to it’s wide breadth of ideologies and backgrounds. In an environment like Google, there is an entirely different type of diversity being paraded about. In this instance, diversity is a visual concept, usually only signifying minor surface-deep differences between two people. The existence of two individuals who hold exactly the same beliefs, but have different levels of melanin, represent diversity here. It is “diversity” to have a woman and man present who are essentially carbon copies of each other, save for their chromosomes. This type of diversity is merely a matter of visual differences, and rarely anything deeper.

The definition of diversity outside of these progressive circles tends to imply a difference of ideas, or world view, regardless of skin color, gender, or anything else pertaining to identity politics. This is often referred to as intellectual diversity. Two individuals could have completely different world views for example, and both be black women. You would need to actually listen to the ideas of these two people to gauge whether any actual intellectual diversity was present however. If you’re only interested in racial diversity though, these women then become completely interchangeable. They serve the same end merely by virtue of their skin color. This just so happens to be tokenism.

You literally don’t even need to converse with a group of people to determine whether that group is diverse, via this shallow, skin-deep definition of diversity. You could look through a stack of photographs of potential employees, select an assortment of different-looking folks, make sure you’ve created a nice “diverse” team, then call it a day. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more common for large companies to engage in practices of this sort due to social pressures to hire merely for visual diversity. This seemingly amounts to little more than a P.R. move used to give the illusion of something existing, which is rarely actually present within these environments. Diversity is our strength! That one guy is tall, and that other guy is short. We are diverse!

How exactly does hiring a bunch of ideologically similar people, who happen to be different colors create strength though?  Visual diversity (race, gender, etc.) is a thing that obviously exists, and has it’s merits, but it isn’t the same as intellectual diversity, and the two shouldn’t be confused or conflated. If a meteor was headed for Earth, you would probably want an intellectually diverse group of people solving the issue, rather than a visually diverse group of people. A group who looks varied, but thinks similarly isn’t likely to provide a wide range of solutions to a particular problem.

Racial and gender diversity existing independent of intellectual and ideological diversity does have it’s place though. That place being visual mediums.

If a country is composed of many different races, all those races should probably be represented in a realistic portrayal of that country in a visual medium. Formats like television, movies, advertisements, etc. America is a diverse place, so a visual medium should represent this. China is not a very diverse place, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their visual mediums aren’t very diverse. The intellectual component of diversity doesn’t have to come into play in matters of visual representation.

If a product is being advertised, the company selling that product wants to project racial and gender diversity if that product is intended for everybody. This makes sense from a business standpoint. If you’re marketing only to a single demographic, it gives off the impression that your product is solely meant for that particular demographic, and not everybody. Your sales might be hurt by this. If a product is intended for a single demographic, then obviously the advertisements would reflect that. The intellectual component of diversity isn’t usually necessary in marketing.

Both visual and intellectual diversity can be present at the same time within a company. The main issue here is that only visual diversity is being focused on by the detractors of this memo, and seemingly, Google itself. Intellectual diversity is all but ignored, as if it has absolutely no use to a society.

Once again, these are two different types of diversity, and they are not interchangeable.

Claiming intellectual diversity merely from differences in skin color requires a huge degree of assumption. You know nothing about another person until you actually converse with them, and you never have the opportunity to converse with someone different than yourself, when you live in an echo-chamber. Google, like many tech companies, seems to be an echo chamber. Everyone is a neat little ideological carbon copy of everybody else. So when someone voices an opinion that is different from the flock, people in these environments don’t know how to handle it like well-developed grown-ups.

When you are surrounded solely by people who think exactly like you, you start to share a lot with the average cult member. People in cults are intentionally cut off from the outside world, to prevent them from coming across differing options. Differing opinions that might change their world view and cause them to potentially leave that very cult. Differing opinions that might cause them to question the validity of the beliefs they hold. Beliefs they generally possess merely by virtue of being surrounded by, and indoctrinated into those convictions.

You see this played out a lot on social media. People willingly surround themselves with people who think exactly as they do (i.e. an echo-chamber), only to have their beliefs reinforced by never having a differing opinion around to challenge them on those beliefs (i.e. confirmation bias). These beliefs could be nonsensical, to downright idiotic, but if they are never challenged, the person will never grow out of them.

It’s extremely rare to see anybody on facebook actually engaging in any kind of intellectual debate. The platform seemingly exists for people to grandstand on certain topics, only to have others who already share the same opinion dole out empty validation through clicking a “thumbs up” button. “My opinions must be intelligent and correct, because all these people whom I’m friends with, because we think alike, agree with me.”

In the rare instance wherein a conflict of ideas actually results on facebook, a nuanced exchange of ideas hardly ever results. More often than not, this is because the one broadcasting their half-baked ideas and opinions hasn’t actually mulled over the issue enough to actually have a cogent debate on the topic. They certainly haven’t looked at the issue from both sides, or done much in the way of critical thinking on the subject. None of this is necessary however, when you live in an echo-chamber, and your views will conveniently never be challenged.

