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Letter to My Female Engineering Friends

“I do not agree with anything you say, but I would defend to death your right to say it.”  - Voltaire, French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher , 1694-1778

By now you must have heard about the story of the Google engineer James Damore who was fired for Google for expressing his view. He was showing up on Youtube video wearing a T-shirt with the "Goolag" logo.

Mr. James Damrone's Full Memo 

So what happened to free speech?   Is free speech dead in Silicon Valley?   Dead in the United States of America?   

Even though I don’t agree with his view point, I would go out to my way to support his right to free speech.    His firing from Google reminds me of the time when I was living in Communist Vietnam, my parents, uncles, aunts were imprisoned and harassed daily by the Communist police just because they didn’t agree with their official Communist propaganda.    The reason I disagree with him is because when I started my engineering career at the IBM lab in Palo Alto, my mentor was a brilliant female senior engineer.   There were many more female software engineers working Silicon Valley in the early 1990s as a percentage of engineering workforce than it is now.   This was the age before the H-1B when the vast majority of H-1Bs were granted to male engineers who come from patriarchal societes which made the female engineers becoming an endangered species in the computer engineering profession in Silicon Valley and in the U.S.    In many ways, the corrupt H-1B that was sponsored by our Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren actually helps fostering the discriminating environment against women in the engineering professions in the U.S.   I find it quite puzzling why any woman would want to vote for our Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.   She was the one who threw them under the bus with her corrupted H-1B program that limits opportunity for American female engineers and scientists.    She has done 1000 times more damage to your engineering and scientific careers than Mr. Damore's memo.   I later went to work in France and there are many more female engineers and scientists (as a percentage) in France than in the U.S. because the educational system in France is more much supportive of female scientists and engineers than in the U.S.   Not only that, the working conditions and family-friendly social policies also help female scientists and engineers in France to have both have a fulfilling personal life and a professional career.   So I know that females are very capable of being excellent engineers and it's so refreshing to see it.

If I had daughters, I would advise them to stay away from becoming software engineers (coders).   It’s not because Mr Damore was right, but because if they were really smart and intelligent, they should have evaluated the prospect of the engineering career in the U.S. and in Silicon Valley in particular.   I personally know many software engineers working at startups who spent days and nights writing codes that they wonder if it would make the world any better, probably it makes it worse.   It's not solely my thoughts, many Facebook engineers have founded this out after learning about the role of Facebook in manipulating U.S elections from accepting Russian money and creating chaos and political violence around the world.   

If my daughter was smart (and like many smart females out there), she should follow my advice.   Mr Damore was living in his own bubble.   He is still young at 28 years of age and he doesn’t have the wisdom of the age yet and he hasn’t experienced the humiliation of being replaced by an H-1B yet and haven’t experienced the feeling of being sold out by our corrupt politicians yet.      He will learn it in time.

Even though I don't agree with Mr.Damore's viewpoint, I still respect his right to free speech and I will go out of my way to protect it.   "Diversity" means much more than diversity of having females as engineers, it also mean respecting people whose views may be different from yours.   Regarding Google's decision to fire the engineer, I think it's a violation of free speech and Google wants to appear "politically correct" rather than care an iota for its female engineers because if it does care, then it should take a look at the H-1B program which has destroyed the engineering profession in the U.S. for American female engineers and scientists.

It's not only me to raise the alarm about the effect of the H-1B on the engineering careers for American women and minorities group:

Silicon Valley is using H-1B visas to crowd out American minorities (St Louis Dispatch):

"The influx of foreign workers has especially hurt non-white, non-male native-born Americans. The National Science Foundation found that 7 percent of men of color who had studied computer sciences, math, or electrical engineering were unemployed in 2013. Among women with those same credentials, 12 percent lacked a job. But among white men, only 2 percent were out of work...Audrey Hatten-Milholin, a 54-year-old black woman who spent 17 years working in the technology department at the University of California, San Francisco. This February, UCSF laid off Audrey and gave her job to a younger, male H-1B visa holder."

The H-1B Debate, Explained (Harvard Business Review - May 14, 2017):

"If there was really a skills shortage, you’d see more diversity in the tech industry — they’d hire underrepresented minorities and women, they’d be training people and investing, they’d be retaining incumbent workers, not laying them off by the thousands, and you wouldn’t see rampant age discrimination.”

The idea that our Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren supports women and minorities group is a bunch of hogwash or rather her propaganda.   If you are an illegal alien who knowingly violates American immigration law, yes, she will go out of her way to pander.   But if you are an American female engineer or member of minority group in engineering/science (African American, Latino American, etc), she is throwing you under the bus and both you and I, and every American engineer in the U.S., knows exactly why.

