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.


Anonymous said...

I have been waiting for more African Americans to be chosen for a position in Obama's cabinet. I am so diaapointed that there is only one so far, Mr. Holder. Now I am white but believe strongly in diversity and am disappointed in the lack of color within his new cabinet choice. Females are well represented but ethnicity is not. I, for one, am disappointed as I pushed, campaigned, and voted for Mr. Obabam as did many in my family.

Anonymous said...

I also appear dyslexic since I can't seem to speel today. LOL

Anonymous said...

I'm so tired of people focusing on color, and the term "people of color". Caucasian is a color too. Who cares what "color" the cabinet members are? If they're qualified and can do a good job, then that's all that matters. Stop whining about color. That's just plain shallow. Push for qualifications, experience, and good moral character; that's what we really need for this country.

Anonymous said...

We got a HNWIC, black folks don't have to work no more

Anonymous said...

I blame the NAACP and all "AA Leaders". They were slow to support Mr. Obama. Instead of being caught by surprise, they should have had someone like in they vision and strategy. He got to the White House on his own merit, so he can do what ever pleases him. That being said, he should care about the larger African American community. They came out to vote for him, 94% to be accurate. Despite they leader's lack of vision, they were quick and unwiavering to suport and vote for him. For his community sake, he should appoint more African Americans in his cabinet. We will still support him in this difficult economic period, but he should know that we are not like our leaders. We are not passive or forgetful. He has rewarded a community, one that openly bedeviled him and strongly supported Clinton just to crash a black man, with 7 cabinet positions. We will wait!