(This article first appeared in the American Spectator)
Friday, at four o’clock in the afternoon.
Kay Cole James, the president of the Heritage Foundation, steps to the podium of the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in suburban Harrisburg and gives the startling update.
Ms. James, at a laughing, self-admitted 70 and famously one of the best known, longtime conservative leaders in the country, announces to the PLC crowd (the PLC is the Pennsylvania version of CPAC and was celebrating its 30th anniversary) that she had learned only hours earlier that she had been removed as a recent appointee to Google’s Advanced Technology External Advisory Council. The board, on which she would have served without salary, was designed to review artificial intelligence ethics.
Among other things the outrage mob of over 2000 Google employees accused Ms. James of being a “white supremacist.” Kay James is an African-American. With a gay son. But Google quickly caved to the mob, dismissing Kay and then dissolving the board entirely.
And right there was the problem. The American Left’s culture of racism – the Democratic Party, recall, is the party with the long and documented https://spectator.org/43179_democrats-missing-years/ historic record that has moved from supporting slavery to supporting segregation, the Ku Klux Klan, lynching and now the latest incarnation from the judge-by-skin color crowd: identity politics.
The lynch mob at Google, burning torches figuratively in hand, descended on James because, don’t you know, she had stepped off the left-wing plantation that demands fealty from African-Americans. If you are black and have the audacity to think for yourself, well, God help you. Famously, another prominent black American, the conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, targeted himself by the leftist torch burners of the day, put it this way in his Senate hearing:
“And from my standpoint as a black American, as far as I’m concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. — U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.”
This time the high-tech lynchers, appropriately enough, came from the high tech precincts of Google, which happily supplied the rope. As the Wall Street Journal noted in a Saturday editorial: https://www.wsj.com/articles/googles-advisory-board-crash-and-burn-11554506676?mod=MorningEditorialReport&mod=&mod=djemMER_h
“As a think-tank president Ms. James has expressed support for policies well within the norm of center-right ideas, such as more security at the border and skepticism about the more coercive elements of the transgender movement’s political agenda.
These charges of intolerance are particularly rich against Ms. James, an African-American who integrated an all-white middle school in 1961. In an op-ed last year Ms. James recounted that at the school a boy pushed her down the stairs. Another student stopped to help her. She remembered her fellow student’s “quiet act of courage” and wrote that in 2018, another tumultuous moment in U.S. history, “instead of ugly rancor, we should show respect.” Ms. James has shown the civility and tolerance the woke police claim to champion but so rarely seem to muster.”
As the Journal also points out:
“Even as Google employees rage at Ms. James, the company may be contributing to China’s repression. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford, who is usually circumspect in public, last month said Google’s work “indirectly benefits” the Chinese military. AI in China, he said, will “help an authoritarian government assert control over its own population” and perhaps help China steal U.S. technology.
So let’s summarize the value system inside the Googleplex: Employees last year blew up the company’s Pentagon work because of concerns about a U.S. military that protects their right to protest, even as the company is doing business in an authoritarian rival country that puts Uighurs in labor camps. Then Google’s ethicists demanded the company cashier an African-American conservative from an advisory board for her supposed intolerance, and management promptly caved and ended the entire project.”
Mrs. James, after laughingly mentioning the charge of white supremacy by saying that for her entire life the first thing she does in the morning is “put on black face”, became quite serious when she spoke about the American Left’s intolerance and mob outrage designed to silence free speech.
By Monday, this intolerance was yet again on display as Fox News headlined this news: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/immigration-civil-rights-groups-pressure-fortune-500-companies-to-blacklist-former-trump-officials
Trump aides targeted in corporate blacklist effort by immigration, civil rights groups
The Fox story began this way:
“As outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen looks for her next job following her resignation Sunday, she may find herself battling a liberal blacklisting effort against those who’ve served in the Trump administration.
