ALL Lives Matter

I do not wish to offend anybody, so if you are easily offended, stop reading now, this page is not for you.

I personally am not easily offended, but if somebody wanted to do it, hypocrisy -- telling me to stop doing something while practicing the same or similar activity -- would have the best shot at it. Or maybe it would only encourage me to expose the hypocrisy.

This is that exposition, Part 2.

With a few forgetable exceptions, the front half of WIRED  each month consists of a half-dozen or so 1- and 2- (or in the case of Virginia Heffernan, 3-)page opinion columns, usually split more or less down the middle between regulars spouting off what they know little or nothing about, and invited outsiders likewise. The back half consists of longer features, most often centered around some personality remotely connected to technology -- like the guy who used his cell phone (that's the tech part) from prison to harrass law-abiding citizens, or the two criminals who took advantage of the gullible Democrats in Federal office to bilk the government of millions of dollars allegedly being spent to reduce climate change (the tech angle? Global warming, which obviously was not impacted, or perhaps rose slightly, by what they did) -- these articles being done with the same journalistic skill and tech insight as the opinion pieces in front.

The silly opinion piece this month pillories "Silicon Valley's Diversity Theater" while looking as foolish as they think they are making Google and Facebook and others trying to scramble all over themselves to prove how politically correct they are while still raking in the profits.

The important insight not disclosed in this piece is that the USA is the most egalitarian, merit-based nation in the world, possibly behind Israel. The people who run the very large and profitable corporations in this country got that way by using the very best people to do the jobs that needed doing, in keeping with the Darwinian "red in tooth and claw" Religion established by the US "Constitution" -- that is, nine unelected judges who make law for any reason at all, or no for reason other than tribal loyalty to whatever their particular Religion is -- unrelated to the actual words in the document by that name. People from a cultural heritage of bottom-line profits rise to the top of the economy, and people with some other cultural agenda rise to the top of their particular Religious culture (but it's not corporate profits, so that top for them does not include corporate profits).

Now that absolute morality has been removed from the national culture (Stone v. Graham, 1980, but it started a couple decades earlier), two things happened: the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Deep in their hearts, pretty much all people still believe in moral absolutes, so they are easily tricked into fake guilt over the economic divide, and there are plenty of morally debased tricksters willing to do it to them (for personal gain, of course).

The cause du jour used to be the so-called "glass ceiling" allegedly preventing women from rising to positions of power, but the lie in that claim became undeniable: women who wanted top jobs in corporate America could have those jobs, they didn't even need to be as competent and motivated as the men they were competing against, because they were given preference. Maybe some of them were more qualified, but nobody really believes it any more. The fact remains, there aren't that many women who want the stress. The Dean at the College of Engineering at a state university I am familiar with was bemoaning that a couple years previously he had 50% female enrollment, but now it was back down to 25%. The elephant in the room is that the girls decided what they wanted to do and STEM wasn't it. They always did and still have that opportunity in the U.S. of A. So a few benighted people still whine about the numbers, but they are ignored.

The new cause du jour has the initials BLM, and there are plenty of suckers willing to accept fake guilt for faults that never happened. There are rules for success in corporate America, and if you want to play by those rules, you will succeed. If you prefer to whine about being a victim, well, you are playing by different rules. The racists (of all races) in America will listen to your racist screed, and the corporations know that kind of value system does not make a successful corporation, so they will continue to hire people who do fit their own model. Like the laudromat joke of the 60s, every one of those lily-white washing machines had a token "black agitator" which this particular opinionist called "Diversity Theater."

I have no (ahem) personal interest in Pinterest, but this author picked on them as a case in point, which indeed it was, in ways she had no clue.

...the manager said Banks should improve how "she assesses and presents issues internally," adding that she "framed the issue in a way that suggested there was only one reasonable option." ... Her job was to advocate for equity and consider the potential disparate impacts of policy changes [emphasis added].
ALL of them, I would add. Every high-level executive in any corporation that is going to survive beyond that employee's own personal tenure on that job, must consider every impact of any decision in every place where it has impact, positive and negative. And then bring that to the discussion so the executive committee can make an intelligent decision on the basis of the whole story. The racist employees telling them only half the story are not working for the corporation, they are working some other agenda, and any other color of skin or gender doing that would be fired on the spot, and rightly so. Employee Banks complained that Pinterest didn't want her to do the work they hired her to do, but that exactly was the problem: she wasn't doing the work they hired her to do.

Next paragraph, same whipping boy, different employee, same dereliction of duty:

Ozoma had worked with the civil right group Color of Change to persuade the company to stop accepting ads from the venues [at former slave plantations]... But instead of commending her work, Ozoma's manager took issue with it, writing in her performance review that she should have provided more context to her team, including "pros/cons," and as a result they lacked "all the information they might need to make an informed choice." Ozoma found it absurd to have to list the "pros" of plantation events.
And thus she proved herself incompetent to perform the job they hired her for. She was not hired as CEO, the decision maker, she was hired as support team, to provide all the information she could find to help them make an informed (read "profitable") decision. Her Religion (believing what everybody else knows ain't so) is irrelevant. If she is going to take their money, she must do the job they tasked her to do. She obviously was incompetent for the position they hired her for (and certainly for the position she thought she deserved), because Pinterest is a "public carrier" under the terms of Section 230 (the cover story in the following issue of WIRED), and if they were to start picking and choosing what content to carry, they would lose that designation and lay themselves open to all kinds of legal issues -- and lawsuits! (Which they would lose)

As far as I could see, Barack Obama talked about government issues, not race, and that is why the American people (many of them voting race, not government issues or competence) elected him President. Donald Trump made himself out to be racist, and that is why the American people (many of them voting race, not government issues or competence) refused to elect him President for a second term.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why there are so few people of a particular skin color in top management. Like the women, if they want it, they can have it, but they need to play by corporate rules and lay off the racism. The corporations who put that kind of person into upper management, like Donald Trump, will cease to hold their place in the world's power structure.

Full disclosure: My demographic is also disproportionately underrepresented in American corporate top management, but you don't see me browbeating and whining to try and force them to let me in. I know very well that my Religion is different from theirs, and I don't want to be in a position that requires me to compromise my [Biblical] values. I try to tell them that up-front, and guess what? They don't hire me. Or I get fired. I have no sympathy at all for Banks or Ozoma or Trump, they just wanted free money and power without playing on the team. At least I took the trouble to learn the rules of the game; they didn't.

And (see "Why Seaman?") I am smart enough to realize that if I want to take the educator's money and play on their team, I need to play by their rules. I can do that, and nobody gets hurt.

Tom Pittman
2021 May 31a