Critical Argument on the Internet: One honest response to James Damore’s memo that white people have been asking for

Technology

Critical Argument on the Internet: One honest response to James Damore’s memo that white people have been asking for

Nida Nizam

by: Nida Nizam

August 26, 2017

Critical Argument on the Internet

One honest response to James Damore’s memo that white people have been asking for

Summary

In August, James Damore, a Google engineer, wrote an internal memo on norms and expectations in the workplace.”Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” went viral, sparking raucous debate about ideological echo chambers, free speech, and gender-based capabilities. Damore’s screed is ten pages long and oozes with what some people have caved to calling “good intentions.” Google’s decision to fire him elicited a strong reaction from critics of equity politics in the workplace. While Damore takes a press tour, many continue to dismiss the memo outright and few have taken the step to break down his arguments. I believe that Damore’s case is fundamentally flawed, argued poorly, and does not provide sufficient evidence that its conclusions are actually relevant or worthwhile solutions to the diversity issues currently plaguing the tech industry.

The Memo

Here is the memo. As you read, keep in mind Richard Paul’s questions for a critical reader:

  • What is the purpose for the piece?
  • What is the author trying to accomplish?
  • What issues or problems are raised?
  • What data, what experiences, what evidence are given?
  • What concepts are used to organize this data, these experiences?
  • How is the author thinking about the world?
  • Is their thinking justified as far as we can see from our perspective?
  • And how do they justify it from their perspective?
  • How can we enter their perspective to appreciate what they have to say?

I read Damore’s purpose as twofold: first, to suggest that the tech industry’s gender gap is the result of biological differences defining innate vocational preferences for men and women instead of intentional discrimination; and second, to address the censorship of conservative voices challenging the progressive ideologies prevailing at Google.

Damore attempts to scientifically “prove” that the innate differences between men and women are responsible for unequal gender representation, and to persuade the reader that implementing corrective measures for a natural phenomenon is unfair and bad business.

As Damore sees it, Google arbitrarily implements destructive policies that affect the company’s “operational readiness”. These policies contain content he fundamentally disagrees with, rather than actively put him at a disadvantage, and had no opportunity to provide feedback on. His beliefs likely influenced by his context as a white male engineer in a predominantly male environment, recently subjected to a slate of policies and trainings designed to modify his behavior in the workplace. Damore believes society is on a fundamentally unnatural path to an Orwellian dystopia of thought policing and sees the systematic efforts of central planners as defying the very principles of equality, freedom, and choice to which they have pledged their loyalty. Who wants to be reined in at work when the environment is supposed to encourage freedom, lateral thinking, and creativity? Who wants to hold in a hilarious joke that might ruffle some feathers? Who wants to watch minorities and women get special treatment when you feel you deserve the same support and opportunities for advancement?

Damore’s alarm makes sense in the context of the cognitive dissonance facing someone in his privileged (former) position – someone who doesn’t actually feel or see the problems Google is trying to energetically address, inherently disruptive of the privilege he has so far enjoyed. Ray Williams suggests that:

The implication for this [cognitive dissonance] for organizations is that if people believe in its overall purpose and it’s in alignment with their own life purposes, they will be more inclined to change their individual behaviors. People must also understand the role of their actions in the unfolding drama of the company’s fortunes and believe that it is worthwhile for them to play a part. It isn’t enough to tell employees that they will have to do things differently. Anyone leading a major change program must take the time to think through its “story”—what makes it worth undertaking—and to explain that story to all of the people involved in making change happen, so that their contributions make sense to them as individuals.

Why Damore’s memo isn’t as great as you might think it is

So much of the memo’s content fails the basic tests of intellectual rigor that I can understand why people haven’t necessarily been responding to its substance. Here are some reasons why.

1. The science is glip glorp

The memo relies heavily on the principles of biological determinism and the dubious application of evolutionary psychology. There is plenty of evidence of unquestionably shoddy methodology and baseless conclusions pervading the field along with controversial efforts made by evolutionary psychologists such as trying and failing to prove rape is an inherited proclivity. That’s not to entirely discount the application of evolutionary psychology’s theories, but to suggest that meticulous citation and overwhelming evidence would be necessary for arguments predicated upon its principles to be taken seriously, as most evolutionary psychologists have yet to accomplish this for their own research. Damore does not improve upon their efforts to validate the field’s line of questioning by simply listing bullet points on prenatal testosterone exposure, heritable traits, and that differences between men and women are exactly what would be predicted from an evolutionary psychology perspective as though they are universally accepted in the world of science. All of Damore’s conclusions have already been refuted and responded to by actual scientists and sociologists in their respective fields.

