Yes, the title is a quote from the Bible. St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians chapter 4 verse 16 to be exact. This is one of many instances in the great story of creation where it is said, in one form or another, that if we proclaim the truth we will be persecuted. It is the very sad and confusing reality of the world today. Unfortunately, it is to be greatly expected.
When reading the memo to Google by James Damore titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber, where he called out the current PC culture, saying the gender gap in Google’s diversity was not due to discrimination, but inherent differences in what men and women find interesting, this concept of the truth being persecuted was all I could think of.
When I had first heard bits of pieces of stories on social media or in the classroom about him trying to say that men and women are scientifically different, my first impression was that I probably agreed with whatever he said because I also agree with that point. But I also didn’t jump on his side because I hadn’t looked into everything and didn’t know if he took it to some kind of extreme. When I heard he got fired, I immediately assumed it was some politically correct BS, but once again didn’t want to have an opinion on it until I got around to actually reading it.
Now that I’ve read it in its fullness, I am appalled at the subsequent reaction to fire him and all of the people calling him evil, sexist, a bigot, and all the other insults you hear anytime you’re a conservative and have an unpopular opinion. This memo was radically moderate and careful in its language. It almost felt stifled by his use of “on average”! I was just thinking, “Okay we get it, it doesn’t apply to everyone.” In a world without such stifling political correctness, any reasonable person would, at best, agree that these things are real scientific tendencies, or, at worst, just say he’s an idiot and move on. That is how adults receive opinions they don’t agree with.
To have workers who are “hurting” because someone said something they think is an attack on them is how children respond to such things. When did, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” stop being a thing? Isn’t that what we learned when we were under 6 years old? Now I’m not saying that words can do a great deal of harm because that would just be ignorant of humans. But what I am saying is that when someone makes a well thought out argument, following a logical order, it in no way can be taken as a personal attack on anything. Damore was talking about things he believed to be scientific. That means he is trying to present an argument that is meant to be free from most opinion or bias. Furthermore, the gender distinctions he is making are not an “unfounded bias“. If anything, it is founded bias. That is why he is arguing it from a scientific point of view.
When did, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” stop being a thing? Isn’t that what we learned when we were under 6 years old?
All that being said, Codes of Conduct are a very good and healthy thing for companies to have. They are needed. They do help prevent real unfounded bias from infiltrating a workspace. What they cannot do, is stop people from expressing a legitimate argument about the way the company runs its operations or code of conduct. Yes, an employee should be fired for violating the code of conduct. If an employee discriminates against someone based on their gender, that is sexism and they should be removed from the company. The trouble lies in an understanding of terms. Sexism is treating a gender unfairly…Damore was only trying to treat the genders truthfully.