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FBI’s Failure to Diversify Its Ranks Is a ‘Huge Occupational Risk’

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s failure to diversify its ranks is a “huge operational risk” that diminishes the bureau’s ability to protect and serve the public, a senior official told the Pacific Standard

Despite the growing rate of diversity in private and public sector workplaces, the FBI’s agents remain predominately white men.

About 1o months before Trump fired him, James Comey called the lack of diversity “a crisis.”

“Slowly but steadily over the last decade or more, the percentage of special agents in the FBI who are white has been growing,” Comey said in a speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black school in Daytona Beach, Florida. “I’ve got nothing against white people—especially tall, awkward, male white people—but that is a crisis for reasons that you get, and that I’ve worked very hard to make sure the entire FBI understands.”

When it comes to diversity, the FBI has a bitter past. 

Nearly three decades ago, a group of black agents filed suit against the FBI, claiming systemic discrimination that affected performance reviews, promotions and overall workplace culture. Only about 5% of the bureau’s agents were black at the time.

A federal judge sided with the black agents, saying there was “statistical evidence” of racial bias at the FBI, resulting in a settlement in 1993.

“Still, all these years later, the most recent statistics posted publicly by the FBI indicate the bureau remains far less diverse than the population it is drawn from,” the Pacific Standard wrote. “Black agents in 2014 made up a lower percentage of special agents than they did when the discrimination lawsuit was filed, dropping from around 5.3 percent in 1995 to 4.4 percent, according to the FBI website. About 13 percent of the United States population is black. And while nearly 18 percent of the U.S. population is Latino, Latinos made up just 6.5 percent of special agents.”


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