“I strongly believe in equal privileges for faculty and staff,” Professor Plum said as he entered the mail room. “However….”

He read the mail…. (More)

“Of course,” he continued, “that doesn’t include the hot tub faculty lounge.”

He then left with Ms. Scarlet to join the resident faculty in the wine cellar library, where they’ll spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”).

In the staff poker game, the Professor of Astrology Janitor strongly believed in his pair of Kings, enough to open with a pot-sized raise. However, he began to wonder after the Squirrel called and Chef replied with a pot-sized reraise. Had the Squirrel folded, Chef’s reraise might merely mean that she thought the Professor of Astrology Janitor was bluffing to steal the blinds. In that instance, she might easily reraise with a middling pair like Jacks, or Tens, or an Ace-King, or even a strong suited connector like Jack-Ten.

But the Squirrel had called, so he had something – a pair or suited connector – that he hoped to improve on the flop. In this instance, Chef wouldn’t reraise with merely a middling pair or a suited connector. She had at least a pair of Queens or higher, or Ace-King suited. Or she was making a very bold bluff.

It was the “or higher” that worried him. He was a big favorite against Queens but, if Chef had the other two Kings, they would most likely split the pot or lose to the Squirrel. He was only a slight favorite against Ace-King, and a huge underdog if Chef had a pair of Aces. Still, he couldn’t just fold Kings, could he?

“I’m all-in,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said.

The Squirrel pushed his cards into the muck and tapped at his Blewberry: “Oh well.”

“I think I’m beat,” Chef said, “but I have to call.”

She had the other two Kings. The Professor of Astrology Janitor shrugged. “I guess we’ll split the Squirrel’s call.”

“Unless one of us flushes,” Chef said as she dealt out the flop.

It was a rainbow – one card each of three different suits – eliminating any possible flush. As the Professor of Astrology Janitor divided the chips, the Squirrel texted again: “I had a pair of red Sixes to go with that Six of Clubs. Sigh.”

“Sorry, little buddy,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said. He began his plaintive mewling and Chef went to the kitchen to make Diversity Eggs, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

I’m Danielle, Google’s brand new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance. I started just a couple of weeks ago, and I had hoped to take another week or so to get the lay of the land before introducing myself to you all. But given the heated debate we’ve seen over the past few days, I feel compelled to say a few words.

Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.

Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul. As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said.

Google has taken a strong stand on this issue, by releasing its demographic data and creating a company wide OKR on diversity and inclusion. Strong stands elicit strong reactions. Changing a culture is hard, and it’s often uncomfortable. But I firmly believe Google is doing the right thing, and that’s why I took this job.

Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and I can tell you that I’ve never worked at a company that has so many platforms for employees to express themselves—TGIF, Memegen, internal G+, thousands of discussion groups. I know this conversation doesn’t end with my email today. I look forward to continuing to hear your thoughts as I settle in and meet with Googlers across the company.

Danielle in CA

Dear Danielle,

We thank you for your lovely letter. We note that the long, internal memo to which you responded includes the words: “I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However….”

Indeed we note that memo is filled with phrases that boil down to “I’m not sexist, but” … “I’m not racist, but” … “I don’t endorse using stereotypes, but”….

We’ve found that sentences which begin that way inevitably end with exactly what the writer professes to deny. And sure enough, the writer of that memo proceeds to use blatant stereotypes and half-baked logic to mansplain why women are underrepresented in tech jobs (and, implicitly, to whitesplain why people of color are similarly underrepresented). Of course his whitemansplaining includes the inevitable whine about Google’s “extreme and authoritarian” culture:

When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

We ran that through the Official BPI Whitemansplaining translator and got: “People disagree with me and some of them shun me if I say racist and sexist stuff. That’s authoritarian!” In short, he seems to believe “an honest discussion” consists of him spewing bigoted myths as if they were facts … and everyone else either agreeing or keeping silent.

So, again, we thank you for your letter and we applaud the many Google employees who voiced objections to his screed, some to the point of dropping him from their social networks. We agree that “Changing a culture is hard, and it’s often uncomfortable.” Your letter – and other Google employees’ fiery (or stony) responses to his bigotry – are how that change happens.

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

The word “woodshed” keeps swirling around my mind. I know I didn’t bury any nuts there because we don’t have a woodshed. Hmm. Anyway … what are Diversity Eggs and how does Chef make them?

Diversely Hungry in Blogistan

Dear Squirrel,

We think you’re hearing echoes of the phrase “taken to the woodshed,” a common euphemism for discipline. As for Diversity Eggs, Chef makes them by frying one white egg and one brown egg, and serving them with buttered toast, jam, and your choice of bacon or sausage. Bon

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

Umm, how do I tell the white egg from the brown…. Ohh.

Never Mind I Got It in Blogistan

Dear Squirrel,

Exactly. Bon appétit!

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Image Credits — Google Logo, Male & Symbols: WikiCommons; Faces: IconArchive; Composition: Crissie Brown (BPICampus.com)

Danielle in CA.

Taken to the woodshed

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Happy Sunday!