Google fired James D, one of its top scientists, for circulating an internal memo internally criticizing the company for it’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley. While reacting to the controversy James D, the former employee said “I value diversity and inclusion, and do not endorse using stereotypes… But, if we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem..” He accused Google of becoming an “ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.”
The memo which has gone viral over the internet took the world by surprise. It stated things like women being underrepresented in tech because of the inherent psychological differences between men and women and not because of discrimination, and
how women are naturally gregarious; have less stress-tolerance and prone to neuroticism. It also said that we need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism, and that Google’s educational programs for young women, may be misguided.
Google may have had the legal right to fire Damore for violating the company code of moral conduct, but, in doing so, it also has to justify certain questions. For example, would being diverse and inclusive not include diversity & inclusion of thoughts and ideas?
Enough has been written and spoken about James being “right” and “not right”. What we want to focus here is whether firing James was the only option available? Was it in line with being diverse & inclusive? Does being divergent (even if repelling or “wrong”), call for a pink slip? Could the course of action been different?
Answers are many. Maybe, a better response from Google would have been to sensitize Damore -Diversity & inclusion sensitization could have been one option. Probably he could have been made part of an all women team. This would have been a creative attempt at solving a complicated and controversial issue. Maybe he would have seen the leadership and the eagerness to excel in them. Though all are “maybe-s”, an attempt at changing views through sensitization and experience, does sound better than giving up. Corrective measures always make for a better work place.
Victory lies in changing the perspectives of the other, moulding the other is see the “right” way.