Sunday, November 23, 2008

Black Folks In The Obama Cabinet?

Now that Hillary Clinton has accepted Obama's sec. of state offer this may be a good time to take a look backwards. It may be wise for the Obama team to do the same.

Black folks, yes Blacks and Latinos Americans, like all Americans, are watching the new Obama administration closely regarding his Cabinet appointments. Many are wondering if diversity will be an issue in Obama’s Administration? In fact, many are wondering, will Obama's Cabinet favor whites? Black folks are even wondering if will get better Access to the White House.

As US Today noted a number of years ago, until Bill Clinton, Presidential Cabinets were overwhelmingly the province of white Anglo men. They made up 85% of the appointments by President Reagan, who over eight years had only one African-American and one Hispanic in his Cabinet. White Anglo men made up 71% of the first President Bush's Cabinet. (The Cabinet statistics in this story reflect those offices designated by law as Cabinet posts. Some presidents have chosen to give other officials comparable Cabinet-level status.) More HERE

Clinton promised to change the government's complexion. "My commitment is to give you an administration that looks like America," he said during the 1992 campaign. "I would be astonished if my Cabinet and my administration and my staff ... is not the most fully integrated this country has ever seen."

Over eight years and 29 appointments, Clinton had in his Cabinet five women, seven African-Americans, three Hispanics (one of them named to two posts) and one Asian-American.

Over four years and 24 appointments, Bush has named to his Cabinet five women, four African-Americans, three Hispanics and two Asian-Americans.

Before Bush, no person of color had been named to any of the four most prestigious Cabinet jobs — at the departments of State, Treasury, Defense and Justice. Now he has named two blacks as secretary of State and a Mexican-American as attorney general.

When Clinton was elected to his first four-year term in 1992, one of the first things he did was appoint Blacks to his Cabinet. Among the Black Cabinet appointees during his two terms in office were Ron Brown, U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Mike Espy, Secretary of Agriculture; Alexis Herman, Secretary of Labor; Hazel O'Leary, Secretary of Energy; Rodney Slater, Secretary of Transportation; Jesse Brown, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, who was succeeded by Togo West, and Dr. Jocelyn Elders, U.S. Surgeon General, who was succeeded by Dr. David Satcher.

Clinton also appointed nine Blacks as assistants to the president--the highest rank in the White House. Among those appointments were Ben Johnson, director of the President's Initiative for One America; Maggie Williams, the first lady's chief of staff; Alexis Herman, director of public liaison, White House, who later became labor secretary; Minyon Moore, director, political affairs; Terry Edmonds, director of speech writing; Thurgood Marshall Jr., director of Cabinet Affairs; Mark Lindsey, director of administration, and Bob Nash, director of personnel. Source

In Clinton's first term, 47% of those he appointed to the Cabinet were women or people of color. Bush had precisely the same percentage in his first term. By the end of Clinton's second term, his figure had risen to 52%. Source

Now the question is what will Barack Obama do? The Latino community may be happy with 1 slot, should we? I appreciate the reassurences from the Obama administration. Lets see if Powell, Clyburn, Rice and others gain Cabinet Posts.


1 comment:

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there!

I am happy with the selection of Desiree Rogers as Social Secretary in the White House... the First Lady is permitted to have a staff and I am waiting to see how many black women that Michelle recruits to support her.

On an unrelated note....
We need all trumpets blaring in cyberspace to protest the racist disparagement of Princeton scholar, Dr. Yolanda Pierce, by seminary students who have not been disciplined.

http://blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com/2008/11/flickering-flame-of-hipster-racism-at.html

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa