Trend of the Week: Silicon Valley Has the Woke Mind Virus on the Brain

Trend of the Week: Silicon Valley Has the Woke Mind Virus on the Brain

This week in trends, Big Tech bros could not stop talking about the woke mind virus. Many Silicon Valley leaders crowed that the ousting of Harvard’s President was the beginning of the end for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, which they described as “immoral” and “illegal.”

Harvard’s President Claudine Gay, the first Black woman to lead the university, resigned last week after facing fierce backlash from conservatives, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street. Gay’s response to the Israel and Hamas war, allegations of plagiarism, and her unfortunate testimony before Congress about whether genocide denotes hate speech all led up to this moment. She became the shortest-tenured President in Harvard’s history, but her ousting represented more than that—many see it as vindication that DEI is a thing of the past.

Trending Tweets From ‘Elites’

“DEI, because it discriminates on the basis of race, gender, and many other factors, is not merely immoral, it is also illegal,” Elon Musk tweeted.

“Hopefully this marks the beginning of the end for DEI as a movement, which got horribly corrupted by Marxist thought, and a return to a true meritocracy,” said Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.

Y Combinator founder Paul Graham weighed in saying: “Prediction: Wokeness will recede significantly in 2024. There were always more people against it than there seemed, but many were afraid to say so. Now that it’s safer to criticize it, more will.”

“We are returning to a color-blind, performance-based society… where we judge people by their character, effort, and achievements,” said tech venture capitalist Jason Calacanis. “Identity politics is a road to nowhere, and it focuses a society on what decides us, as opposed to what binds us.”

And Mark Cuban, CEO of Cost Plus Drugs, tried to calm his fellow tech bros:

“Good businesses look where others don’t, to find the employees that will put your business in the best possible position to succeed,” Cuban said. “The loss of DEI-Phobic companies is my gain.”

“Mark Cuban is desperately trying to signal his ‘virtue,’ but his hypocrisy convinces no one,” Musk responded.

Why it Matters

Last week’s trend represents a broader, louder push against wokeness and DEI than we’ve seen before from the tech industry. Elon Musk has undoubtedly been a leader in the tech portion of this movement, turning X into a “free speech” at-all-costs platform, and creating Grok to oppose more “woke” chatbots from OpenAI and Anthropic. That being said, tech has largely been a white-male industry that can only benefit from more diversity. For just one example, facial recognition technology has historically worked better on white guys than anyone else, probably because that’s who built it.

It’s important to note, however, that this movement is larger than tech, including the Republican party and the financial sector. Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist, claims to have played a key role in a coordinated takedown of Ms. Gay. Bill Ackman, a financial investor and Harvard alum, rallied many in the finance and tech sector into this movement against DEI.

Mark Cuban made a valiant effort to combat this narrative but appears to have convinced few. Elon Musk clowned on him, replying to one of his tweets, “so when should we expect to see a short white/Asian women on the Mavs?”

Tech has historically been an industry with roots in social change. Apple’s Macintosh computer was marketed in 1984 as a personal computer that could help liberate users from stodgy corporations like IBM. For much of the last decade, tech companies like Twitter, Snapchat, and Google have prided themselves on their DEI efforts. This new push against DEI and alignment with the conservative party might signal a new era in tech or maybe it’s just a mask-off moment.

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