2. It relies on faulty assumptions

There are different definitions of psychological safety.

Damore recommends a “[f]ocus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity.” Assuming race/gender diversity includes actual practices to promote a sense of community in a diverse workplace, this division precludes the possibility that for many people, these two things are not categorically separable. This may be unintuitive if you do not believe in racial trauma or the long-term psychological effects of prejudice, unwelcoming environments, imbalanced workloads, and not being taken seriously on a day to day basis. If Damore is suggesting adding political ideology as a facet of diversity programming, he should propose research and experiments (or cite some) to not only explain why this would be a good idea, but also to provide a foundation for tangible policy implementation. Perhaps his outsider perspective could supplement the work of many experts in the field struggling to reconcile different definitions of safety within a shared space. Perhaps, for his own sake, Damore could suggest how his colleagues can re-define their ideas of psychological safety such that his points would be universally interpreted as acceptable, as opposed to women overwhelmingly disagreeing with the presumption that we are in fact, largely agreeable.

3. Bias is not always harmful

Bias helps to inform us as just as much as it may narrow our vision, especially if it reminds us to remain critically aware that science is not entirely objective. Bias pushes us to ask who is behind the experiment, what motivates them to find answers, and how they are wording and using their observation There is a long history of “science” and the biases of scientists being used to oppress and undermine women, people of color, and LGBT people to its detriment.

4. It’s poorly argued

Damore’s sophistry has cleverly ensnared many people who did not have the privilege of a thorough humanities education in critical reasoning. He immediately confronts the reader with a confidence trick, exploiting the reader’s presumed love of cutting bullshit. You might know this move as a “flimflam,” “gaffle,” “grift,” or “swindle.” Then, his entire argument is an appeal to probability while he jumps to conclusions and formal fallacies in argumentation, suggesting that because women presumably average out in a certain way, they individually struggle with the same issues.  This is known as the “fallacy of the single cause,” or causal oversimplification. He “merely” suggests that biology is responsible for a perpetually reinforced social ill without due consideration for jointly sufficient causes.

Damore also repeatedly provides personal qualifiers that are not in keeping with his substantive points, most likely to avoid being accused of committing to what is inherently a set of ecological and exception fallacies. His entire section on “[n]on-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap” (by the way, I think the titular concept is actually very valuable) relies on definitive statements regarding characteristics of “women on average”:

  • Women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things
  • Women on average are more cooperative
  • Women on average are more prone to anxiety
  • Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average
  • The male gender role is currently inflexible

An ecological fallacy is the interpretation of statistical data where inferences about the nature of individuals are deduced from inference for the group to which those individuals belong. For the sake of argument, if Damore had backed up each of these statements about women on average with credible statistics, I would still ask how they applied to women at Google, who are, according to the hype, meant to be exceptional. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that every single woman at Google is actually an exception to those rules and is an uncooperative anti-social workaholic suffering from Urbach-Wiethe disease. Where is the evidence that women are attributing their struggles in the workplace to these “average” proclivities? 60% of women in Silicon Valley have been sexually harassed, while a staggering 90% witnessed sexist behavior at company offsites and/or industry conferences. 60% reported being the target of unwanted sexual advances from a superior, 60% who reported sexual harassment were dissatisfied with the outcome, and one in three say they felt afraid for their personal safety because of work-related circumstances.

He is definitely right about the male gender role, as numerous studies and our general state of political affairs have inspired a slew of content about male toxicity, men’s frustrations, and the instability resulting from trying to adhere to restrictive gender roles. I would definitely encourage any interest he has in researching these things and how much feminists are trying to do to support men in freeing themselves of social strictures that are very much alive all over the country. I hope it’s illuminating.

5. It fails its own criteria

Damore argues that moralizing an issue such as diversity causes people to lose sight of costs and benefits and become “dismissive.” Unfortunately, as with most problems that people try to reduce to economic terms, morality and ethics are intangibles that affect our very idea of “cost” and “benefit” and aren’t calculable variables rather than categorical imperatives. Yet Damore argues against these restrictions, relying upon a moral – not biological – imperative of equality.

