Meritocracy & White Male Culture

Linas Vepstas
3 min readApr 25, 2018


An excerpt from a post from Alexander Kruel:

(3) At Google, managers are cautioned about rewarding people who exhibit values such as meritocracy, winning, avoiding conflict, and a belief in objectivity because they are part of the “white/male” culture.[3]
[3] Class-action lawsuit against Google, page 51 onwards

My defensive reply:

Writing about point (3) is … a mine-field. But if I don’t, I will be remiss in my duties as a human being. Let me start like so: pretty much everyone I have ever met, everyone I know, everyone I love, and everyone I hate, is a broken, defective human being. It’s the human condition. We are all massive fuck-ups, mis-fits (that includes you, dear reader; kid yourself not). Some are demented souls, others tormented souls. We, as a society, and also as fellow-humans, have to find a way of accepting and integrating those who are … not as strong. And a way for reforming, normalizing those who have committed … grave mistakes (they used to be called “sins”). We must nurture; if we don’t figure out how, we won’t survive the upcoming century.

Consider, for a moment, organized team sports. Here, “meritocracy” and “winning” are central to the overall point: the goal is to compete and win. Don’t care if its football, competitive ballroom dancing, chorale singing, or rap contests. “Winning isn’t everything, its the only thing.” Yet, oddly, all great coaches know how to nurture great talents, even when that talent is down and out and suffering. There’s that word: “nurture”.

Where else does “meritocracy, winning, avoiding conflict, and a belief in objectivity” reveal itself? Capitalism. Any competition for money is … still a competition. Don’t care if it is corporate setting, or a competition for science funding and academic tenure: its a bare-knuckled competition for supremacy. This is what capitalism instills. And it burns it deeply into the social/cultural psyche. Win! Win! Win! Only the best, the brightest, the strongest, the most meritocratic are allowed to advance! This feels absolutely great, and absolutely right, if you are one of the winners. Only the best, the brightest, the strongest, the most meritocratic get the riches, the success, the winnings! Nothing else matters!

I hope that you are starting to get a glimmer of how toxic this culture of winning is. Because, if you’ve ever competed in sports, you rapidly find that only 1% win, and 99% loose. That’s acceptable in sports. Its not acceptable as a means of social organization or economics.

As I look around, and I see the broken, the down-hearted, the not-so-lucky all around me: they are the 99%. And I’m not too sure about the 1% either: they seem pretty broken, in yet other dimensions. We can’t live by kicking everyone to the curb. Yet this is exactly what the white-dominant-male culture wants you to do: kick everyone in the face, fuck ’em all.

As a successful white male, I’ll tell you now: I tend to prefer the company of women, mostly because most white males are toxic assholes that I can’t stand being around for too long. Most. There are exceptions. But most. Being heartless seems to be a male trait.

So, yeah, we need to find a way of toning down the toxic white male culture; the human race cannot survive if it is left to run unchecked.