Apple Employees: Being Asked to Show up to Work Is Racist

Apple Employees: Being Asked to Show up to Work Is Racist
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Another one for the “You can’t make this stuff up” file: Apple employees are telling the company that its request to have them return to the office is in effect “racist.” As I joked in a RedState satire Saturday, the left is changing the word racist to mean, “anything it doesn’t like.”

In a Friday open letter, available here, around 200 employees from a group called “Apple Together” complained about the company’s decision to have workers return to the office after the long COVID hiatus.

The whiny diatribe reads like something your 13-year-old would write trying to convince you not to make them go to school tomorrow. Coming to the office evidently will:

…make Apple younger, whiter, more male-dominated, more neuro-normative, more able-bodied, in short, it will lead to privileges deciding who can work for Apple, not who’d be the best fit.

They don’t really explain why that would be the case, but they’re clearly convinced of it.

The complaints come after Apple CEO Tim Cook told staffers that they would need to come to the office one day a week starting April 11, two days per week after three weeks, and three days per week after May 23. Oh, the horror! They write that only the privileged will be able to stand up to the rigors of actually showing up to the job:

Privileges like “being born in the right place so you don’t have to relocate”, or “being young enough to start a new life in a new city/country” or “having a stay-at-home spouse who will move with you”. And privileges like being born into a gender that society doesn’t expect the majority of care-work from, so it’s easy to disappear into an office all day, without doing your fair share of unpaid work in society. Or being rich enough to pay others to do your care-work for you.

Aren’t these the challenges that every working person since time immemorial has had to face?

How about noting what a great privilege it is to have a job at one of the most successful firms in the world? Instead, they’re triggered by the fact that their boss actually gets to tell them what to do:

We are not asking for everyone to be forced to work from home. We are asking to decide for ourselves, together with our teams and direct manager, what kind of arrangement works best for each one of us, be that in an office, work from home, or a hybrid approach. Stop treating us like school kids who need to be told when to be where and what homework to do.

You’re not school kids—you’re employees! Sorry people, when they’re paying you actual money, they’re allowed to tell you what to do, and if it isn’t onerous, dangerous, or illegal, you’re supposed to do it. Making an appearance at the office occasionally hardly seems unduly taxing.

We definitely see the benefits of in-person collaboration; the kind of creative process that high bandwidth communication of being in the same room, not limited by technology, enables. But for many of us, this is not something we need every week, often not even every month, definitely not every day. The Hybrid Working Pilot is one of the most inefficient ways to enable everyone to be in one room, should the need arise every now and then.

Imagine if gardeners, construction workers, truck drivers—everyday working Americans—decided it was simply too much of a burden for them to shed their pajamas and get themselves to the worksite. The world would shut down.

Zoom, Slack, Google Meetings—all those technologies helped us find new ways to work during the pandemic. Some of them are great and do offer increased flexibility, and companies should continue to take advantage of that. Their widespread use, however, was because we were in a crisis—they were not supposed to become the “new normal.” The innovation and creativity of so many great American companies requires that people actually collaborate (not over a screen) and meet in person.  Claiming that being required to show up every now and then is “racist” and overly burdensome reeks of an entitled, privileged viewpoint that is not a healthy bellwether for the future of our economy.

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