Aubrey C. Daniels, author of Oops! 13 Management Practices That Waste Time and Money (and what to do instead), says a fundamental flaw of organizations “from a behavioral perspective is that they were designed by people–those with financial expertise–who have only one purpose in mind, to make money. He says that “how employees are paid, appraised, rewarded, and recognized have financial implications,” but when designed without an understanding of human behavior, the results can be destructive.  For example, there is a mountain of research to show that employees are not primarily motivated by financial rewards over the long term, yet we continue to use that as a management motivational strategy.”

Damore further suggests a conspicuous absence of ”open and honest discussion[s] about the costs and benefits of [Google’s] diversity programs.” I’m pretty sure conversations reducing diversity down to a CBA are responsible for the lack of diversity programming in tech for several decades; the returns aren’t exactly quantifiable and it’s easy to label them as sunk investments if you’re not looking for particular outcomes. I also don’t know if it’s possible for employees or management to reach the same conclusions when it comes to the effects of diversity programming, as those with privilege seem to be very wedded to resources they feel are misused in the service of a group to which they do not belong – as Damore implies over the “extensive” programming designed for women while men are labeled as “misogynists” and “whiners.” If honesty and openness mean the propagation of sloppy stereotypes unworthy of nuanced analysis, they may not be the best criteria for a serious conversation around diversity.

6. Its recommendations are vague or terrible

Positive effects  of diversity requirements are qualitative and unlikely to present themselves in the short-term, especially when organizational change is handled poorly or without regard to workplace culture. Psychology Today explores this using a range of articles and data published by McKinsey, the Academy of Management Journal, and the Journal of Organizational Behavior in a holistic discussion on organizational change, positing that “organizations have systematically failed because they have neglected the reality that change doesn’t happen without individual people changing their thinking, beliefs and behavior.”

Damore’s recommendations vary from specific tools to nebulous paradigmatic shifts that people have been trying to bring about for decades. He is arguing that an explicit cultural shift is trying to fix something that isn’t broken, while suggesting a massive cultural change as a possible solution to address diversity concerns. This contradiction is inherent throughout his suggestions that policy and programming changes should cater to his illustration of biological realities, rather than to social contracts.

An “antipattern” is a “common response to a recurring problem that is usually ineffective and risks being highly counterproductive.” Damore states that classes and programming restricted to certain races and genders are unfair and divisive and that his outlined non-discriminatory practices are better alternatives. People are responding to his suggestion to end program restrictions positively, with a “why don’t we try it?” attitude, justifying that it would be truly treating everyone as equal and freeing up resources to support all employees. At face value, this will seem like a good thing –  especially if you’re a white man and may not see the results or effectiveness of programming for women and minorities. This might also be an attractive solution if you believe that 2017 is the post-racial gender equitable democratic paradise described by Justice Roberts.  These practices have been tried, implemented, and apparently produced middling to negative results.

Nothing Damore has outlined replaces programming designed to improve the performance, capabilities, and comfort level of employees who are statistically likely to experience more obstacles and trauma relating to work than their white male colleagues.

In 1997, the ONR Building a Diverse Work Force: Scientists and Engineers in the Office of Naval Research published an index of successful diversity initiatives in several scitech companies and government offices. Since then, two decades of studies, articles, and evidence have offered suggestions, recommendations, and improvements in the wake of many failures of demographic-specific and diversity programming. Nothing worthwhile has included getting rid of it, unless you count employees complaining on social media as concrete insight into operations management.

Damore could have done a number of things that differ from the usual recommendation of abolishing equity measures for a heterogeneous workforce. He could have offered a proper critique of the programming he was subjected to, or even taken an extreme stance and argued for the purposeful homogenization of Google’s workforce in those exact words.  

Damore’s only concrete suggestions are about eliminating a mandatory training and adding political ideology to some internal thing called Googlegeist that appears to score employees. I don’t know what that’s about and it sounds like trouble overall, but hey, this sounds like a legitimate suggestion worth discussing and will presumably fail. There are reasons people don’t get asked their political affiliations at normal workplaces and if Google wants to learn that lesson, they should go for it.

