Where Are the Black Think Tankers? Commentary and Questions for Further Research
First and foremost, who the hell am I to conduct a study like this? I’m a young professional in DC with a curious mind (read more About Me). I also have some street smarts, and I’m well traveled and relatively cultured. This doesn’t mean that I know it all. It means that I know enough to be comfortable making gut-calls about a person’s ethnicity based on a picture on their employer’s website. I’m also comfortable taking the humble approach and saying that I don’t know. You can trust that I grouped individuals into the “Not Sure” category quite liberally; after all, I’m of mixed heritage (Indian and American-Jewish). I’ve been mistaken for Hispanic, Persian, Greek, Italian, and Arabic. I understand well what ethnic ambiguity looks like. I also know that “Singh” is a last name from the subcontinent and that “Rivera” is probably of Hispanic origin. So with a combination of culture, intelligence, experience, and instinct, I proceeded with this study.
Questions for Further Research
- Where are the female think tankers?
- Of the black think tankers counted in this study, where are they working within their respective organizations? I have a hunch that blacks are overwhelmingly invested in “Africa Studies” — more so even than can be said for other minority groups and their region of origin.
- Are blacks represented in similar numbers at other institutions within the Research Industry? Across Lobbies? Advocacy Firms?
- Assuming that there’s no active racism going on here (a safe assumption, I think), then a potential conclusion is that blacks don’t want to work in some of these think tanks. If so, why? Is research in the humanities a “privilege” in the sense that its profitability is typically less than research in the hard sciences like medicine?
- Where Are the Black Think Tankers? Findings: Graphs and Charts (jafriedel.wordpress.com)
- Where Are the Black Think Tankers? Background (jafriedel.wordpress.com)
- Where Are the Black Think Tankers? Methodology (jafriedel.wordpress.com)