When Google fired James Damore, they were acting like that macho guy who thinks he has been insulted and chooses to pick a fight. (“What did you just say? Ideological echo chamber?”) They chose confrontation where none was required.
Instead of firing Damore, Google could have said something along the lines of “we are happy that Damore supports our goal of increased diversity, and we will consider his proposals”. Or, to be a litte less positive and avoid the risk of being identified with the memo as a whole, they could have prefaced that statement with “While we disagree with Damore’s analysis..” Instead they chose to fire him, claiming that he had advanced “harmful gender stereotypes”.
So Google could have chosen to defuse the conflict, but chose instead to escalate it. And that is my main point: We have choices about how to interpret other people’s communications and how to respond. We can choose to emphasize the parts of it that we disagree with or the ones we agree with. We can also choose to some extent what we read between the lines, since implicit messages are characteristically ambiguous. We can choose whether to consider the other person innocent until proven guilty or guilty until proven innocent.