Black White House staffers leave in droves

More than 20 black White House staffers have left the Biden administration since late last year, an exodus some are calling a “blaxit,” according to a new report.

While some of the departing employees have left on good terms to pursue additional career or training opportunities, others have attributed the turnover to a lack of mentoring and opportunities, Politico reported Tuesday, citing nine black current and former White House officials.

“We’re here doing a lot of work, but we’re not decision makers and there’s no real way to become decision makers,” said a current outlet employee. “There is no real feedback and there is no clear path to any promotions.”

“They generally brought a lot of black people to start with without ever building any infrastructure to keep them or help them thrive,” said another current official. “If there’s no clear infrastructure for how to be successful, you become just as invisible in this space as if you weren’t.”

Some “people haven’t had the best experiences, and a lot of that has to do with the death of black leadership,” a former official agreed. “Think of any workplace. Black people need someone to go to to strategize and mentor, and we just don’t have that many people to mentor us.

The first departure of a senior black official from the administration came in December, when Symone Sanders, Vice President Kamala Harris’ senior adviser and chief spokesperson, left to take a hosting stint at MSNBC.

Sources say more than 20 black White House staffers have left the Biden administration since late last year.
Sources say more than 20 black White House staffers have left the Biden administration since late last year.
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Harris Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy, Communications Director Ashley Etienne and Public Engagement Chief Vincent Evans and White House Public Engagement Head Cedric Richmond have since joined the rush to exit.

Other Black White House staffers who will leave are Carissa Smith, Public Engagement Advisor, Kalisha Dessources Figures, Gender Policy Advisor, Linda Etim, Senior Director of the National Security Council, Cameron Trimble, Director of Digital Engagement, Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo, Associate Counsel, Advisors to Chiefs of Staff Elizabeth Wilkins and Niyat Mulugheta, Press Assistant Natalie Austin, National Economic Council staffers Joelle Gamble and Connor Maxwell, and Presidential Staff staffers Danielle Okai, Reggie Greer and Rayshawn Dyson.

Those departures likely won’t be the last, either: White House officials told Politico that Assistant White House Attorney Danielle Conley and Council of Economic Advisers Advisor Saharra Griffin are also expected to leave the government soon.

Of all the officials who have left the government, Richmond’s departure for a post on the Democratic National Committee seems to have hit particularly hard. A former White House aide described the former Louisiana congressman as “core” for black staffers, while a current official called him “big brother” and “the voice of these people,” adding that Richmond’s departure of left-wing aides was “a little twitchy.” ” be .”

Other Black White House staffers are frustrated that they don’t think they’re focusing on issues they consider important for the African American community.

Assistant White House Counsel Danielle Conley and Advisor to the Council of Economic Advisers Saharra Griffin are also expected to leave the government soon.
Assistant White House Counsel Danielle Conley and Advisor to the Council of Economic Advisers Saharra Griffin are also expected to leave the government soon.
Getty Images

“The issues that are the highest priority for our community are no longer at the top of the administration’s priority list,” a current adviser told Politico. “When 10 black men were killed in a grocery store [in Buffalo]it’s business as usual and nobody stops to say to you, ‘Are you alright?’”

“They gave us a mandate to carry out all the things that we promised, and not only are we not delivering on that front, but we’re also not delivering to the staff who came based on that promise,” another stream Official told the outlet. “People are going home to their families or their communities, and what can they point out in particular? They cannot even describe their own experiences as positive.”

Others have cited relatively low wages as a driver of departures.

Richmond revealed to Politico that “a lot of people were in that grind [for a while] … a slowdown in the pace of work and a better salary will become more attractive.”

“For young African American employees who can earn these kinds of salaries, not only is their plight changing, but that of their families as well,” he added.

Salaries for entry-level White House jobs start at about $48,000, according to the report.

“Traditionally, White House pay hasn’t been very good, and many black people in these roles don’t come from wealthy families,” said a black White House official.

Many departures towards the end of the first year in office are not uncommon. While large numbers have left the vice president’s staff, the West Wing has seen several departures across the board, including former press secretary Jen Psaki, who resigned her position for an MSNBC appearance earlier this month.

The administration has defended the departures, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre — the first black woman and LGBT person to hold the role — telling Politico: “This is a normal time for turnover across the board in any administration, and black staff.” were promoted at a higher rate than employees who are not diverse.”

“The President is incredibly proud to have built what remains the most diverse White House staff in history, and he is committed to continuing the historic representation of Black staff and all communities,” she added.

Some employees have cited relatively low salaries as a driving factor behind the departures.
Some staffers have cited relatively low White House salaries as a driving factor behind the departures.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The White House also denied claims of a lack of promotion among black employees, telling the outlet that 15% of that cohort were promoted in the last year. According to the report, about 14 percent of White House staffers identify as Black.

The White House did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for further comment.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/31/african-american-white-house-staffers-leaving-in-mass-numbers/ Black White House staffers leave in droves

JACLYN DIAZ

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