This is illustrated by the sheer amount of people who seem to have an opinion on a relatively short memo they obviously didn’t bother to read. How can you justify spewing your opinion out into the public realm on something it’s painfully obvious you never even applied the minimum amount of effort to look into? These types of people are the kids in school who wrote book reports on novels they didn’t even read. Unfortunately these types are getting hired into the click-bait junk media that has replaced legit platforms of journalism in the last 5-10 years.

These kinds of sites aren’t “fake news”. They aren’t even news at this point. They’re poorly written and researched bias, that serves no purpose but to get clicks and sell ad revenue.

Anyhow… now that this article is already 3 chapters long, lets actually delve into that dangerous thought-crime manifesto, shall we? Below are a few excerpts from that memo:

  • Women on average, have more openness directed toward feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things relative to men. These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.

That’s totally racist, yo! I mean Islamophobic… I mean… what’s that term I throw around when I haven’t read something, and/or don’t understand the material presented, proceed to get hysterical and defensive, and throw around accusations?

That’s sexist! That’s the term I was searching for. Implying that women “on average” have different traits and interests then men in sexist. I also ate paint chips as a child, and have a room temperature IQ, but that’s most definitely racist. I mean, sexist.

  • Women on average, have more extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness. This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.

Oh my god! Can you believe this? I totally can’t even right now… I have no idea what half those words even mean, but I’m certainly not going to actually look them up. I’m just going to assume that all that stuff is bad, and homophobic… I mean sexist, and go about my day. My favorite color is potato.

  • We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life. Status is the primary metric that men are judged on, pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.

There’s literally nothing in that statement that I can reasonably dispute using any kind of logic, but my feels are telling me that it’s wrong, so therefore I’m just going to call it sexist. I’m sure it’s also transphobic and ableist in some way, but as we’ve already established, throwing around these words requires no intellectual processing, and therefore, I’m not even going to bother backing up my claims. Next!

  • The male gender role is currently inflexible. Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles.

Not to break character, but I legitimately can’t see how anybody could possibly view this as “sexist” or “anti-diversity” in any capacity. This is essentially a sentiment one would find on any feminist blog deconstructing gender roles and espousing the harms of the patriarchy. This guy would get lambasted for being a SJW for stating this view in any other capacity. This is by no means the only instance in the “manifesto” wherein this gentlemen makes a statement like this either.

  • I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more.

Not according to all those hit pieces written about you, my dude. How can you possibly claim to be in favor of something, when other people are insisting so adamantly that you are against it? If you insist that your favorite color is blue, but a bunch of “D+” students who got jobs working at sites like Gizmodo and Vox claim that you hate the color blue, who are you to argue? You racist.

  • We all have biases and use motivated reasoning to dismiss ideas that run counter to our internal values. Just as some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the “God > humans > environment” hierarchy the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people

Not to break character again, but this is perhaps the most categorically true statement in this memo. I mean… (cue spooky music) “manifesto”. I’ve got an article on this very topic laying around my wordpress somewhere that I need to finish. It’s about people’s tendency to gleefully parade out science that conforms to their partisan agendas, while being just as quick to reject science that contradicts those same agendas. Let’s continue, however.

  • I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

That’s a pretty damning statement there, buddy. Lemme get this straight. Diversity isn’t bad, society isn’t fair, we should try to fix bias, minorities have it bad sometimes, we shouldn’t reinforce gender roles, and people should be treated as individuals?

Can you believe the nerve of this man? What an absolute piece of garbage! Who in their right mind could state these hateful things?

Yes folks. These are the ideas that the imbeciles of the internet are touting as sexist, racist, and anti-diversity, among other words people who don’t possess enough intellect to fabricate actual arguments sling around.

I’m going to stop here. Mainly because the entire memo is relatively mundane, as is to be expected, since it’s essentially comprised of data taken from numerous scholarly sources. It’s basically an aggregate of fairly common, widely-held, heavily-researched principals that a certain group of people (see science deniers above) refuse to acknowledge, because they went into debt to pay for an education that somehow left them dumber in the long run.

I’m a fairly accepting individual, but to be frank, I have a really hard time trying to justify viewing anyone as remotely intelligent, who upon actually reading this “manifesto”, has no problem slandering it as a whole. The vast majority of this thing was so common-sense that it was hardly worthy of any of the fuss it created. The parts that actually were opinions, were extremely liberal, and surprisingly inclusive in nature. I’m having difficulty seeing any of the articles written about this as being anything other than quite obvious agenda-driven propaganda at this point.

But then again, we currently exist in a peak satire-as-reality world. The place wherein people exist who say shit like “There’s no differences between the sexes!” and then turn around, and in the same breath, say something like “It’s time for change. Let’s elect a woman president!”, all without a hint of irony.

So to sum up: sexes = not different, yet somehow: different sex = different outcome.

Gotcha. Enjoy those paint chips.