The Daily Demarche
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Purses at Dusk: the Diplomad vs TAGS
I'd been meaning to comment for some time on this post over at TAGS, but those damn Diplomads beat me to it. To summarize the discussion, the Diplomads are against affirmative action, while the editor at TAGS is in favor of it.

Both of them make good points, be sure to check them out.

TAGS is an excellent site, and a great advertisement for the Foreign Service, but I tend to agree with the Diplomads - sacrificing quality in the name of advancing any kind of agenda ultimately still results in a loss of quality and sows seeds of resentment. I don't want the best person for the job to be overlooked simply because had testicles. Similarly, the thought that a supervisor got their job because they lacked testicles or were of a certain race -- or even the thought that gender or race was any factor at all in their attaining the job -- doesn't inspire confidence in that person.

That the higher ranks of the State Department are increasingly open to people from all skill fields (cones) is a welcome change (and worth another post in its own right). But broadening the pool from which senior diplomats come is not the same as intentionally factoring in gender or ethincity when it comes to advancement.

I'm not saying that the State Department wouldn't benefit from having more, well-qualified, minorities -- lord knows, there are more than enough honkies to go around. The corporate culture is definitely a dry white one. But that doesn't mean that affirmative action is the only, or even best, answer. Ultimately, I think the Diplomads have it right when they say that advancement by anything other than meritocratic means isn't the American way.

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dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

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