• Your State Department: Male, Pale, Likely Yale

    February 1, 2013

    Posted in: Embassy/State

    The new Secretary of State will fit right in at State, being a white man from Yale (the previously Secretary fit two of the three criteria as well).

    In the good ol’ days, there were three requirements to join the Foreign Service and represent America abroad: be male, pale and Yale. The Foreign Service was distinctly male, Caucasian and very Ivy League. Luckily, America has moved on from all that; indeed, in many states non-Whites are even allowed to vote and marry. You know, melting pot, chicks can have jobs, all that stuff you see on the tee vee box.

    Except at the State Department. Have a look:


    The Civil Service is U.S.-based personnel, mostly in Washington DC. In the Foreign Service, the part of the State Department that staffs embassies and consulates abroad, the people that foreigners meet, the ratios are, well, kinda off. Like “it’s 1950 all over again Mrs. Cleaver.”

    Only about one out of every three Foreign Service elites is babe-a-licious; two-thirds are dudes, just like in the rest of America, hells yeah!

    For you White folks, all’s well. The Foreign Service is happily, blindingly and outstandingly W-H-I-T-E, eighty percent White. The number a’ Black folk and Asians is pretty much alike at State, guessin’ here ’cause them Asian fellas are good at test taking.

    There ain’t none of dem’ ol’ statistics published on where all dem’ White men folks went to school, but we can assume that the Ivy League and its running dog Georgetown University are well-represented. Yes, suh.

    America. Just as it should be, courtesy of your Department of State.

    Bonus: On State’s own list of “Ten Things You Should Know About the State Department,” Number 10 says that State’s employees “are the embodiments [sic] of our American values abroad.” Indeed.

    Super Bonus: In what we all hope is her last public appearance, still-lingering SecState Hillary said “If women and girls everywhere were treated as equal to men, we would see and political and economic progress everywhere.”

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Hey, State is still better at the EEO game than the NFL is in hiring black coaches. Gee, I hope this doesn’t mar Hillary’s farewell. Had to laugh at this CNN headline:


      “As she left her home for her last day on the job, Clinton didn’t acknowledge a CNN producer’s question about the Ankara attack.”

      Wouldn’t want another terrorist attack or the violence in Iraq, Egypt and the rest of our liberated democracies to mar her farewell.

      02/1/13 7:34 PM | Comment Link

    • JVC said...


      I’ve known some pretty smart cookies who have taken and not passed the foreign service officers exam.
      My impression was that you had best be finishing a bachelors in poly sci/foreign affairs or be in the midst of a Masters in same, to have a shot at passing that thing.
      My guess is people in the Ivy League are coached in those issues in a way others are not.
      My pre-We Meant Well, pre-personal involvement in the fed gov impression of State was that it was the bees knees as far as ideal federal employers.
      My guess is State is among the last of the Old Guard in the civilian federal service where public perceptions trump all. Particularly foreign public perceptions.
      Your overweight minority dweller in inner city detroit or the San Joaquin Valley of California is a shoe in for the entry level GS-5 job with the Veterans Administration or US Forest Service. Fat chance they’re going to wind up or have the acumen to be a FSO attending cocktail parties in Rome. Just don’t see it happening, be it latent racism or FSOT scores.

      02/2/13 12:08 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      My last assignment at the State Department was with the Board of Examiners, the people who administer the oral exams for those who want to be FSOs and have passed the written and autobiographical portions of the process. We’ll get to those stories here in due time.

      02/2/13 12:13 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      It might come to where the CIA wants a lookie see and some input when FSO applicants are being scrutinized (as if that probably isn’t the norm by now). I assume if you want to work for State today you will end up working- whether knowingly or unknowingly- for the CIA directly or indirectly.

      02/2/13 3:06 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      Even President Clinton had an effort to diversify state representation in the State Department’s work force. That went by the wayside as the local programs also seem to have a strong grasp on the internships — also a back door to hiring at State.

      Graduates of state universities — who can be as or more qualified than ivy league or local graduates — are lagging in being considered for jobs at State.

      One of the “professionals’ involved in my retaliation experience was hired into the foreign service while receiving credit for work I had performed — for which I was simultaneously penalized in writing. (I was faulted for “taking initiative” lol I am not making this up).

      Another young hiree with political ties to the neo-cons – was hired into the foreign service a month after her one year consideration for foreign service expired. A civil service position in ECA/A/E/SCA had been “opened” for her to fill for a couple of months while she had waited on a foreign service position — enabling her to beat out veteran status applicants who had applied for that CS job.

      She occupied the CS job only a couple of months until her foreign service paperwork was processed and then she left for the foreign service. A staffperson raised a complaint and someone else with protected status was then hired into the same CS position to make it seem like EEO considerations were being honoured. No veteran applicants were hired. Neither female employee had much in the way of job experience: one had not previously worked and the other had worked for a neo-con senator, then the ECA/A DAS as contractor for a year. In fact, when vets applied for the CS position, ECA HR Director pulled the job announcement, had it re-written, and the position recompeted a second time so that the girl waiting for the foreign service position would indeed be hired into the CS position.

