Some Google employees are using a strange analogy involving colored coffee beans to explain and promote diversity hiring, according to newly released internal documents published Wednesday by Project Veritas.
In one email exchange, a Google employee warns against sharing the document externally, citing potential legal concerns. Another found the analogy “too reductive.”
The documents are part of a larger leak from Google insider Zachary Vorhies, who turned over the documents to Project Veritas and has reportedly given more than 950 documents to the Department of Justice’s Antitrust division.
Diversity hiring has become a contentious issue at the world’s most-used search engine. Google was sued last year by a YouTube human resources employee who alleged that the company stopped hiring white and Asian male employees to technical roles in 2017 to improve employee diversity rankings throughout the company.
Former Google employee James Damore has alleged in his class-action lawsuit that Google’s definition of diversity is “women or individuals who were not Caucasian or Asian.”
Project Veritas published Wednesday an internal document titled Coffee Beans, or What Does Diversity Hiring Mean Anyway?, which relies on a complex analogy in which coffee quality must be optimized by using a blend of orange and teal-colored coffee beans. Orange beans are more abundant while teal beans are rarer.
“This document is not meant to describe an official Google policy. It is an analogy to help explain diversity hiring,” the paper states.
The document argues that in order to achieve an optimal coffee blend, “you would pick as many easily accessible orange beans as you could” but at the same time “you would spend more time looking for the teal beans, and you would spend more time evaluating them… to make sure you didn’t throw any away.”
The document concludes: “That’s what the high tech companies are doing with diversity hiring — they are looking harder for the under-represented groups and they are spending more time/effort making sure they don’t throw any of the good ones away.”
In a leaked email released by Project Veritas, one Google employee expresses the desire to share the document externally. But another cautions against it, saying that it “seems to misrepresent Google’s hiring practices in a way that could raise legal questions.”
.@Google on Diversity hiring, “Imagine a world where there are two kinds of coffee beans that grow naturally. They are the orange beans and the teal beans . . .”
Googler warns: better off not sharing it externally due to legal questions.
— Project Veritas (@Project_Veritas) August 14, 2019
The Google employee also expresses reservations about the analogy.
“Do we really need to reduce people to coffee beans to understand the value of diversity?’ I personally find it too reductive,” the employee said in an email.
“Coffee beans are unlike people in that it doesn’t matter how we treat them—only how the liquid tastes after we roast, grind, and decoct them—and in the first place, resorting to analogies can seem patronizing to the audience, insulting to their intelligence.”