It’s a historic moment. A major Silicon Valley company has actually said “no” to identity-obsessed social justice warriors.
Apple is recommending that its investors vote against a proposal to increase the diversity of its board and senior management, calling the proposal “not necessary” and “unduly burdensome.”
The proposal came from investor Antonio Avian Maldonado II, who said that Apple’s efforts to improve diversity at the top of the company were “painstakingly slow.” His proposal includes an “accelerated recruitment policy” to increase the amount of minorities on the board and in senior management. According to Maldonado, both “presently fail to adequately represent diversity (particularly Hispanic, African-American, Native-American and other people of colour).”
Maldonado’s report states, “The tech industry, of which the Company is a part, is characterized by the persistent and pervasive underrepresentation of minorities and women in senior positions.”
“The Company is at an advantageous position to be a leader in promoting diversity in senior management and its board of directors, based on its size, breadth and position as the largest company in the world,” he said.
In their response to the proposal, Apple’s board said the demands were “not necessary” and “unduly burdensome,” two quote that are quickly spreading through the media. In Silicon Valley, where companies regularly cave in to the demands of social justice warrior’s, Apple’s defiance is rare.
It is not, to be fair, a comprehensive rejection of the politics of diversity. In their response, Apple pointed to their ongoing efforts to improve diversity at the company, including scholarships for students at historically black universities, providing technology to schools in poor neighbourhoods, and sponsoring the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women In Computing, which describes itself as the “world’s largest gathering of women technologists.”
However, observers may speculate how much of this is window dressing for Apple, to be used at just such moments when the current board is threatened. Despite its famous appeal to idealistic hipsters, Apple, like many other Silicon Valley companies, is ruthless at the top. Nevertheless, the company insists that its current diversity efforts are “much broader” than the accelerated recruitment strategy recommended by the proposal.
It’s a wonder why Apple feels the need to be so cautious. The public, the press, and even the establishment are rapidly tiring of social justice warriors and their divisive identity politics. Apple giving a firm “no” to the diversity obsessives is likely to win them more friends than enemies.