For someone who wrote a 10 page memo about how biological differences could impact diversity, James Damore sure had the right credentials.
Damore, who was fired by Google today for authoring a internal document that talked about how men and women could have differing skill sets, had a glittering resume focusing on Biology. Damore had a BS in Molecular Biology, Physics and Chemistry from University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.
Prior to that, he’d been a Research Assistant at Princeton, where he’d attended the Quantitative and Computational Biology Summer Program. He had also spent one year at MIT as a Research Assistant. He’d then gone on to complete his PhD in Systems Biology from Harvard.
Update: It has now emerged that Damore did not finish his Ph.D program, and graduated with a Masters Degree from Harvard.
One would think that stints at Princeton and MIT, followed up by a PhD in Biology from Harvard would mean that Damore would know a thing or two about how biology affected gender, but Google apparently didn’t care. Google fired Damore today for airing his views on how pushing diversity programs could hurt Google’s business.
Damore had argued that Google should hire people based on their ability alone. Google has several programs where it seeks to preferentially hire women and people of colour. Damore said that differences in the ratios of men and women in engineering and tech positions existed mainly because of differences in biology, and as such it was not concerning if more men occupied these positions.
Damore had further said that this was a touchy topic to raise within Google, and the company’s prevailing monoculture didn’t allow for views such as his to be aired. He’d described Google as an echochamber, which was only willing to accept one kind of view of a situation.
After his memo had gone internally viral, Damore was fired by Google today. “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” Google CEO Pichai wrote in an email to employees.
But Google’s actions have been lambasted by outsiders and employees. A Google employee took to Facebook to show support for Damore, saying he was being persecuted and mistreated for his views.
Several outsiders have also criticized Google, and a movement to boycott Google is also gaining steam. “Google, one of the biggest science and tech companies in the world, fired someone for believing in science in the tech community,” wrote a Twitter user. Others have compared Damore’s firing to how authoritarian regimes behave, with someone creating a Google logo with a hammer and sickle. Others have compared Google’s actions to the Nazis.
— Pheenix11 (@Pheenix111) August 8, 2017