7. It tries to excuse itself

Much of what he’s saying supports the vicious notion that women somehow monopolize attention and resources at the expense of men. Resources spent compensating for crimes against women are probably high in dollars, but likely dwarfed by the resources employed in protecting and reinforcing oppressive systems of control that permit and sometimes promote our mistreatment and abuse.

Regardless of shallow qualifiers in his memo, projecting biological challenges onto women and minorities who have yet to experience the workplace without significant social and psychological challenges and show the world what they can do is simply a lazy abdication of responsibility to stop being a part of the problem.

8. It doesn’t explain why its conclusions matter

Damore’s bias against programming and diversity requirements are labeled “arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women.” But he does not prove with any confidence why, even if his explanation is the primary cause of the gender gap in tech, why it actually matters. What proof does he provide that a higher drive for status, characteristic of men, is necessary to be a successful Google employee? Why would allowing men to be more “feminine” cause men to leave Google to pursue more “feminine” occupations? What are these jumps, and what do they have to do with being a good Googler?

9. It’s not new

Nothing Damore is saying hasn’t already been proposed, studied, and offered as a legitimate explanation for the inferiority of nonwhites and women in the jobs that happen to suit the predispositions of men like him. He may possibly be attempting a novel approach, suggesting we stop looking at those jobs as “superior” and the tendency to cooperate or work in people-centric fields as “inferior,” but considering he does not actually address the difference in pay, social status, perceived value add, and cultural traditions between the vocations he claims are incidentally suited to men and women, I cannot extrapolate that argument from his piece.

Understanding the backlash

Damore says that “[i]n highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.” I believe him on this one because he isn’t presenting evidence, but his own lived experience – which I can accept without contest. I’m assuming this feeling is partially due to Google’s reputation as a freewheeling anything-progressive-goes environment, and their efforts to come down hard on making the workplace safer and fairer will probably be biased and require some workshopping. So I hope Damore kept a list of times he felt stifled or shamed and presents them to Google, even after the fact, as evidence for his case; whether or not it will have merit will be up to them to determine because they are a private company and maybe their solution should just be to stop pretending that they are interested in a diversity of viewpoints, especially when those viewpoints question the competency of whole demographics of their employees.

The progressive response to his general sentiment has been immensely dismissive since last year’s election. For women and minorities, this is possibly due to the experiences of being subjected to repression for the entirety of our history of participation in the workforce, whether voluntary during WWII or involuntary due to being shipped here as human startup capital. In this dismissal, I see danger; white conservatives and liberals alike have shown a propensity to make extreme leaps if not given their due share of attention. Whatever sympathy I may have had for Damore after he was fired for voicing his opinions in his version of a reasonable and civilized way was mitigated when he decided to grant his first interview to alt-right YouTube star Stephen Molyneux. Getting media coverage for his movement – because he clearly considers himself a voice of reason in a world gone bonkers – is critical, but instead of writing a better version of what he has to say to possibly gain air time somewhere remotely reputable, he chose Molyneux and Jordan B. Peterson. Even if he had been dismissed as a hack and phony by major networks (he’s already been on Bloomberg and written a response to everything on the Wall Street Journal) someone truly against sexism would hopefully avoid the channels championing the Alt-Right, men’s rights activists, and anti-feminists. He would also ideally distance himself from the many groups coming out in support of his sentiments… because any positive association with Gamergate is a sexist one.

There is also danger if only because of Damore’s own words that “[a]lienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require[d] for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.”

I don’t propose anyone bend over backwards to explain to this man or any other person that women and minorities have had their preferences and capabilities decided for us by scientists, social commentators, and lots of studies that contradict one another, for centuries. Nor do I suggest taking on a fraction of the emotional labor that was required to take the memo’s content seriously enough to write this hopefully thoughtful response. I also can’t think of an effective way to explain to many conservatives that they are associated with the vilest and divisive rhetoric entering into the public sphere in several decades, and that to do anything from playing devil’s advocate to arguing in a clinical manner about real human people will elicit a strong reaction from their peers, who are only now growing comfortable enough to dismiss them out of hand. Instead, I will take the juvenile route required by the nature of the memo’s argumentation and caution my peers against adopting the mentality of rights and comfort using a simpleton’s metaphor of “pie.” As the popular slogan goes, “equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you. It’s not pie.”

