OXON HILL, M.D. — Former Google senior software engineer James Damore suggested that employees at the major Silicon Valley tech company have a widespread animus toward the American South.
When asked whether he thinks there is a bias against Southerners at Google, Damore said, “Yeah, they generally think that all Southerners are stupid.” He remarked on the difficulty of keeping himself silent while hearing his fellow employees attack various conservative groups.
Damore recalled “always having to be quiet on any political topic, and having to endure misrepresentations of conservative thought and trashing of conservative politicians, and really belittling the American South.”
Google employees root this disdain for the American South in identity politics, Damore told PJ Media in an interview Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “They’ve reduced everything to identity politics, and you being poor but white is, you’re still privileged,” he said.
Damore argued that the stringent identity politics culture of Google and other Silicon Valley tech companies makes employees callous toward the struggles of poor people, unless they fit into strict racial or sexual categories. “They really have no empathy for a lot of the poor in America,” the software engineer explained, because many of those poor people are white.
Google “tries to be very inclusive, but only inclusive of certain types of people — traditionally marginalized groups, rather than, say, conservatives or men,” he explained. “In an effort to try to include other people, they will actively marginalize other groups.”
The former Google employee is currently suing the tech company for discrimination against conservatives, white people, and men. Google fired him last August after he released a memo attacking the company as an “ideological echo chamber,” and arguing that the gender gap in tech might be explained by something other than sexist animus against women.
Damore had filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), but dropped the complaint after the agency did not act quickly. “Normally, the NLRB lasts just a couple weeks … but this was taking months,” Damore told PJ Media.
Ironically, an NLRB lawyer weighed in on the case, accusing the former employee of “sexual harassment” in his memo. Damore’s lawyer — and an independent employment lawyer in the area — laughed at the idea, suggesting that the NLRB lawyer meant to say “gender discrimination.”
A Lincoln Network survey last month revealed that employees at tech companies in Silicon Valley — from Apple and Amazon to Facebook, Google, and Microsoft — overwhelmingly describe their workplaces as “liberal,” and censor their political ideas on the job.
In his interview with PJ Media, Damore also explained that many conservatives in tech companies are “in the closet” about their political beliefs. He even suggested that staff at Google are actively digging through a private conservative mailing list, searching for conduct violations to get these people fired.
This fits with the 89 percent of very conservative employees and 74 percent of conservative employees who told the Lincoln Network they were “hesitant” to “truly bring their whole selves to work.”
This bias is particularly concerning, as the 2010 census showed that 114.6 million people — roughly a third of the U.S. population — live in the American South. If Google, and perhaps these other Silicon Valley firms, truly is biased against the South, that raises huge questions about the Internet search giant’s activity on its many platforms — from the search site, to email, and even to YouTube.
It is utterly unacceptable for a company like Google — whose name literally defines an Internet search — to be biased against a third of the American population. If Damore is correct, the company seriously needs a culture change — ironically, to be more inclusive.