American Elephants


The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know how familiar Americans are with the story of their own Navajo Code Talkers who served in the Untied States Marine Corps in the Pacific theater in World War II, but it is a proud and fascinating story. Early in the war in the Pacific, it became clear that the Japanese had broken our military codes. We had used Native American speakers in World War I with some great success, but the Germans were not about to leave themselves vulnerable. They infiltrated reservations across the United States to learn the languages. The Navajo reservation in the Four Corners area of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico is remote, beautiful, but not easily penetrated.  Here is their story.

These are two different treatments of the Code-Talker history. The first is longer, but all in one story. The second comes in three parts. When you have time you might want to watch both.

In July of 2001, President George W. Bush decorated 29 Navajo Code Talkers, They were represented by the four remaining code-talkers. Belated, but welcome recognition. It’s an important story.

We make a lot of mistakes in this country, a lot of trial and error, but eventually we usually manage to get it right. If you have some young people in your family, do share. They need to know a little history too.

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Diversity and Exclusion: You Can’t Make This Up! by The Elephant's Child

Returning to the diversity front, Apple has fired their new diversity chief, Denise Young Smith, who is stepping down after only six months on the job. She made the mistake back in May, of commenting during a conference: “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room, and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

“Her comments were seen by some as insensitive to people
of color, women, and members of the LGBT community, who have long faced an uphill battle in the workplace.”

Denise Young Smith later apologized for her comments, saying that they “were not representative of how I think about diversity and how Apple sees it.” “For that I’m sorry, she added in a staff email, “More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.”

Apple, like many Silicon Valley companies, is struggling to diversify its workforce, especially in its leadership and in tech jobs. In 2017, only 3% of its leaders were black, and women held just 23% of tech jobs.

Apple has said that it is making improvements, as shown in its latest diversity report in which it said that “50% of new hires are from historically underrepresented groups in tech.”

How revealing that Apple does not consider diversity of thought or ideas important. Orwell would be fascinated. And how interesting to note that they hire people not for their expertise, but for their race and sexual orientation. Although apparently correct thinking trumps even race, for Denise Young Smith, who is a 20 year veteran at Apple, is black and female.

Lest the Social Justice Warriors object, let me hasten to mention that in every race, every ethnicity, every sexual orientation there are geniuses and the intellectually challenged, and there are some in every group who are technologically skilled. I would much rather deal with a company that hires people for their expertise than one fixated on race, sex and ethnic origin to meet some wispy goal ginned up by the social justice folks. If you can’t make excellent products, we’ll take our business elsewhere.




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