President Obama'sNational Security Adviser Susan Rice stated in her May 11th
CommencementAddress at Florida International University that there are too many
white malesin top jobs in America's national security agencies, particularly Ivy
Leaguewhite males who attended classes in those ivy-covered old brick buildings
atone of the eight distinguished Ivy League schools in the East -- Yale,
Harvard,Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and the University
"Too often," Rice told the graduates, "our national security workforce has beenwhat former Florida Senator Bob Graham called 'white, male and Yale.'"
I don't know howmuch ivy was growing on the bricks in the prestigious and elite
settings whereSusan Rice spent her formative years, but it's clear she didn't get her job atthe White House by way of a second-rate degree from a backwoods school andyears of inconsequential networking.
Her mother, LoisDickson Rice, is a scholar in economic studies at Brookings and
previouslyserved as Vice President and Board member of the College Entrance
ExaminationBoard as well as Senior Vice President of the Control Data
Corporation,directing the corporation's public policy interface with various levels ofgovernment.
Her father, Emmett John Rice (1919-2011), served with the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. After the war, he earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, was a Fulbright scholar in India, a CornellUniversity
economics professor and a governor of the Federal Reserve System. Hewent on to be Acting Director of the U.S. Treasury Department's Office ofDeveloping Nations, Executive Director for the World Bank's International Bankfor Reconstruction and Development, and Senior Vice President of the National Bank of Washington.
Born in Washington,D.C., Susan Rice attended National Cathedral School, a prep
academy, becoming her class valedictorian. She graduatedfrom Stanford University in California, earning a Rhodes scholarship, and laterreceived degrees in international affairs at the University of Oxford in England.
Referring to the aforementioned criticism from Sem. Graham about national security workforces being too "white,male and Yale," Rice added some numbers to reinforce the point.
"Minorities still make upless than 20 percent of our senior diplomats, less than 15 percent of seniormilitary officers and senior intelligence officials," she stated, whileminorities are "nearly 40 percent" of the U.S. population.
More variety in the workplace, asserted Rice, is directly correlated toimproved
effectiveness, better decision making, and superior results: "Adiverse national
security workforce enables us to unlock all of our nation's talent."
More precisely, "By now, we should all know the dangers of 'groupthink,' where folks who are alike often think alike," she said. "By contrast, groupscomprised of different people tend to question one another's assumptions, drawon divergent
perspectives and experiences, and yield better outcomes."
Ms.Rice would be performing an important public service if she applied that concept of groupthink dangers to the world of academia.
As reported by Manhattan Institute senior fellow Jason L. Riley in his recent Wall Street Journal column, "I Was Disinvited on Campus," Profs. Jon Shieldsand Joshua Dunn Sr. in "Passing on the Right," their new book on the scarcityof conservative professors in America's colleges and universities, report thatfaculty surveys in the humanities and social sciences show that the percentageof self-described Marxist professors is around 18 percent, or nearly doublethat of self-described Republicans.
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics and the B. KennethSimon
professor of free enterprise at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
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