      She would be sent for her first foreign service assignment to eastern europe — so she could be near her boyfriend’s eastern european family. One has to wonder what is going on in the hiring world at State and how it can claim to be a “competitive” workforce when the playing field isnt exactly level or honest

      02/2/13 4:22 AM | Comment Link

    • JVC said...


      @ Kyzl… Wow. I’m sorry you had to endure that. Same mechanisms at work in my agency but that’s pretty bad.

      02/2/13 5:53 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      I’m almost hesitant to point this out since PVB and I usually agree on important matters, but then I think PVB has the integrity to acknowledge some room for disagreement, so here goes:

      “The Foreign Service is happily, blindingly and outstandingly W-H-I-T-E, eighty percent White.”

      If it’s 80 percent “white” then it approximately reflects the proportion of “whites” in America’s population, give or take a few percentage points depending on how we define “white”. (Does White include Obama?) So how is that a problem?

      “There ain’t none of dem’ ol’ statistics published on where all dem’ White men folks went to school, but we can assume that the Ivy League and its running dog Georgetown University are well-represented.”

      And yes THAT is the nub of it! The skewed statistics are not based on race, but on social class.

      I wish more Americans – of whom most of the commenters here are among the most intelligent and honest – would get over the myth that “race” is the main basis of America’s social inequities. It’s not race, it’s money and how money mainly defines social class including access to elite universities. And that includes His Mulatto Majesty Obama, who was not born poor and who benefitted from racial preferences for being the RIGHT KIND of “Black”!

      In other words, I’d like to see some statistics on how many of those “whites” in the State Department were born and raised POOR! Or even working class. Very few I’ll wager, which goes back to the preponderance of grads from the most expensive universities, where the LEAST advantaged are those who are poor AND White!

      And let’s please refrain from any implied calumnies upon Southern Whites, who have long been among the poorest and most disadvantaged of all Americans, and the most excoriated by the Champagne Liberals of NY, LA and the Beltway:


      02/2/13 1:24 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      PS to my above comment, to clarify where I’m coming from:

      Although I’m a self-described Burkean conservative (let’s say my ideology is around 70 percent Edmund Burke and 30 percent Thomas Jefferson), still paradoxically (or not?) I have MORE sympathy with REAL class struggle, and with Marxism, than Obama does, or than most American so-called “progressives” do. The latter have sold out the working class to the interests of the Managerial State and its Secular Trinity of “race, gender and sodomy”.

      In other words, the main reason for my hostility to the so-called “Left” is that they no longer give a damn about the reality of economic class conflict. Consequently, the bitter irony is that I, a very conservative man indeed, wish Americans would take Marx more seriously!

      I salute Karl Marx for THIS!:


      02/2/13 2:02 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      The ONLY requirement for any male joining the Foreign Service is a box for their balls and for the rest a place to store their spines and conscience.

      02/2/13 3:07 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Rich Bauer wrote:

      “The ONLY requirement for any male joining the Foreign Service is a box for their balls and for the rest a place to store their spines and conscience.”

      Well that would explain the preponderance of Yalies among them.

      02/2/13 4:05 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Number 11: We are fucking delusional.

      Speaking of: In an interview published over the weekend, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta blasted even the notion of allowing any military budget cuts going forward, insisting that following through on the sequestration cuts, mostly just cuts in the rate of growth rather than in real dollars, would turn the United States into a “second-rate power.”

      But then, you knew that.

      02/3/13 2:40 PM | Comment Link

    • Jack said...


      Are you advocating a quota? You are through your arguments. It doesn’t have to be formal to have the same effect.

      02/4/13 3:39 AM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...


      The new Secretary of State will fit right in at State, being a white
      Do you think so?

      Let see the view of one from Bush followers, “ Long time US Foreign Service Officer; now retired; have served all over the world and under all sorts of conditions. Convinced the State Department needs to be drastically slashed and reformed so that it will no longer pose a threat to the national interests of the United States.”

      I am disgusted beyond words.

      This is a man who openly consorted with the enemies of the United States, openly gave comfort and support to those enemies while fellow Americans were on the battlefield fighting those enemies, lied about his service in SE Asia, and, to top it off, has shown no particular knowledge about or understanding of the role of the United States in the world. With Jane Fonda, he was our generation’s version of Lord Haw-Haw, Tokyo Rose, and Ezra Pound all rolled into one; unlike those other traitors, and along with Jane Fonda not only did he pay no penalty for supporting the enemy in a time of war, he prospered financially and politically.

      He is now to be our Secretary of State.

      02/4/13 4:22 AM | Comment Link

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