The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2021

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JULY-AUGUST 2021 37 Michael Honigstein is the political and economic counselor at Embassy Tbilisi. His 20-year Foreign Service career has included tours in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Israel, Sudan and South Sudan, as well as the Bureau of International Organizations’ Human Rights Office. He has received both the State Department’s Democracy and Human Rights Achievement Award and the Mark Palmer Award for the Advancement of Democracy. ThreeMythsThat SustainStructural RacismatState Countering bias and recognizing overt racism are important, but it’s time to go beyond this work and take a hard look at institutional racism in the department. BY M I CHAE L HON I GSTE I N T he State Department’s establishment of diversity and inclusion councils, and the return of anti-bias training, are good tools to deal with the challenge of relatively overt racism. However, I am concerned that too many people at State believe those steps are sufficient. Like most American institutions, our agency has a problem with institutional racism, and that problem will only be solved once we discuss it openly. These conversations have started, in editorials, blogs and two excellent recent issues of The Foreign Service Journal dedi- cated to that topic. Much of this discussion, like the work of the diversity and inclusion councils, has focused on countering bias and recognizing relatively overt racism. That is important, but we must go beyond it and take a hard look at institutional racism in the department. FOCUS PERSPECTIVES ON DIVERSITY & INCLUSION