In her first public speech as our new African-American ambassador to the United Nations, career diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield described the country she now represents on the world stage as a racist nation in which "the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles."
With all due respect, I reject the ambassador's characterization of our freedom-loving country. As the conservative Wall Street Journal opined in a recent editorial, "Judging by her recent remarks (to Al Sharpton's National Action Network), her recitation of America's sins could have come from China's Global Times."
"How about American progress on race since the founding, such as the Civil War that ended slavery, or the civil rights movement?" the Journal asked. "Ms. Thomas-Greenfield seems to believe her job is to bring critical race theory to the world, with a special focus on criticizing her own country."
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who believes the U.S. Foreign Service should look more like America (and so do I), bought into critical race theory by naming another African-American career diplomat, Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, as the State Department's first chief diversity officer. She recently wrote an article for the Foreign Service Journal saying "State has lost too many of us (minorities) because of bias, quiet discrimination and indifference" and recommending "benchmarks" in State Department hiring policies. That sounds like quotas to me, and quotas are a bad idea because American diplomats should be chosen on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin.
As a flag-waving Foreign Service retiree, let me comment on the diversity officer's tendentious statements. During my 28-year diplomatic career, I was honored to work for two of America's highest ranking black ambassadors, Terence A. Todman in Spain in the 1980s and Edward J. Perkins in Australia in the 1990s. Neither of these world-class diplomats ever mentioned race or skin color in making delicate foreign policy decisions and recommendations. In fact Todman, who grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands, sent a young black junior officer home because she couldn't meet his very exacting standards.
Perkins, who had been our ambassador to South Africa during the apartheid era, and his lovely Chinese-American wife, Lucy, befriended me and my beautiful Mexican-American wife, Consuelo, in what was an enjoyable diplomatic diversity cocktail. All four of us, with our very diverse backgrounds, were proud to represent the greatest country on earth. We illustrated the American melting pot and the importance of immigration because only one of us was a white male.
Now before my critics – the usual suspects – start screaming "racism," let me remind you that I was the Guy who tried to integrate his college fraternity, the one who roomed with the only black officer in his Air Force squadron, and who was the spokesman for Nevada's gaming control agencies when then-Gov. Grant Sawyer integrated Silver State casinos in the mid-1960s. Before that hard-earned breakthrough, Nevada was known as "the Mississippi of the West." Just sayin'.
Thomas-Greenfield's criticism of the country she represents reminds me of former President Barack Obama's "apology tours" where he went around the world apologizing for America's shortcomings. That role will now fall to our new U.N. ambassador along with President Biden's "Climate Czar," failed presidential candidate and ex-Secretary of State John Kerry, who will travel the world blaming the U.S. for climate change and/or global warming while giving countries like China and India free passes because they're "developing nations." Blame America first? Nonsense!
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.