I would contest that and say it is actually more like pie than we think, in that white males have been able to enjoy eating as much pie as they want and are now being told they have to go on a pie diet for the rest of their lives in the interest of socioeconomic equality. That is not going to go over well, because it doesn’t feel very equal to see someone else getting two slices of pie for awhile to make up for never having any before, with no promises as to how long that will be. James Damore belongs to a group of people that believes we should get pie in proportion to how much pie our bodies are predisposed to digest, rather than all sharing a pie equally with the freedom to each discard our piece if one of us suffers from diabetes, is gluten-free, or wants to share it with someone who doesn’t have any.  

Should Damore have been fired?

Google has made an explicit statement about what is and is not permissible by firing Damore.  If an employee of mine had received international notoriety through the internet virality of an internal memo, especially one containing sensitive information of any kind or opinions that do not represent the company at large, I would be on tenterhooks. If that memo also contained content that questioned the competency of my other employees or my own to make reasonable decisions, despite a supposed genetic propensity toward heavily-laden and often misunderstood issues such as “neuroticism,” I would be in a cleverly constructed trap. I think it’s safe to say that my employees would probably be in a tizzy, both online in conversations I cannot see, and in person, muttering and talking about this, especially given that the CEO’s town hall was canceled because of online harassment. I would think that people are constantly fired for things without international implications, and keeping an employee onboard just because his words have catalyzed a national argument invoking the Constitution would mean that anybody can start violating internal discretion and becoming famous to avoid getting their work done.

Perhaps a moral and empathetic argument would suggest that he should have kept his job because he felt safe enough to voice opinions he knew to be unpopular and that perhaps Google should have done a better job discouraging actions such as his. Google should consider that they’re more or less regarded as a public service and people believe that circulating an internal memo that doesn’t explicitly say “women aren’t cut out for this” is somehow protected by their right to freedom of speech. Google should just come out and say they don’t want to have fully “open” discussions on diversity because that’s the strategic value their leadership has chosen to pursue.

I would probably spare a second or two to try and think of employees at other companies who have either insulted their employer on social media or become famous for a viral internal memo that wasn’t cutesy and feel-good PR that haven’t been fired (then again, Google’s employees are famous for enjoying a seemingly uncommon degree of latitude…). Then I would fire him faster than Google Fiber, tell my team that HR would probably be in touch soon to ask if any of this stuff had affected them, to discuss this while refueling in some Google pod in their down time, and to get back to work.

A personal perspective

I don’t work at Google and I have no idea what the environment is like there, nor do I (as a general rule of thumb) believe in secretive diversity meetings. For all I know, Google could be putting all their white employees in a room and making them watch 12 Years a Slave and shouting “SEE WHAT WE DID?” Somehow, I doubt that or an equally hyperbolic situation is the case. For the record, here is a description of Google’s diversity trainings.

What would I be contributing with a long refutation of James Damore’s memo, when as a minority woman who has worked in tech, I may just be defending myself and my decisions to force myself to be an exception to my own preferences of how I want to live and work?  Further, do I really want to meet his argument head on and validate so many of the junk ideas informing it just to show the people who believe them that there is one minority woman who is willing to meet their idea of reasonable behavior in light of his “well-intentioned” effort to address a very real problem? Even if I find the basis of his argument to be utterly dehumanizing? Is it pointless to show someone the respect of engaging them as an equal when the content of their argument posits that we are not? Even if he takes the time to add friendly caveats to every paragraph that may absolve him from sounding as racist, sexist, and determinist as his arguments actually are? Would it be ideal if male engineers ran the show with the few physically unattractive females who “don’t like drama,” I headed to HR, and you guys keep doing what you’ve been doing because it’s a waste of time to find out if I could contribute something unique if I am just let in through the door without being leered at or assumed stupid?  

I recognize that my perspective is colored by my experiences as someone who has encountered enough sexual harassment and mistreatment in a work environment that it drove me to quit, something I‘m still uncomfortable admitting. I cannot help but feel like it was my fault for not being strong enough to brush off the flagrant abuse of my time and person, and that somehow, by not defeating those obstacles through patience, I proved that I was not worthy to be working in such an environment. This, despite always fulfilling the requests of working unpaid overtime on weekends, responding to 2 AM messages, taking the insults, ignoring comments about my body, and performing the enormous range of tasks of a secretary that I did not sign a contract for, on top of managing my actual portfolio of operations and being paid less than half of the next employee up.

