Letter to the Editor

The importance of diversity

Throughout its coverage of President Obama’s selection of his new Cabinet, The Post has done a disservice to the merits of diversity. For instance, your Jan. 10 news article “Labor Secretary Solis quits her post” noted that Hilda Solis was the first Hispanic woman to hold her position, but you didn’t explain why this is important. Left implicit is the idea that diversity is good for sake of gender and racial equality. This is only part of the issue.

As Jennifer Rubin made clear in her Jan. 11 Right Turn blog excerpt “Diversity, the real kind,” diversity is not about gender or racial bean-counting. Women and minorities have specific perspectives and life experiences, which are essential to a holistic understanding of policy issues. Diversity at the Cabinet level is therefore not simply about gender and racial equality, it is also about good policymaking and governance.

So long as major publications like The Post cover issues of diversity in terms of bean-counting, our public discourse will misconstrue the merits of diversity in public office and, as a nation, we will continue to be worse off.

Avery Schmidt, Somerville, Mass.

In the Jan. 11 assessment of President Obama’s new Cabinet picks, “From team of rivals to band of brothers,” The Post repeats a commonly heard myth about Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner: that he once worked on Wall Street. Unless you count his time as president of the New York Fed, Geithner has never worked in the financial industry. Moreover, lack of Wall Street experience is not a disqualification for the top Treasury job; of the past 10 secretaries, only four (Donald Regan, Nicholas Brady, Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson) have come from the financial sector. The others came from a variety of fields: business (Paul O’Neill and John Snow), law (James Baker), politics (Lloyd Bentsen), academics (Lawrence Summers) and the civil service (Geithner). Based on the policy challenges likely to test the next secretary, Jack Lew’s experience and substantive skills strike me as entirely plausible for the job.

Matthew P. Goodman, Washington

 
Read what others are saying