Comment ZA Re: Who would have known anyway if they hadn't complained so much?


Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views


Who would have known anyway if they hadn't complained so much? (Score: 1)

by on 2014-04-03 05:11 (#YP)

Isn't the basic claim that a company CEOs public image should not contradict the company mission? But then I have to ask - if nobody had started this whole media circus, who would ever have found out? Didn't they create the problem themselfes?

Re: Who would have known anyway if they hadn't complained so much? (Score: 1)

by on 2014-04-03 20:55 (#YX)

I'm not sure what you're saying here. Yeah, the CEO's image shouldn't contradict the company's image, that is indeed the statement we seem to be coming up with. ...Oh, I get it - you think that because people care about free software and the Mozilla community, they should keep quiet. Not rock the boat. Stay in the back of the bus. Get back in the closet.

Ahem. Sorry, got a little carried away there. The point I should make is: speaking up is what makes the world a better place. If Rosa Parks and Harvey Milk hadn't spoken up we'd be worse off than we are now.

As for Eich... people are speaking up. He needs to communicate - does he still feel that way, and can he support that view in a way that doesn't involve treating others like second-class citizens? His response has been, so far, couched in political speak which boils down to "I won't say it outright but yes, I still feel this way, and I'm not letting it affect my judgement as Mozilla's CEO." I'm not sure I see how that's possible. If I were CEO of Kitten Killing Enterprises, I'd certainly have a problem keeping my personal views on kitten-killing out of my management style.

Maybe he can do mental yoga. I'd like to hear him do it out loud, though, so I can find out whether he's crazy or smart.

Re: Who would have known anyway if they hadn't complained so much? (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-04-04 00:15 (#Z4)

Rosa Parks was a staged incident (and one that definitely needed to happen)

You really don't believe that you can hold an opinion that's contrary to a legal requirement and still be effective in your position or executing your duties? You don't find that limiting?

Re: Who would have known anyway if they hadn't complained so much? (Score: 1)

by on 2014-04-04 13:55 (#ZA)

This is the first post you've made that wasn't outright insulting. Kudos! (No, seriously. I want some interesting discussion! +1!)

Correct, I don't think I could hold an opinion contrary to a legal requirement and still be in charge of supporting the legal requirement. For example... the RIAA. I could not run it. I would just... not be able to bring myself to press the button on the robo-lawsuits. I'd be a poor choice to run the RIAA or MPAA, because I just cannot take it as seriously as they do. (I just... can't. Little Johnny downloaded a song, ohnoes! Pay us a billion bucks!)

I'm trying to think of something a little more equivalent and more serious - Eich's position on gay marriage was only tangential to his corporation's main duties. It wasn't The Gay and Lesbian Love In Society he was CEO of. It's hard to find a good example without bringing religion or politics into it, though. Or classic flame wars like vi versus emacs. Sexism is a good fallback, I suppose. (The alternative was racism. It's early and I haven't had my coffee yet. Suggestions welcome.)

Let us say that I am a complete sexist - dyed in the wool chauvinist pig - and I have somehow managed not to let it render me impossible to hire - I hide it, except for my political donations to a fringe group that wants to keep women from working. I get hired as CEO of General Motors. I walk into the office every day and I see the lady who works in accounting. ...Yeah, I would personally have trouble not twitching every time she gave me a report, if I felt that strongly about it. I don't know that it would affect my conscious decisions, but it would certainly affect my unconscious decisions. I might be reluctant to be in an elevator with her. I might make an inappropriate comment or a pass. I might not invite her to my "private" birthday party where basically the whole company showed up, except the girls. When given the choice between two resumes, where one had the name "John" at the top, and the other had "Jane", and they were equivalent, I might pick John first, and rationalize that "his cover letter was better." I might, in fact, pick Jane, because I know I'm being sexist - when you catch yourself doing it, you tend to overcorrect. Sexism is subtle, it's insidious. Same with racism and homophobia. There's a reason that the first thing out of a racist's mouth is usually "Some of my best friends are..." It affects you in ways you can't predict - which just isn't good for a CEO. I might step down on the basis that I was not a good fit for the company if I knew that about myself and wanted the best for the company.

Yeah, that's limiting. Some limits are good. I shouldn't be in charge of people I want to oppress. Neither should anyone else.

Now, supposing I didn't step down. And supposing it came out in the news that I, personally, think that women are not fit for the workplace, that they should all be in the kitchen, pregnant, making me sandwiches, and that I had supported a political action committee which operated with the express purpose of suppressing women's wages and whose eventual goal was to remove their right to vote - six years ago. And I'm CEO of General Motors.

Granted, women are a bigger demographic than gay people, but bear with me here: are the people who work at GM justified in speaking up about it? Definitely - they stand to be directly oppressed by my mistakes. Are the people who work outside GM but drive GM's cars justified in speaking up about it? Yes, because they stand to receive potentially inferior cars made by the best men for the job, not the best people for the job. Are people everywhere justified in speaking up about it? I think so, even if they don't have a stake in it. It's kinda like seeing a bully push someone over in the playground. You step in or you're a coward.

Incidentally, when I did research, I discovered that people spoke up when Eich was originally made CTO at Mozilla. It's not just the "CEO" part they're objecting to. It's "being in charge of people". They chose not to take it any more. Good for them.

There is, I think, a difference between this - internet outrage over a guy who is a grownup, knew full well what he was doing, and refuses to take it back, and getting him to step down from his people-managing job - and other incidents of internet outrage that have gotten people fired for silly reasons. Damned if I can articulate very well what that difference is, though. Perhaps it's the feeling while doing it which is different: the feeling of going after someone who ought to be able to defend themselves, versus the feeling of picking on someone who was completely unprepared for the fallout of their idle, accidental comments or photos or videos. Nobody needed to pile on Rebecca Black as hard as they did. Brendan Eich, however, could stand up for himself.


Time Reason Points Voter
2014-04-06 03:24 Normal 0

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