Now she wants to abolish the per-country green card for the H-1B at the expense of American female and minority engineers.   Since the H-1B came into existence, the engineering workforce has gone from a diverse one to the one being dominated by the H-1Bs, mostly from the Indian subcontinent.    Now at many companies, the H-1Bs from India consists more than of 80% of the technical staff.   How diversified is this?   It has come at the expense of mostly American female and engineers from minority groups.   Lofgren further says that the American immigration system is broken.    Our immigration is not broken, she is the one that is broken by being corrupted to the bone having taken loads of money from the cheap labor lobbyists and the multinational corporations.    The 7% per-country green card limit came into existence because our immigration system was designed with diversity in mind.   It is there so that no country would dominate the green-card pipeline.    Instead of respecting it, she now wants to abolish it; she wants to our immigration system to be Indian-first.      So whatever she said about diversity has turned out to be hypocritical.    She is doing the opposite of what she preaches.    Every American should condemn her action.   Silicon Valley has a dismal record regarding diversity in it workplace, and Lofgren has been bought and she is making the problem much worse.


paytonthecat in reply to TerryX 11 minute(s) ago

>BTW, Google cancelled their corporate diversity meeting today

It would have been real interesting, a meeting were people are encouraged to state their opinions but where everyone knows the "wrong" opinion will get you fired.

Nathan Szajnberg MD, Palo Alto 8 hours ago

Google did evil by firing Damore: Google shut down reasoned discourse. Its new head of diversity emphasized that diverse, thoughtful ideas are not acceptable. While Google remained run by engineers (not bureaucrats, like Ms. Diversity Boss, or MBA's) it has done extraordinary things for many of us. Return Google's management to the engineers. And return Google to the honest, open exploration of difficult questions. And, bring back Damore. Perhaps pursuing his honest but difficult questions might bring constructive answers.

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on-line reader, Canada 11 hours ago

So Google "had to fire the engineer"??

So in
other words after "nose-counting", the only allowable explanation for "lack of women" is sexism. 

Any other explanation is banned

And if you are foolish enough to disagree, particularly in public, you're gone. 

However it is the "oppression of women" that we have to worry about. 

I'd say there is a problem here, but it is not the one Mr. Taplin is writing about.

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I worked in Silicon Valley for decades, the last one at Intel. When I started out back in the 1970s, the engineers and techs were my fellow Bay Area residents -- racially and ethnically mixed, for sure, but all American. When I finished up, it was hard to find a single American engineer or tech -- not that they all dried up and blew away, but because of the aggressive, preferential hiring of lower-wage H1B visa holders. There is no doubt they are qualified, but they are not somehow more qualified than Americans with comparable degrees. They do not, however, complain about the very common 10-14 hour work days and doing this six (even seven) days a week, every week; nor do they complain about being electronically tethered to work 24/7 without compensation. The companies are always quick to bring up the "global competition" claptrap and thus every remaining American who hasn't already died of a heart attack in their cubicle knuckles under. This is a giant scam by the same cheap labor conservatives and corporate executives who have grown hyper wealthy by offshoring America's manufacturing base.

May 4, 2013 at 7:55 p.m.RECOMMENDED 52


Susan, San Jose, CA (Probably one of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren's constituents and a female Engineer with real life experience)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be techies

Don’t let ‘em play video games and learn how to hack..

Make ‘em burger flippers and stock shelf fillers and such

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be techies

That Silly Old Valley will cry that they need ‘em

And lure ‘em with stock options and free lunch but

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be techies

Soon they’ll be old and unemployed

Told at 42 they can’t learn new code…

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be techies

Make ‘em hamburger flippers and stock shelf fillers and such.. 

Sadly, it's all a sham...and it has been going on since the Robber Barons built the railroads...

April 11, 2013 at 10:56 p.m.RECOMMENDED 98


Patty W   Sammamish Wa 8 hours ago

If not personally, we all know someone who has been negatively impacted by out of control immigration policies. I have a relative who works at a well known Silicon Valley company who basically told their HR department to not hire any Americans ... why is this still continuing ? The biggest myth and LIE is that there aren't enough skilled Americans ! Too many older, well-paid Americans have been laid-off who had all the skills and experience but had to train their foreign replacements from India and China or other countries to take their jobs in America. On top of this, we now have all of the republicans wanting to dismantle Social Security and Medicare and raise the age requirement. There is blatant ageism and far too many Americans replaced with low-wage foreign workers ! Pretending this isn't happening is how we ended up with a Trump presidency ! Corporations have gutted most of the towns across America and caused horrific decreases in their tax bases which left broken schools, broken water municipalities ( Flint Michigan ) and an out of control drug problem nation wide. This is how you destroy a once great country from within when you allow corporations to buy your government which stops working for the people and only serves the needs of the corporations. There is a national abuse of green cards, H1-b visas, student visas and illegal immigration because it serves only the needs of corporations !

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