Interior Secretary Says “Diversity Isn’t Important”, “I Care About Excellence”…Controversy Ensues

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“If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.” – Dr. Thomas Sowell

CNN.com reports that

Several employees at the Interior Department have told CNN that Secretary Ryan Zinke repeatedly says that he won’t focus on diversity, an apparent talking point that has upset many people within the agency.

Three high-ranking Interior officials from three different divisions said that Zinke has made several comments with a similar theme, saying “diversity isn’t important,” or “I don’t care about diversity,” or “I don’t really think that’s important anymore.”

Each time, Zinke followed with something along the lines of, “what’s important is having the right person for the right job,” or “I care about excellence, and I’m going to get the best people, and you’ll find we have the most diverse group anyone’s ever had,” the sources said.

Interior last year unexpectedly reassigned 33 senior executive staffers, of which 15 were minorities, according to the lawyer of one of the staffers who was moved. Some of those who were reassigned have filed complaints with the US Merit Systems Board.

The accusations against Zinke come as he is under investigation by multiple agencies, including Interior’s inspector general and Office of Special Counsel, regarding employee reassignment and taxpayer spending on possible politically related travel.

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift vehemently denied that Zinke said anything along those lines of criticizing the need for diversity, saying, “the anonymous claims made against the secretary are untrue.”

Swift added, “As a woman who has worked for him for a number of years in senior positions, I say without a doubt this claim is untrue, and I am hopeful that they are a result of a misunderstanding and not a deliberate mistruth.”

Swift pointed to two women and an African-American who Zinke has appointed to senior leadership positions, and said “Zinke has filled several other senior positions at the career and appointed level with individuals from diverse backgrounds.”

The government mandated action of giving preference to job applicants based on their ethnicity, known as “Affirmative Action”, sprang out of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.

It was intended to provide equal opportunities for members of minority groups and women in education and employment.

In 1961, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the first to use the term “affirmative action” in an Executive Order which forced government contractors to take “affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” That Executive Order also established the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, now known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

An institution or organization engages in Affirmative Action when it attempts to improve opportunities for historically excluded groups in American society by establishing a “quota system” to make up for perceived “past transgressions”.

These policies usually involve employment and education. In institutions of higher education, affirmative action involves admission policies that seek to provide equal access to education for those groups that have been historically excluded or underrepresented, such as women and minorities, at times, skipping over a more qualified candidate, in order to promote “Diversity”.

Needless to say, questions concerning the constitutionality of Affirmative Action has made the topic one of heated debate.

Affirmative action policies initially focused on improving opportunities for African Americans in employment and education.

In the past several years, several states have discontinued their Affirmative Action Policies because Affirmative Action has become outdated, and has caused a form of reverse discrimination by favoring one group over another, based on racial preference rather than academic or business achievement.

During the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, as Cabinet and Administration Positions were filled, it appeared that more emphasis was paid to ethnicity and the size of the candidate’s Democratic Party Donation, than their qualifications for those positions.

It was as if Obama and his advisors were making a point to show just how “diverse” his Administration was going to be, competency be d@mned.

Conversely, President Trump and his advisors are making sure that the best candidates possible are filling available positions within this Administration, including the Diplomatic Corps, with competency and the ability to excel in the performance of the job and not ethnicity or sexual orientation being the criteria for a candidate’s selection.

That being said, one of Trump’s selections for an Ambassador Position happens to be Gay…and Congress has not approved him, yet.

Democratic Intolerance? Say it isn’t so.

But, I digress…

This story caught my eye due to the fact that my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee is getting ready for next week’s remembrance of the 50th Anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I wonder how Dr. King would feel, 50 years later, about candidates for positions within the Department of the Interior being judged not “by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”?

Until He Comes,

KJ

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