News » Technology » Sexist memo of Googler: First test for Google Diversity VP Danielle Brown

Sexist memo of Googler: First test for Google Diversity VP Danielle Brown

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“Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate,” says Brown 

The trouble that Google faces now from a 3000 word internal memo sent by one of its employees, putting the Silicon Valley giant on the spot for its left leaning culture and its push for diversity, is an early test for Danielle Brown – the newly appointed Vice President of Diversity.

The letter written by the Googler, which consists of hidden sexist pitches, seems like a direct attack on the female VP of diversity, who took the position offered by Google after a similar stint in Intel.

Danielle Brown was named the Google’s VP of diversity, integrity, and governance a few months ago but she landed in the California office of the search engine giant only a month ago and now she is dealing with a sexist employee who has his guns pointed at her.

Brown, who is yet to get a complete understanding of the functioning of Google, did not remain mum on what has happened around her in the last few weeks. She has decried the viewpoints mentioned in the memo by the Googler saying that it doesn’t represent the company’s ideology and stating that it is against what Google stands for.

“It’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages,” she wrote in a memo sent last week.

The memo written by the Googler has been doing rounds within the search engine giant for that last few weeks before it went viral on social media. The memo is receiving mixed reaction as some support the views of the Googler while others call him a sexist, who exist in Google because of its diverse culture, inclusiveness, and respect to First Amendment.

Danielle Brown (Courtesy of Twitter)

A simple skimming of the 3000-word memo sent by the Googler makes it evident that he is trying to create an impression that women are bad techies and putting them below men when it comes to the capacity to deliver results. The content of the letter makes one feel like the Googler is threatened “psychologically” by the new policies that give impetus to diversity.

“Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety,” the Googler whose named has been intentionally withheld writes in the memo.

“I’m not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions,” he writes in the letter.

Full text of the memo sent out by Brown a few days back:

Affirming our commitment to diversity and inclusion—and healthy debate

Googlers,

I’m Danielle, Google’s brand new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance. I started just a couple of weeks ago, and I had hoped to take another week or so to get the lay of the land before introducing myself to you all. But given the heated debate we’ve seen over the past few days, I feel compelled to say a few words.

Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.

Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul. As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said.

Google has taken a strong stand on this issue, by releasing its demographic data and creating a company wide OKR on diversity and inclusion. Strong stands elicit strong reactions. Changing a culture is hard, and it’s often uncomfortable. But I firmly believe Google is doing the right thing, and that’s why I took this job.

Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and I can tell you that I’ve never worked at a company that has so many platforms for employees to express themselves — TGIF, Memegen, internal G+, thousands of discussion groups. I know this conversation doesn’t end with my email today. I look forward to continuing to hear your thoughts as I settle in and meet with Googlers across the company.

Thanks,

Danielle

 

G+ post by Google VP Ari Balogh as mentioned by Brown in her memo:

I’d like to respond to the “pc-considered-harmful” post. Questioning our assumptions and sharing different perspectives is an important part of our culture, and we want to continue fostering an environment where it’s safe to engage in challenging conversations in a thoughtful way. But, in the process of doing that, we cannot allow stereotyping and harmful assumptions to play any part. One of the aspects of the post that troubled me deeply was the bias inherent in suggesting that most women, or men, feel or act a certain way. That is stereotyping, and it is harmful.

Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said.

Read the full text of the email sent by Googler to his colleagues

 

 


1 thought on “Sexist memo of Googler: First test for Google Diversity VP Danielle Brown”

  1. Danielle Brown, in her first foray out into the public awareness, has proved just how incompetent she actually is. She is an embarrassment to Google and needs to be fired and replaced.

    She wrote this: “Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.” She wrote that in response to a well written and well thought out critique of the underlying reasons why Google’s Code of Conduct, policies and the anti-discrimination laws are wrong and need changing.

    However, Ms. Brown pointedly states that no such critique can be allowed or discussed. While in the same paragraph stating that different political opinions must be heard.

    She obviously has no grasp of what she just said, as the two sentences immediately conflict with each other in the context of the 10-page critique.

    A VP is held to a much higher standard than Ms. Brown has shown. She has proved she is not functioning at a VP level and really needs to be fired for incompetence as soon as possible.

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