Some of you may have read yesterday's post about the piece in the LA Times regarding the lack of African American Ambassadors. There can certainly be no doubt that the upper levels of the Department still bear the mark of the "Pale, Male and Yale" Days. I recall sitting in the Director's meetings for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and noting that of the 25 or so folks at the table, only two were women (and one of those was from human resources) and none were people of color. I was one of only a few more women sitting in the chairs around the wall in the room, and I was the only person of color. I do think HR is doing a good job at recruiting more minorities, but it will take time for folks to rise up through the ranks, so it is no surprise that the people at the upper levels are still mostly white men.
But my wife, who is clearly smarter than I am, made a good point about the La Times piece. She noted that the majority of Ambassadorial posts in Europe are not held by career Foreign Service. Those really cushy posts (you know the ones, come on, name them with me), are filled with political appointees.
At this point, some 30% of Ambassadors are political rather than career foreign service. So the question is, are the numbers in the article reflective of all Ambassadors or just career Ambassadors? And if they are all Ambassadors, then the question isn't why aren't there more minorities in the Foreign Service. The question is, why isn't the President appointing more minority Ambassadors? (And I would just like to note that if they want to have an American Indian Ambassador now, I am certainly willing to volunteer. I live to serve.)
And while we are looking at numbers, what percentage of Ambassadors, both political and career, are women?