A Letter for Diversity

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the population of the United States is more diverse than ever. In the 2010 Census, Texas was 37.6 percent Hispanic/Latino, 11.8 percent African-American, and 3.8 percent Asian, which closely resembles the demographic makeup of the United States as a whole. However, the diversity of Texas and the U.S. is not reflected in the racial and ethnic composition of the LBJ School, especially among Latinos and African-Americans. In fall 2011, the student body was only 15.6 percent Hispanic/Latino and 3.2 percent African-American. While an exactly proportionate reflection of the U.S. population is not inherently valuable, the current disproportionality is problematic for multiple reasons. First, as a graduate school focused on training students for public service, it is important for LBJ graduates to reflect the public that we are training to serve. As professionals who are being trained for leadership in a democratic society that draws authority directly from its people, it is important that servant leaders reflect the ‘people.’ This is currently not the case. Second, as public servants, we will enter careers inevitably influenced by politics, and developing the cultural competencies and skills necessary to navigate complex political and social situations is critical for success. Working for a diverse public that holds an array of community values requires thoughtful reflection and preparation, which we feel we are currently...

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