Fired Google engineer wonders if KKK names are cool

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James Damore has become a spokesman for, well, what?Ku Klux Klan protests planned removal Of General Lee statue from Virginia park.

He seems to believe that he’s a free thinker, there to take on the entrenched liberal views of Silicon Valley.

Google fired him from his engineer position after he posted a think-piece that some thought ravingly sexist and antidiversity.

That sparked even more discussion about diversity and inclusion in a year in which we’ve had Uber investigations into the topic, lawsuits and investigations targeting Google over gender discrimination, and VCs apologizing to women entrepreneurs.

Damore hasn’t stopped adopting positions that provoke. He’s criticized, for instance, organizations that teach women to code.

But now he’s diverted to more diverting fare. He’s wondered, in fact, whether the Ku Klux Klan gives its members rather cool names.

In a Wednesday tweet, the self-styled “nerd centrist” offered: “The KKK is horrible and I don’t support them in any way, but can we admit that their internal title names are cool, e.g. ‘Grand Wizard’?”

Damore gave four options for tweeters to respond in a poll: “Yes,” “No, the names aren’t cool,” “No, that’s racist” and “No, other.” He also followed up his tweet with a few more thoughts.

Sample: “You know you’ve moralized an issue when you can’t criticize its heroes or acknowledge any positive aspect of its villains.”

Followed by: “It’s like teaching your child to be responsible about drugs and sex without addressing the fact that they can be fun.”

Not everyone seemed to agree.

A fellow calling himself Sgt Pinback referenced a modern equivalent: “Do you know the reason why they chose names like that? It’s very much like the alt-right’s use of Pepe and jokes.”

Some were less didactic.

“Hey Jackass James: Stalin was horrible, but can we admit the word gulag is cool. #icandothisalldayyoulittleprick,” mused Recode’s Kara Swisher.

Apparently the responses took Damore aback. Later on Wednesday, his poll tweet disappeared from his Twitter feed, and a series of new musings acknowledgedthat he “gave many the wrong impression.” He did stay at arm’s length from what might be taken as an outright apology.  “In retrospect though, a Twitter poll was likely not the best way to spark the conversation on this rightfully sensitive issue.”