Nielsen’s name appears on a list that a cabal of immigration and civil rights groups recently sent to the CEOs of American companies, urging them not to hire Trump officials who were involved in last year’s separation of migrant children from their families.”
Note well that the very first line in that letter reads this way:
“Children were torn away from their parents and placed in cages.”
Mysteriously, all these leftist interest groups were stone cold silent about Obama administration officials seeking private sector jobs after having been documented – as here – https://www.breitbart.com/border/2014/06/05/leaked-images-reveal-children-warehoused-in-crowded-us-cells-border-patrol-overwhelmed/ putting kids in cages – in 2014.
What we have here – as Kay James specifically took time to note in her PLC speech – is an all out assault on free speech. If you are conservative – on a college campus, at Google, on Fox News or anywhere else – the mob is coming for you. And if you are black – or Hispanic or a woman or gay – their fury knows no bounds.
In the case of gays, as noted Kay James has a gay son. As Rebecca Haglin noted over in The Washington Times: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/apr/7/googles-treatment-of-kay-coles-james-is-shameful-m/
“If Google workers had been sincerely interested in the truth, they would have explored Mrs. James‘ relationship with her son’s LGBTQ community. In so doing, they would have learned that she is adored.”
Note well that all those Googlers are perfectly fine with the company doing business with, as the WSJ noted, “an authoritarian rival country that puts Uighurs in labor camps.” (How many Uighurs are gay?) What is at play with Google is precisely the totalitarian mentality mentioned in another WSJ column by Anastasia Lin, a native of China brought to Canada at 13 when her mother fled the reaches of the repressive regime. Wrote Lin, now an actress and human rights activist: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-cultural-revolution-comes-to-north-america-11554661623
“The emerging call-out culture in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere in the West bears more than a few similarities to China’s Cultural Revolution, in which writers, artists, doctors, scholars and other professionals were publicly denounced and forced by mobs to engage in ritual self-criticism. The goal is not to persuade or debate; it is to humiliate the target and intimidate everyone else. The ultimate objective is to destroy independent thought.
In China, people in my father’s generation—he was born in 1957—learned to keep their heads down and to watch what they said, even to their closest friends, for fear of being accused of thought crimes. Privacy and trust were dissolved, and informants were everywhere. Today’s China shows where this all leads.
…My mother and I emigrated to Canada when I was 13, and I eventually began speaking publicly against human-rights abuses. My father back in China, threatened by security agents, broke off contact with me. Beijing engages in massive, brutal repression of religious minorities, including Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims and practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline—even extending to the harvesting of human organs. That’s what happens when one party achieves a total monopoly of ideas by acting on the belief that any means are justified to destroy their opponents.”
The cultural revolution has arrived at Google. Where intolerance reigns. And in the case of Kay Cole James, out and out racism as thick as it can be cut. One would think Google’s targeting of a black woman because she doesn’t think the way a black woman is supposed to think on the Liberal Plantation would open the doors to one very serious civil rights lawsuit. Google should perhaps Google Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act – as here at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm – which prohibits discrimination because of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
The very same intolerance is on display from all those left-wing signatories demanding private companies not hire former Trump officials – while being conspicuously silent about Obama officials who instituted the very same policy in the first place. The message, in the time-tested tradition of the enforcers of intolerance everywhere – if you have the right connections you will get a pass from the mob. Maybe.
In sum? In sum what we are witnessing in Google culture and on too many college campuses is what Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the first head of the then-new Soviet Union’s secret police known as the Cheka, described this way: “We represent in ourselves organized terror—this must be said very clearly. And that “organized terror”, Dzerzhinsky emphasized, involved “the terrorization, arrests and extermination of enemies of the revolution on the basis of their class affiliation or of their pre-revolutionary roles.” Or, as in the case of Kay James, the mother of an openly gay son, her race.
Kay James just had an up-close and personal encounter with this totalitarian mindset – from a major American high-tech company. The organized terror of a Google lynch mob came for her. The quite deliberate message for the rest of America from Google is: watch out. The next time it could be you.