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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The ‘Anti-Diversity Screed’ That Wasn’t

The first thing to know about the instantly infamous “anti-diversity screed” written by an anonymous Google software engineer is that it isn’t anti-diversity or a screed.

The loaded description, widely used in the press and on social media, is symptomatic of the pearl-clutching over the memo, which questions the premises and effectiveness of Google’s diversity policies.

The document was meant — before getting splashed on the Internet — as an internal conversation-starter. The author posits that innate differences between the sexes might account for the disparity between men and women in the male-dominated world of high-tech. 

He states repeatedly that he believes in diversity, and there’s no reason to doubt his self-description as a classical liberal. His exclamation-point-free memo is hardly a rant. He expresses the hope that “open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow.” 

How naïve. The witless and inflamed reaction to his document instead underlines his point about “a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.”...

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