White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a speech Wednesday that national security agencies are too “white, male and Yale.”
Rice, who is herself black, delivered a speech at Florida International University, in which she argued these agencies should better reflect the diversity present in America, The Washington Times reports.
For Rice, the problem with having too many white males is that a sort of “groupthink” environment is fostered. Through bringing in racial minorities, this groupthink can be shattered.
“By now, we should all know the dangers of ‘groupthink,’ where folks who are alike often think alike,” Rice said. “By contrast, groups comprised of different people tend to question one another’s assumptions, draw on divergent perspectives and experiences, and yield better outcomes.”
Rice told students to “ignore the haters” who would “disparage our diversity.”
“Those voices can be loud. They can be intimidating,” Rice said. “They can make us feel like we don’t belong. Let fear be their problem, not yours. Shake it off.”
She pointed to statistics showing what she considers to be under-representation in the national security apparatus.
“Minorities still make up less than 20 percent of our senior diplomats [and] less than 15 percent of senior military officers and senior intelligence officials,” Rice said.
President Barack Obama has fully thrown his support behind the idea of placing as many non-whites into senior government positions as possible. Instead of prioritizing intelligence, relevant experience or other relevant factors, he has long advocated appointing minority figureheads into positions of power, citing similar arguments to Rice. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has noted that Obama appointed 120 minority judges, a figure far higher than any other president in the past.
Ironically, despite following this approach wholeheartedly, the Obama administration has been accused of silencing dissent from skeptical voices in the Pentagon and on the National Security Council. Prioritization of racial diversity has emphatically not eliminated ideological homogeneity and conformity. In fact, the exact opposite is well-noted by former secretaries of defense.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has charged that Obama continually brings on advisers who do little else but agree with him.
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