The Democratic Party regularly attempts to present themselves as champions of diversity at the forefront of lifting up minorities to dispel past prejudices as they strive for equity and inclusion, but even President Joe Biden, who pledged his administration “would look like America,” is proving the liberal agenda is little more than talking points as black staffers continue to flee the White House for greener pastures.
In recent months there have been some shakeups at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue widely discussed like Symone Sanders departing her role as spokeswoman for Vice President Kamala Harris and White House press secretary Jen Psaki joining her over at MSNBC. Now, according to Politico, there are at least 21 black staffers who have already left or are looking for their way out and they don’t have much that’s positive to report on their experiences working for Biden’s team.
With all of the bluster that the president had made in selecting Harris as his running mate and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as his first nomination for the Supreme Court because they are black women, Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, expressed his concern over the shifting demographics within the White House.
“I have heard about an exodus of Black staffers from the White House — ‘Blaxit’ — and I am concerned. Black voters accounted for 22 percent of President Biden’s voters in November 2020,” Overton said. “It is essential that Black staffers are not only recruited to serve in senior, mid-level and junior White House positions, but are also included in major policy and personnel decisions and have opportunities for advancement.”
Newly minted White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre pushed aside any concerns about the makeup of the administration and said, “The president is incredibly proud to have built what continues to be the most diverse White House staff in history, and he is committed to continuing historic representation for Black staff and all communities. This is a normal time for turnover across the board in any administration and Black staff have been promoted at a higher rate than staff who are not diverse.”
Press assistant Natalie Austin also touted the company line of a pleasant experience as she made her way out, telling Politico in an email, “I worked for both the President and the Vice President during the campaign cycle, and considered the chance to serve the American people in the Biden-Harris White House nothing short of an honor. I loved my experience on the press team, and left because I wanted a chance to spend more time with family after nearly three years straight of campaigns and government work.”
However, several black officials currently working within the White House told a much different story, seeking anonymity for their testimony. In their statements, they presented a case that they may have been hired just to fill a quota as one said, “We’re here and we’re doing a lot of work but we’re not decision-makers and there’s no real path toward becoming decision-makers. There is no real feedback and there’s no clear path to any kind of promotions.”
Another official went on record stating, “They brought in a ton of Black people generally to start without ever establishing an infrastructure to retain them or help them be successful. If there is no clear infrastructure of how to be successful, you become just as invisible in this space than you would be if you were not in it.”
Shake-up among WH staff, top Biden advisor headed to new role ahead of midterms https://t.co/BmmhWCW69C
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) April 26, 2022
Cedric Richmond the former director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, another black official who left to become a senior advisor at the Democratic National Committee inadvertently revealed that while Biden knocks corporations for not offering fair wages, those working for him feel equally undervalued.
“A lot of people have been at this grind [for a while] and it’s a hard grind,” Richmond offered and expressed, “a slowing down of the work pace and a better salary becomes more attractive.”
“For young African American staffers who can make these types of salaries, it doesn’t just change their plight but their family’s plight,” he went on of the better opportunities that were available outside of the apparent token roles within the White House.
A third anonymous official conceded to Politico, “The pay in the White House is not traditionally very good and a lot of Black folks in these roles don’t come from wealthy families.”
The most severe testimony that Biden’s efforts for equity were little more than a “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” as Shakespeare once wrote, came from the first anonymous official who said, “They gave us a mandate to execute on all the things that we promised and not only are we not delivering on that front, but then we’re not also delivering to the staff that came in on the basis of that promise. People go home to their families or their communities, and what can they point to specifically? They can’t even point to their own experiences as positive.”
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