This is how I feel after reading James Damore’s memo, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”, and a bunch of opinions about it:
Who knew that sanity lied at the intersection of sexism and delusion?
Seriously though, I’ll go on the record and say this:
When disagreeing with someone, especially about something important, one might hope that they would be (1) open to debate, and to having their mind changed, (2) scientifically minded, open to reason. Even better would be to agree about the ideal outcome and to only disagree on how to get there.
It’s understandable that the memo garnered a lot of backlash. It sounds awfully similar to the everyday, offhanded comments you might hear from sexists.
And he went on for 10 fuckin’ pages about it?
But I’m fairly certain the assholes women encounter everyday aren’t opening up their comments for debate like the memo does:
“… open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document.”
“Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. […] I’d be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations.”
Nor do they care much for science, especially if it contradicts their gut (or whatever). The memo is clearly scientifically minded, even if you disagree with its use of references, the research it cites, or its interpretation of it.
Finally, the memo contains suggestions “to reduce the gender gap.” The author states, “I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more.” It seems he pretty much agrees with his detractors on what the ideal outcome is.
Now, some might say that the claims of being in favor of diversity or open to discussion don’t matter because the rest of the content is offensive to them. But they’re wrong.
Intent does matter. It’s the difference between involuntary manslaughter and premeditated murder (… I challenge you to find a less flattering comparison). Lumping in the close-minded sexists with those who have a reasoned view of diversity—and are asking for feedback—is a disservice to the cause.
In our day and age, when we can’t seem to convince each other that abortion ought to be legal, or that climate change is real… where many have closed themselves off from all factual evidence and criticism… we’d be lucky to have more people like James.