Diversity in government workforce is on the minds of Federal Diary readers

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Federal Diary gets lots of mail, some of it fit to print. We give readers a chance to speak out by occasionally publishing some of their letters.

Thank you for the column on the Temple University program that is helping to create diversity in the National Park Service. It hit home because my wife and I recently took our two grandchildren to Fort McHenry.

We, along with dozens of other visitors, helped raise a full-scale flag under the guidance of NPS intern Tia Solomon.

There were several other Park Service employees of color, some in uniform, others in reenactment dress. Another uniformed black young lady gave the lecture that accompanied the movie in the visitors' center. There were other black rangers in the fort itself: one lady in a period dress and two men in 1812 sailor uniforms who gave a rousing display of how to use a saber in combat.

Fifty years ago, I remember my parents taking me to Mount Vernon and Williamsburg. The black employees only portrayed slaves or servants. I am very glad that my grandchildren were not exposed to that.

It is a good thing that diversity can be increased by such programs as the ProRangers at Temple University.

-- William Price Sr., Aspen Hill

'Thinly veiled' bias excuse

Articles about diversity, such as the one Price mentioned and a recent column about an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report on the federal workforce, sometimes generate complaints of discrimination against white people.

Why do you and your Postie ilk, like Al Kamen, persist in the sordid business of classifying people by race, ethnicity and sex? Having been a U.S. government official for the better part of 50 years, the last 30 as a supervisor, I know firsthand that "diversity" is just a thinly veiled excuse for discrimination against straight white, American males.

I absolutely refuse to hire on any other basis than experience and potential to do the job. Performance evaluations depend on performance, period. I have a small staff of 10, with two among them absolutely outstanding performers, one an African American woman, the other a white guy. I make sure both get extra support when needed for their work projects, give them lots of autonomy and award them cash bonuses each year.

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