US: The Foreign Service is too white. We’d know — we’re top diplomats.

Photo of the 2nd Foreign Service class graduated under the auspices of the Rogers Act of 1924.

When we began our careers in the 1970s, the Foreign Service was an exclusive club: overwhelmingly white, male and Ivy League-educated, filled with stuffed shirts in striped pants attending swanky cocktail parties.

For decades, you could quite literally count the number of African Americans in the Foreign Service on one hand. Clifton R. Wharton Sr. (whose son, Clifton Jr., later served as deputy secretary of state) became the first black Foreign Service officer in 1924. By 1949, only four more African Americans had joined. Even in 1976, only 4 percent of Foreign Service officers were black. More than a decade after the Civil Rights Act, America was still presenting a face to the world that looked more like a restrictive country club than our multiracial country.

Like Wall Street and the medical and legal professions of the mid-20th century, the diplomatic corps long drew its members from traditionally elite, exclusive institutions, not themselves very diverse at the time. Moreover, college students of color rarely knew that diplomacy was a professional option for them.

That’s changing. Today, our diplomats are more representative. But we haven’t made nearly enough progress… 

  • I dunno that 2nd row is kinda swarthy lookin.

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      That’s just Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan.

      • just a thought
      • just a thought
        • dance…dancetotheradio

          I’ve got these.
          But, am I ever in love with you!
          I wonder how Bluebottle’s stage directions would have worked on blogs.

          • just a thought

            Probably the way they work in a transcript,..

            Tales of Old Dartmoor

            Bluebottle: Me and Eccles know where it’s gone, Captain.
            Eccles: Yeah. We know.
            Seagoon: Splendid, lads. Tell me where it is and I’ll reduce your sentence from two years to four.
            Bluebottle: Well, it, er, went, um- Thinks: Where did it went? It wented- Eccles?
            Eccles: Yeah?
            Bluebottle: Do you remember, Eccles?
            Eccles: Oh yeah, I remember Eccles.
            Bluebottle: Well, does he know where it wented?
            Eccles: I’ll ask him: Do you know where it wented?
            Bluebottle: What does he say, Eccles?
            Eccles: He hasn’t answered yet, I think he’s out.

            Funny, but not as funny as on the radio, I think.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            As long as you’ve got it written down on a piece of paper.
            You Swine!

          • just a thought

            You silly twisted person, you!

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            What is it Min?
            I don’t know Henry.
            It looks like a battered pudding.

          • Did you put the cat out Min?
            No, I didn’t know it was on fire.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            Dang, it’s so nice to meet fellow Goons.
            I thought I was so alone in my love for them.

          • I won’t claim to be an aficionado. My parents had some records when I was a kid. (I still have them somewhere, but no vinyl player.)

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            I had some tapes when I was a kid, too.
            Always a soft spot for them.
            And then I found them all and gorged myself on them a couple of years ago.
            The BBC would have you pay for them all.
            Public domain should have kicked in twenty years ago.
            At this point they are more important to me than Shakespeare.

          • Minicapt

            Little Bunny Foo Foo
            hopping through the forest
            Scooping up the field mice
            And bashing them on the head!
            Down came the Good Fairy, and she said:
            “Little Bunny Foo Foo
            I don’t wanna see you
            Scooping up the field mice
            And bashing them on the head!
            I will give you three chances,
            Then POOF you’re a Goon.”

            The result: “Hare today, Goon tomorrow”


    • just a thought

      The sissies of yesterday put the “men” of today to shame.

  • Xavier

    Let’s see: You’re saying the Foreign Service was race based, and that’s wrong. Instead, it needs to be race based.

    Did I get that right?

    • Alain


  • Alain

    Fear not just replace these dudes with pride parade types mixed with veiled women (?) hidden in body bags and top it off with some black thugs.

  • canminuteman

    Funny how the country did so much better before they were strengthened through diversity. It’s almost like they knew what they were doing back then

    • Xavier

      It could be that people were indeed hired based on qualifications, and their racial heritage included a tradition of education and hard work. Imagine that.

  • Dana Garcia

    Right, what a fun job, being polite to the elite @holes of the world.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    That’s nice.

    More minorities = more ethnic nepotism, more corruption, and a less efficient organization that is even more closed to those outside the clique.

    • just a thought

      I don’t know. I think a “Foreign Service Black Caucus,” representing a broad spectrum of socialists recruited from the ranks of affirmative action students who can’t understand the language of the country to which they are sent any better than they can understand their native language (presumably English), will be very enriching, culturally speaking – don’t you?

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      White Riot.
      I wanna riot.
      I wanna riot of my own.
      I wanna riot of my own.

  • Ron MacDonald

    Foreign service officers usually have very high IQ’s, diversity for the sake of diversity will lower the standard and America will pay the price.

    • Alain

      Affirmative action always results in this.

    • America is already paying – look what happened with Hillary and Jihad Huma as top diplomats.

  • simus1

    “A diplomat, eh? Well, I suppose one has to do something.”

    “An ambassador is an honest man sent abroad to lie and intrigue for the benefit of his country.” – Henry Wotton

    Philby’s set were nonplussed that he had betrayed his country.

    What filled them with consternation was that he had betrayed his class.