In case you needed any more proof that when the media says “diversity”, they mostly just mean less white people, Apple’s diversity chief has come under fire recently from the Social Justice crowd for daring to suggest that white people can be diverse too. Apparently, the idea that diversity of thought is a useful thing to fight for is just too toxic an idea for them to handle.
At the One Young World Summit in Bogota, Colombia, last week, Apple’s Vice president of Inclusion and Diversity, Denise Young Smith, joined Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson and KPMG International’s Global Head of Corporate Citizenship Lord Michael Hastings on stage in a panel discussion covering racial injustice.
All went well until Smith went off script and dared to suggest that white people could play a part in diversity too. The yoke that broke the camel’s neck was when when she suggested that a room full of white people could technically be “diverse”, because each member of the room have their own different experiences and perspectives:
Smith provided key insight into the subject from the standpoint of a technology industry insider. Apple, Google and other major Silicon Valley firms have in recent months come under fire from investors and activists alike for an acute lack of diversity, especially in upper management and leadership positions.
“Diversity is the human experience,” Smith said. “I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT.”
That particular comment went over well with the assembled crowd, but Smith caught flak for a follow up.
“There can be 12 white blue-eyed blonde men in a room and they are going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation,” Smith said.
So basically, she made sense and spoke the truth.
Let’s see how the tolerant Social Justice crowd reacted to her statement. I’m sure they’ll be tolerant of her views and respect them:
Media outlets pounced on the statement, while diversity advocates decried Smith’s words as contradictory to the fight for workplace equality. As noted by TechCrunch, which procured a copy of Smith’s letter, the statement appeared to suggest diversity of thought is a suitable stand in for proactive hiring practices adopted by a variety of tech firms, including Apple, to foster racial and gender diversity.
“I regret the choice of words I used to make this point. I understand why some people took offense,” she said in a letter to employees. “My comments were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it. For that, I’m sorry.”
Here’s the full apology she was forced to issue out:
I have always been proud to work for Apple in large part because of our steadfast commitment to creating an inclusive culture. We are also committed to having the most diverse workforce and our work in this area has never been more important. In fact, I have dedicated my twenty years at Apple to fostering and promoting opportunity and access for women, people of color and the underserved and unheard.
Last week, while attending a summit in Bogota, I made some comments as part of a conversation on the many factors that contribute to diversity and inclusion.
I regret the choice of words I used to make this point. I understand why some people took offense. My comments were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it. For that, I’m sorry.
More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.
Understanding that diversity includes women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and all underrepresented minorities is at the heart of our work to create an environment that is inclusive of everyone.
Our commitment at Apple to increasing racial and gender diversity is as strong as it’s ever been. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, but there is much work to be done. I’m continually reminded of the importance of talking about these issues and learning from each other.
Apologizing for speaking the truth.
Welcome to 1984.