The White House vehemently rebutted a Politico report about an exodus of black staffers that detailed alleged dissatisfaction with their prospects for career advancement as well as a less than desirable work environment, a story that judging by the reaction, is a huge black eye to an administration that has put a high priority on promoting diversity.
“At least 21 Black staffers have left the White House since late last year or are planning to leave soon,” according to Politico. ” Some of those who remain say it’s no wonder why: They describe a work environment with little support from their superiors and fewer chances for promotion.”
The piece, which notes such high-profile departures as Symone Sanders, VP Kamala Harris’ top spokesperson who bolted for MSNBC and director of the White House Office of Public Liaison Cedric Richmond, the former congressman who’s jumping ship for a job with the DNC among others, has been dubbed “Blaxit” by aides “according to one current and one former White House official” whose remarks were reported by Politico.
The Politico article cites “interviews with nine current and former black White House officials,” which includes “three black staffers who currently work in the White House — and were granted anonymity because of fear of reprisal.”
Even more than Barack Obama’s White House, the Biden administration has been obsessive about race to the extent that skin color is prioritized over merits such as candidate Joe Biden’s quick elimination of more qualified individuals by only considering black females to be his running mate and the elevation of black lesbian activist Karine Jean-Pierre to press secretary to replace Jen Psaki, the Politico report represents a serious black eye to its image.
White House Director of African American Media Erica Loewe accused Politico of publishing a misleading story that besmirches “the most diverse White House in history.”
“Instead of including their on-the-record sentiments, Politico singled out Black staff who left at a normal time for general turnover and then intentionally kept their own perspectives about their stories in the dark,” she wrote on Twitter along with a link to a Mediaite piece where she provided quotes from seven current and former black staffers whom she accused Politico of deliberately refusing to include.
Instead of including their on-the-record sentiments, Politico singled out Black staff who left at a normal time for general turnover and then intentionally kept their own perspectives about their stories in the dark. https://t.co/ZGairsjj01
— Erica P. Loewe (@EricaLoewe46) May 31, 2022
In a statement to Mediaite, Lowe who interned during the Obama administration said “Even though far more current and former staff told Politico about their positive experiences, Politico refused to communicate those findings to readers and instead devoted most of this article to comments that reinforce their narrative and present a disingenuous picture of the most diverse White House in history,”
While highlighting the dissatisfaction of the current and former black WH staffers, Politico did include a quote from Jean-Pierre defending Biden’s commitment to diversity.
“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,” KJP said. “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.”
However, Politico paints a far different picture, one that the race-obsessed, narrative-focused White House isn’t pleased about.
Politico reports exodus of Biden’s Black staffers, some frustration among those who remain https://t.co/MnggD06FwB
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) May 31, 2022
“We’re here and we’re doing a lot of work but we’re not decision-makers and there’s no real path towards becoming decision-makers,” a current black White House official is quoted as saying. “There is no real feedback and there’s no clear path to any kind of promotions.”
A former black White House official said that some “people have not had the best experiences and a lot of that has to do with the dearth of black leadership,”
“Think about any workplace. Black folks need some person to go to, to strategize and be a mentor, and we just don’t have as many folks who can be mentors to us,” the official told Politico which reported that several of the staffers “pointed to the departure of Richmond as a particularly difficult blow.”
“They brought in a ton of black people generally to start without ever establishing an infrastructure to retain them or help them be successful,” a current black White House official told the outlet. “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.”
According to a statement issued by a White House official, “As the Administration approaches the 18-month mark, we expect increased staff turnover, which is natural and precedented in any administration around this time,”
“As we look to the future, the Administration is taking concrete actions to ensure we maintain a diverse staff as this point of natural turnover,” the statement continued. “With the infrastructure of our people operations now in place, we will build on the work to date to further our efforts in three key areas: supporting the retention of current White House staff, strengthening the White House’s recruitment efforts, and launching the White House Internship Program, all of which will help maintain a White House staff that looks like and represents America.”
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