Employees Say Google Rolled Back Diversity And Inclusion Programs To Avoid Appearing Anti-Conservative
Politics may be getting in the way of diversity at Google. A new report revealed that over the last two years, Google has made major cuts to its diversity programs over fears of seeming anti-conservative, NBC News reported.
Google made the cuts so as not to get on the bad side of conservatives, according to current and former employees. Melonie Parker, Google’s chief diversity officer, has denied this to NBC News.
Eight current or former employees spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. They said that a well-liked, “comprehensive racial-justice” program Google had called Sojourn was totally axed in 2019.
“One of the major motivations for cutting Sojourn is that the company doesn’t want to be seen as anti-conservative,” one Google employee familiar with the company’s diversity programming said in an interview. “It does not want to invite lawsuits or claims by right-wing white employees about Google discriminating against them.”
Google did admit it had ended Sojourn, but insisted it was not in reaction to conservative criticism. Sojourn ran for three years, Google said, but it was too difficult to scale globally since it was focused on issues of racism in the U.S. and could not be applied to its international offices, NBC News reported.
The employees said that full-time diversity positions have not been retained in the company.
They also said that the team responsible for Google’s diversity programs has been reduced in size, and positions that were once held by full-time employees have been outsourced or not refilled after members of the diversity teams left the company, NBC News reported.
The news that the diversity programs had been cut outraged many on Twitter. “i love how this basically says that being pro diversity means being anti conservative. conservatives are an embarrassing bunch”, one person tweeted.
Another posted, “Google is worried about being seen as ‘not supportive enough’ of social & political leaders who keep children in cages, promote racism, sexism & ableism, and want to turn America into a theocracy, got it.”
Yet another went to Twitter to post, “@Google lacks the resources to implement diversity training? GOOGLE??”
However, Google’s chief diversity officer said diversity efforts have actually been “scaled up.” The company hired the outside firm Ibis Consulting to start a new program in June, Parker said.
Still, the proof of Google’s lack of diversity was evident in its annual company public diversity report, which showed very little progress toward hiring Black people and people of color.
“Any suggestion that we have scaled back or cut our diversity efforts is false. Diversity, equity, and inclusion remains a company-wide commitment and our programs have scaled up to match the pace of Google’s growth,” a Google spokesperson told Forbes.
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Technically, Google thinks it can say it has become more diverse.
That’s because in 2019, Asian men made up 32.4 percent of new U.S. employees at the company, edging ahead of white men, who comprised 30.1 percent, according to the 2020 Diversity Annual Report released May 5.
“For the first time since Google began releasing the demographic breakdown of its workforce in 2014, last year white men did not represent the largest group of new hires in the United States,” Business Journal reported.
The proportion of Black employees at Google has increased to 3.7 percent, up from 2.4 percent in 2014.