Is my predisposition to remove myself from a toxic environment a biological fight-or-flight response? Was I deciding that I was in danger of going crazy or breaking as a person, and therefore, my mind and body united in the decision to quit? If so, then maybe biological decisions are responsible for why there is a gender gap – because women and minorities’ bodies rebel against the incursions of our co-workers and superiors and tell us to avoid danger. I am drawing that conclusion with the same evidence that James Damore drew his – a combination of my personal experience and opinions with a healthy dose of the workplace realities.

Google prides itself on being a community of individuals, “Googlers,” who are all put through an arduous selection process and are supposed to represent some of the best and brightest the entire world has to offer – from a pretty explicit pool of college graduates, many with privileges that enabled them to gather the credentials signaling their baseline merit to join this elite space. Are you telling me that even this incredibly filtered selection of the best of our best is proof of biological determinism, rather than the possibility that Google is not exempt from the same discriminatory trends that have historically defined workplaces throughout our country since the industrial era and has been classified as a legitimate issue at every single major tech company?

Damore says that “[v]iewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.” Well, gender and race relate very strongly to how people view the world and identify their politics. Is it possible that Google’s push for diversity and inclusivity may not be solely motivated by fear of a liberal backlash and the wrath of snowflakes, but because Google has been a bastion of innovation for the last twenty years and might be interested in seeing what happens when they actually create a safe place of work for different people to thrive? If you believe women and minorities are ill-suited to your work, you are missing an opportunity to see how women and minorities may approach the same work in a different way for mutual benefit and entirely unexpected outcomes that are not guaranteed to doom Google to failure.

De-emphasizing empathy would mean not being taken seriously by anyone other than white male engineers. I can dedicate a future piece ten page screed to empathy if anyone is interested, but I can confidently say that disengaging from emotions is not the opposite of practicing empathy. Instead of rejecting it altogether, most experts would suggest finding a balance. Here is HBR’s Emotional Intelligence Series on Empathy for a cursory review on a topic with a mountain of research worth reviewing.

This is a fight for white men

It’s absurd to say that “discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.” I welcome anyone else’s explanation of why exactly it is absurd, because that parallel is beyond me, especially if Damore believes in decreasing the stress levels of the tech world – a goal I thoroughly support.

I suggest white males who do not agree with James Damore (for reasons that I view as universal and Damore views as opposing arguments in a vacuum where real people can be simplified to the lowest common denominator) contest his memo. Please speak up against his statistical manipulations and faulty conclusions in your own circles so that women and minorities aren’t fighting a battle premised upon our loss in the war for capabilities against someone who, by his own definition, cannot take what we’re saying seriously due to our mutual biases. Take this opportunity to be allies in a genuine ideological conflict with national implications and stand up for the right of anyone, regardless of of race or gender, to have the opportunity to miserably perform the “the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company” free from historical expectations of their capabilities of engaging as cogs in a capitalist enterprise so we can just call it a day.

Purpose

The purpose of this not-short but not-as-thorough-as-possible reflection on the memo is to remind everyone that Damore’s firing will only strengthen the convictions of those who believe he has a point and is being silenced in the process of collectively denying a empirical reality. It will only heighten their concern. Of course, employing biologically deterministic arguments to justify long-term social inequality is something incumbents of the patriarchy have done for actual centuries – and as such, the very questions asked to produce the data they rely upon are completely lacking in the objectivity so valued by the ethically flexible and intellectually short-sighted.

I hope this provides some useful points for women, minorities, and allies who will be having these conversations much more frequently, as long as they aren’t being had behind our backs. Women have not yet celebrated our 100th anniversary of the right to vote and we are still some decades from a serious anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement considering it’s still going on. To communicate the criminal penetrations of our minds and bodies that take place in a thousand ways every day has been the task at hand for too long; it feels as unfair as I imagine it must feel when you believe yourself to be a voice of reason in a world spiraling out of control. Hopefully, our efforts to be taken seriously will bring about innovations that no one has ever seen before. Ideally, that will subsequently redefine the very foundation of behavioral management and expand the minds of people who have been taught to trust and think within anachronistic boundaries defined by their predecessors.

I hope men such as Damore will join us in pushing the boundaries of what it means to do good work and do it well, and we can move in the direction of something truly unprecedented instead of restricting ourselves to the biases of the past.