So, what is it: method or madness?
You know what I’m talking about, right? The 10-page Google memo that circulated last month.
For those who are a little bit behind, let me summarize for you.
Over 600 women are accusing Google of sexism in the workplace, and they’re now facing a hefty class-action lawsuit because of it.
A software engineer at Google recently wrote a lengthy memo in which he outlined the liberal biases within the company. He noted how its diversity initiatives have failed to conjure true diversity, how men and women just naturally differ from each other, and how conservatives have been silenced within the company for a pretty long time.
Unsurprisingly, the left-wing company didn’t agree with his statements; they believe they’re doing a fine job (clearly, with a class-action lawsuit on their hands).
Yes, his statements were controversial. We live in a world where calling yourself a conservative immediately sparks accusation of racism, sexism, and closed-mindedness. Before you can even get a word out, the other side already made peace with some pretty serious assumptions.
What I found interesting is that the author of this memo didn’t appear to look down on women or minorities per se; he simply noted that diversity initiatives need some renovating and that women are different from men; not less-than. If anything, one could argue that when he noted men’s “higher drive for status,” he was taking a stab at their inflated egos.
So why is this email so potent? Why is the internet still buzzing about it?
I have some ideas.
4 Dangerous Myths our Culture Tells Us About Diversity
Different = Inferior
Today, calling someone “different” automatically translates to “inferior.” This software engineer talked about personality variances between men and women, saying that women gravitate toward certain (different) positions because:
- Women are more open, generally having a stronger interest toward people, which is why they choose social or artistic jobs more often than men
- Women have a higher tendency to be agreeable and cooperative, so things like negotiating salary and leadership opportunities are more of a challenge
- Women have higher anxiety and a lower stress tolerance, which may contribute to why there are less women in high-stress jobs
On the other hand:
- Men have a higher drive for status and will sacrifice a balanced and quality life to attain it
- Men tend to be less agreeable and cooperative in nature, making social, artistic, and collaborative roles less of a fit
To me, this sounds like each gender has its strengths and weaknesses. This doesn’t mean that one is inferior to the other—but they’re inarguably different. What’s so bad about that? We need both personality and character traits both in the workplace and in our society to create a balance.
Disagreement = Racism
Another fallacy running rampant in our society is that, if you disagree with a diversity initiative, that’s equivalent to racism.
The author of the email suggested that Google’s diversity programs lower the bar for minorities opposed to purposely including them in the company’s initiatives. In essence, it’s an insult by expecting them to accomplish less. How does suggesting a new alternative equate to racism? That’s a huge accusation—one that you can’t easily come back from!
Conservative = Bigot
When someone disagrees about the ways to implement diversity initiatives, our culture immediately brands them as “bigot.” And they do this to discredit anything they have to say; it’s essentially a way to shut down an argument or discussion before it even begins. One could argue that’s coward’s play.
This is nothing more than a bully tactic. This country was built on freedom of thought and respect for various opinions. By bulldozing conservative opinions in the workplace, we are eliminating the very foundation of our country—a foundation that liberals so often lean on.
Those Who Disagree are the Enemy
Rather than creating an organization in which everyone agrees on every topic, we should be creating company cultures where open conversation is encouraged.
Diversity of thought is paramount to progress. Without it, employees become narrow-minded liberals or narrow-minded conservatives with little exposure to the real world. There is little ingenuity, critical thinking, or sharpening of the mind.
In order to function in the workplace, these myths must take a backseat to progress. Diversity – both in demographics and in thought – requires less bulldozing and more civility. All competent, proficient business experts understand that diversity is a must; we just disagree about how to get there.