August 15, 2017
So the reason had to be the quiz format itself. Feminists could accept the “different abilities” argument in this case because it was being used by a SJW to accuse a major network of sexism and racism. “You’ve stacked the deck against us, ABC! Change the quiz and Millionaire will have total racial and gender parity.” In the case of Damore’s memo, since feminists can’t attack coding the way they attacked the Millionaire phone quiz (well, I mean, they can, but they’d look especially stupid if they claimed that the process of coding itself is sexist), they’re forced to conclude that “we’d be great coders if only men would stop shutting us out.”
I put a rather simple question to Mr. Schaeffer (who continues to be the Times’ favorite expert on matters of race and gender in relation to standardized tests):
Your op-ed appears to suggest that men and women do indeed have certain innate differences that can affect their performance at certain tasks (and, indeed, might affect the jobs they look for and the jobs they’re best-suited to). Am I interpreting your views correctly?
Schaeffer began his reply by stating that his organization’s “assertions are based on evidence not ideology or ‘faith.’” Okay, fair enough. He added, “Note also: though some critics may enjoy labeling The New York Times ‘fake news,’ that paper’s editors actually require op ed authors to provide citations for their claims, unlike many other publications.” Again, okay, but what about my question? Finally, he got to the meat of the matter:
The real questions, in terms of the issues raised by the former Google employee’s posting, are 1) whether the assessment(s) of the skills or traits in question are fair and accurate and 2) whether the resulting measure(s) are relevant to the tasks in question…. For example, females score lower, on average, on the SAT standardized exam, which is designed solely to predict first-year undergraduate academic performance. Yet young women earn higher grades in college than their male counterparts, even when matched for identical courses (including math).
Schaeffer’s point about the SAT echoes what he told The Washington Post twenty years ago regarding why women on average score lower on certain sections of the test: “The data suggests something in the nature of a fast-paced multiple choice test taps something that boys have more of.”
Schaeffer concludes that Damore’s claims “are, at best, unsupported.” Really? Schaeffer continues to assert that women, by nature, perform poorly in situations in which “fast paced” and “high-pressure” decision-making skills are required. If high-profile coding jobs are considered fast-paced and stressful, isn’t Schaeffer essentially agreeing with Damore, at least in principle? Yet Schaeffer continues to receive cheers from the left and the mainstream media, while Damore got booed off the stage and pelted with tomatoes.
Ironically, one of the few people to jeer Schaeffer’s 2000 Times piece was Touro College law professor Dan Subotnik, a die-hard foe of affirmative action and leftist “diversity” schemes. Today, most conservative pundits are cheering for Damore, proving that it’s not only the left that can role-reverse when the context changes.
Feminists have no problem with the notion that men and women possess different innate skills and abilities, as long as the notion is sold to them in a way that appeals to their biases and furthers their goals. James Damore made the mistake of not pandering to his audience by delivering his act in safe language guaranteed to receive applause. That took guts; let’s hope this wasn’t his final show.