Annie Taylor Award Recipient: James Damore

The Google engineer who dared to stand up to Google is honored at Restoration Weekend.

Editor's note: Below are the video and transcript to remarks given by James Damore, the Google engineer who dared to stand up to Google, at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's 2017 Restoration Weekend. Damore was this year's recipient of the Annie Taylor Award, given to people who exhibit great courage by “going over the ledge when others would be afraid to even go near it.” The event was held Nov. 16th-19th at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.

Introduction by Dave Rubin: I see Milo Yiannopoulos here.  Milo and I went to UCLA last year to speak and they literally created a human wall to stop us from speaking, so they are not against walls they just don't like Trump's wall.  But colleges really are crazy and I actually like doing the Q and A's with the college students more than the talks that I give, usually, or the interviews that I do, because I find you can actually find out incredible things about what's going on in the minds of young people when you let them ask the questions.  And one of the questions that I get most is, "Should I speak up?"  They say, "Well, I'm in school and I don't want to speak up in front of my friends.  If I say anything remotely libertarian or conservative or classical liberal then they will call me a racist and a homophobe and all of this stuff."

And when I first started speaking, I used to say to them, actually you should probably just kind of keep quiet and get the grade, get out of there, and then hopefully then you can move on to grad school or whatever you want to do; just get the grade and get out. You're not going to beat your professor. And over the last year I've had a complete 180 on this and I now believe that you must stand up, that these kids must stand up, because it's never is going to get easier.  It's never going to get easier when you get out of college if you sucked it up while you were in college. That's the place that you have to learn how to think and how to talk, and that brings me to the guy I am going to give the award to here tonight, to James Damore. 

James, most of you know, is the Google engineer who over the summer wrote the "Diversity Memo."  Well, they sent him to a diversity course.  They sent James to diversity training basically at Google.  Now I like talking about Google publicly because they are in all of our pockets and they are probably listening to us right now, but nonetheless, James was required, as I think all the employees at Google were, to go to these diversity courses to learn about this post-modernism oppression Olympics leftist craziness that I know you guys know all about.  He was asked to go there repeatedly and before he went there, actually, I think it was in June, he actually got a promotion for his work, for his actual work that he did at Google, but then they sent him to these diversity courses and they asked the people, they asked everyone that went there to then give some feedback.  I am sure most of you have jobs where you go to little courses like this and you just kind of let it be and then you forget about it.  Well James actually paid attention and he thought something doesn't make sense about this.  Why are we judging people on their immutable characteristics?  Why are we not judging them on the content of their character?  Why are we looking at them and saying, well if you are this sexuality or this religion, we will treat you this way or that way, and how that very information actually was being put into the Google algorithm which is what spits out all of your Google searches and your YouTube searches, all the information that you get, and the videos that you get to see, and all of this stuff. 

So James thoughtfully wrote an incredible, really wonderful paper on why this diversity memo that had become so ingrained in really the biggest company on earth, why it was the wrong idea and I'm sure that I don't have to tell you over the next couple weeks the things that the media and that basically everyone said about this guy right here: that he's racist, and he's a homophobe, and he hates women and all of the nonsense -- that I'm sure all of you have heard, he was leveled with all of those charges. 

So to bring this back to college and why you have to stand up, here is a guy who is going to come up here in just second, who, as an adult, had protect his job and his interests and everything else, because he basically said, there is something wrong here, but I'm just not going to go up against the little company that I work for, I'm going to go up against Google.  If that does not make you people applaud, I don't know what will, so James Damore, it is a pleasure to give you this award.

Damore: Thanks a lot.  A lot of kind words and yeah; I really feel like the waterfall analogy, it's a pretty good one, but I'm still alive and I think I'm actually stronger for all of this.  So it's good.  So these last few months have been unreal, to say the least.  I have been exposed to some of the best and worst of humanity.  The Google memo controversy has exposed and opened people's eyes to how politicized Silicon Valley, the media and even science has become.  While it increased awareness, real change has been slow.  Most of the media still claims that basic psychological facts are sexist pseudoscience.  Tech has doubled down on their discrimination and ideological programs.  Conservatives in Silicon Valley fear for their jobs now more than ever. 

I have been fighting to spread my message and I truly appreciate everyone that has helped.  Many of them are in this audience today.  Moving forward though my legal case against Google will be critical.  If we win, the legal and financial incentives for blindly pushing their ideology will finally change.  Conservatives and free thinkers everywhere will be empowered to speak up. 

My controversy though is symptomatic of a growing divide in our country.  This division is too big of a problem for me alone to solve.  All of us as citizens have a responsibility to bring our country together.  When the left and right don't talk to each other, America loses.  If there is anything we can do to preclude the need for another Google memo it's this:  Continue fighting for what you believe in, but maintain your integrity and an open mind.  Intolerance on one side only breeds intolerance on the other.  While divisive rhetoric may seem like a harmless short-term win, it's actually a long-term loss for us all.  Thank you.

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