Friday, May 15, 2020

Searching For A Whitewash

So it turns out Google's depressing lack of diversity during the Trump years, especially among female employees and African-American employees in particular, isn't just a failed commitment from the internet giant to meet its own stated goals, it's now a 100% deliberate choice to reverse those goals as the company is now dismantling diversity programs completely to keep the Trump regime happy.

Google has significantly rolled back its diversity and inclusion initiatives in an apparent effort to avoid being perceived as anti-conservative, according to eight current and former employees.

Since 2018, internal diversity and inclusion training programs have been scaled back or cut entirely, four Google employees and two people who recently left the company told NBC News in interviews. In addition, they said, the team responsible for those programs has been reduced in size, and positions previously held by full-time employees have been outsourced or not refilled after members of the diversity teams left the company.

One well-liked diversity training program at Google called Sojourn, a comprehensive racial justice program created for employees to learn about implicit bias and how to navigate conversations about race and inequality, was cut entirely, according to seven former and current employees. Sojourn offered its last training to Google workers in 2018, four current employees said, and by 2019 it was cut completely.

Seven current and former employees from across a range of teams and roles at the company said separately that they all believed the reason behind cutting Sojourn and taking employees off diversity projects to move them elsewhere at Google was to shield the company from backlash from conservatives.

The current and former employees agreed to speak to NBC News on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal for speaking to the press.

“One of the major motivations for cutting Sojourn is that the company doesn’t want to be seen as anti-conservative,” one Google employee familiar with the company’s diversity programming said in an interview. “It does not want to invite lawsuits or claims by right-wing white employees about Google discriminating against them.”
Melonie Parker, Google’s chief diversity officer, disputed the allegation that Google has scaled back its diversity and inclusion efforts. “We’re really maturing our programs to make sure we’re building our capability,” she said.

Parker added that changes Google is making to its diversity and inclusion work is focused on the need to “provide a scalable solution across the globe.”

Google acknowledged it had ended Sojourn, but said it was not in reaction to conservative criticism. Sojourn ran for three years, Google said, and it was too difficult to scale globally, since it was focused on issues of racism in the United States and didn’t apply to the rest of the world where Google has offices. Google and the majority of its workforce are based in the U.S.

It's apparently not only too hard to teach American employees to not be racist assholes, it's too hard to keep them from doing it around the globe.  Awesome.

It's inconceivable that this isn't a direct capitulation to former Google engineer James Damore, who went on a public tirade about why Google shouldn't bother with "weak" diversity candidates and was fired for it in 2017.  Turns out, the Damores are the majority of the company, because all techbro companies filled with white asshole racist techbros are going to eventually decide to embrace their inner reich.

The right-wing news website Breitbart began covering the internal tensions about Google’s efforts to become more diverse, publishing a July 2018 article on a speaker event hosted by Google on the topic of how white people can better navigate conversations about racism and privilege in the workplace. Breitbart accused Google of breaking its internal policy against using blanket statements about categories of people, such as about employees in certain racial groups.

“There was a meme going around that said white fragility shuts down discussions of white fragility,” a person involved with the event said in an interview, referring to a meme that circulated on an internal employee message board. The event wasn’t ultimately shut down, but additional security was provided.

“A hundred black employees could testify to the pain they feel in a climate that’s inadvertently hostile towards them and management will go back and say, ‘I need to get more data,’ and then three angry white men complain and everything comes to a halt,” the person close to the planning of the event said.

After the Breitbart article that summer, a raft of changes aimed at reducing the diversity and inclusion work ramped up across the entire company, according to three current and former employees. Even talking about the issue of diversity at work became strained, four sources said.

“In 2018, after all the Damore stuff, the higher-ups stopped saying the word diversity and were instead saying D&I, as in D ampersand I,” one current employee active in diversity advocacy at Google said. D&I is an acronym for diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Google has a hundred black employees?  Who are engineers?

I don't believe that for a second.

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