Every now and then I read an article from the atlantic. This time it’s another priggish hissy fit about Tech’s diversity problem. The giblet-man author begins:
“An anonymous Google software engineer’s 10-page fulmination against workplace diversity was leaked from internal company communications systems, including an internal version of Google+, the company’s social network, and another service that Gizmodo, which published the full memo, called an ‘internal meme network.'”
A 10 page fulmination, says the delicate journalist. If it’s anti-diversity then it’s violent. It’s not possible to be critical of diversity initiatives without being violent, explosive, unhinged and fascistic. No one may express disapproval or skepticism of relentless campaigns to push women into tech fields. It’s settled, it’s inarguable. Either you believe there should be more women in tech or you’re an oppressor, toxic and rotten, a misogynist. You’re also a racist because there are even fewer minorities than women in tech fields and that’s your fault too, with your objective standards and adherence to reality.
The presstitute quotes the anti-diversity “screed”: “’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.’”
How disgusting. Reprehensible. Utterly vile, shocking, archaic, medieval. After all the progress we’ve made as a society, how could anyone entertain the barbaric possibility that men and women are different, and that some of those differences might express themselves in unequal outcomes in certain professions and positions?
We already know by media fiat that men and women have exactly the same interests and aptitudes. Wherever they are found diverging, it’s because of conditioning, harmful social attitudes, patriarchal oppression, toxic culture, rape and intimidation.
The anti-diversity writer makes a qualified statement, he tentatively proposes a merely possible explanation for the lack of women in tech, and his speculation is taken as evidence itself for why women are underrepresented. The possibility that women have less interest in programming because of their biology may be correct or not, but the point is that it’s not up for debate. If there’s not a perfectly balanced distribution of jobs, prestige and wealth among all the races and genders then the cause is always discrimination.
And this discrimination is to be combated with shaming, condemnation and always more funding. More money and more voices to convince women that they can program just as well as men, and that they should want to program even if their biological instincts are nudging them in other directions. Here’s more limp-wristed hand wringing from our precious diversity pusher:
“The memo has drawn rage and dismay since its appearance Saturday, when it was first reported by Motherboard. It seemed to dash hopes that much progress has been made in unraveling the systemic conditions that produce and perpetuate inequity in the technology industry. That includes increasing the distribution of women and minorities in technical jobs, equalizing pay, breaking the glass ceiling, and improving the quality of life in workplaces that sometimes resemble frat houses more than businesses.
These reactions to the screed are sound, but they risk missing a larger problem: The kind of computing systems that get made and used by people outside the industry, and with serious consequences, are a direct byproduct of the gross machismo of computing writ large. More women and minorities are needed in computing because the world would be better for their contributions—and because it might be much worse without them.”
Well, there you have it. No argument, no reasoning and no data. Systemic conditions are the cause of inequity in the tech industry. I haven’t yet seen one of these pious nitwits begin to define such a nebulous pseudo-concept as a systemic condition. From what I can tell it means nothing more than “white men are at fault.”
Also, am I dumb or did this dickless twiddler say “direct byproduct”? What in the fuck is a direct byproduct? Is that like a necessary accident? Looks like another example of a journalist employing sloppy language that no one noticed because he hit all the correct points about shaming the guys club in the tech industry. I can imagine the checked out editor, skimming with glazed eyes, overlooking the confused language and hackneyed phrasing because it suits his reality defying agenda.
Who cares about the quality of the writing. This is about social justice. We’ll let a hack writer dismember the english language just as we’ll mangle the workplace to satisfy our fevered need for equality. And how does gross machismo have anything to do with a computing system? What is the connection? Again, no argument, just assertion. How could you look at a computing system and say, “yep, gross machismo produced this one.” It makes no sense. Apparently this journalist also has the programming expertise to detect machismo in a system.
Not that this is my favorite angle, but how is that not a sexist and insulting statement? If mostly men made it then it’s a product of gross machismo, an egalitarian and universalist argument if ever there was one. He also says that some workplaces resemble frat houses more than businesses. What evidence does he provide and what would even count as evidence for such a mincing, catty assertion? Did he go to a programming facility and find the programmers doing keg stands?
Finally, what evidence is there for the idea that the world will be better for the contributions of women and minorities? Yet another self-righteous declaration without argument. If women and minorities are just like white men, if they have the exact same capabilities and interests, then why does it even matter if they’re included? What would they do differently or improve in the industry if they’re the same apart from social pressure and conditioning? If they are in fact different then why should we automatically assume that they’ll improve the industry?
The article tediously continues in the same vein, alternating back and forth between social constructivist declarations and essentialist assumptions. If women aren’t performing exactly like men it’s because of systemic conditions. But at the same time we need the specific perspectives and skills of women because they’re…different from men somehow? The ambitious incoherence of the progressive program is suggestive of a mental illness, religion and totalitarianism. I don’t see any science or philosophy in these rote exercises of outrage and cretinous calls for more diversity.
Women might not want to be programmers because programming is grinding, inhuman labor. Even if you determined that women have the same programming potential as men they might still freely decide to pursue other professions. If you don’t like that outcome and you say that women must be forced into programming roles, then what would that make you? We want a society where people are free to do what they want, unless it contradicts our maniacal design of numerically equal representation in all fields.
At some point we should consider the possibility that people don’t seek certain jobs for personal, private reasons. Some jobs are not meant for some people. I’m not saying that I definitively know that women in general are incapable of programming. The subtle point I want our enlightened progressives to grasp is that lack of representation isn’t necessarily a sign of discrimination or an oppressive social structure. If someone is capable of doing a job but decides to do something else, it’s not always because he was deterred by a hostile workplace climate in need of radical reform.
Most people don’t want to do most jobs because work is an evil visited upon us by a vengeful god. You’d have to be looking through a rather twisted, paranoid frame to assume that someone doesn’t want to do something because someone else is holding them back. There are other possible explanations. It could be that the work itself is repellant and crushing. But until we see women suffering in the exact same manner as men, dying on the battlefield, toiling and typing ten hours a day, engaged in mind numbing, back breaking labor, blasting rock formations, laying concrete and sliding off ice fishing ships into the frigid arctic, then we still haven’t reached the promised land of true equality and diversity.