“Before it was, ‘I don’t agree with you,’ but now it has evolved into this new thing that is much more aggressive, ‘don’t even say something that is counter to what I believe,’” says Aaron Ginn, co-founder of Lincoln Network, which looks to connect conservative techies with government and political work.
Some fear losing their jobs while others worry they’ll be ostracized by colleagues. (That’s in a sector where 76 percent of technical jobs are held by men, and blacks and Latinos make up only 5 percent of the workforce.) Adding to the stress is Silicon Valley’s penchant for open floor plans, which make it hard to tune out an officemate on a rant, and the way companies encourage workers to socialize and bring their whole selves to their job. Several tech workers said they don’t post about politics on Facebook, where they’re friends with many coworkers. “My wife is very paranoid about me sharing my opinion, even on private WhatsApp groups with my friends,” said a former Amazon engineer who now works at Oracle. Most employees who spoke asked not to be identified because they worried about their job security.
Not only will this hurt recruitment and creativity, it will also — more significantly — add to the growing distrust that many Americans feel toward Silicon Valley.