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Google and the memo on ‘biological’ differences


According to press reports, Google fired an employee who wrote an internal memo about alleged “biological” differences that would make women less suited for technological jobs. This much was predictable, as it should be.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said “portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

We will not delve on the scientific merits, if any, or what some at Google are apparently calling the “manifesto.” The issue far exceeds our qualifications, even though we strongly suspect the theories, other than abhorrent, also lack any merit. But we wonder: what if there really were biological differences?

There have been previous attempts at proving these alleged differences, notoriously The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, a 1994 book by psychologist Richard J. Hernstein and political scientist Charles Murray. Among other things, the authors wrote about alleged differences in intelligence between races. A reawakened interest in the book should be reason for concern.

Less illustrious as we are than these higher minds, we believe that those “biological” differences are as irrelevant as the color of the skin or the eyes, which are of course biological differences, too. We do not need to review the appalling historical record that reached genocidal climax in the 20th century, the product of ideologies based on an eerily similar discourse.

As for women, we need look no further than the police section of news everywhere for crimes committed against them, often by close relatives. A new term has been coined to describe the murderous violence women suffer at the hands of men: femicide. (Perhaps those theorists of “biological differences” should review their ideas about the significance of those traits that set genders apart: on the face of things, it seems that quite a few men still have a lot to learn from women). More to the point, the pay gap and the shortage of women at top positions points to a persistent problem.

All of this should suffice to expand diversity programs in the workplace. There is simply too much injustice to make up for as to give in to dangerous ideological gibberish.