Twenty-one black White House staffers have either left or will reportedly leave their administrative posts amid a lack of mentorship and promotion chances.
In the midst of a competitive White House work environment, many black staffers have decided to leave their jobs because “mentorship is hard to come by and opportunity to move up the ranks of a tight-knit operation is exceptionally rare,” according to Politico.
The White House has historically been a competitive workplace, full of ambitious individuals looking to gain experience to turn into a lucrative job outside of the administration. But according to three black White House officials, the black employee exodus has resulted from a lack of promotion or no clear path to “help them be successful.”
“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 black White House employee told Politico. “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.”
At least 21 Black staffers have left the White House since late last year or are planning to leave soon. Some who remain say it’s no wonder why: They describe a work environment with little support from their superiors and fewer chances for promotion.https://t.co/X8uYuviRjO
— POLITICO (@politico) May 31, 2022
Another black White House employee told the publication that being a decision maker has remained elusive during his tenure. “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,” the person said. “There is no real feedback and there’s no clear path to any kind of promotions.”
A third black White House employee told Politico that black people need special mentors to give employees a better experience. “People have not had the best experiences and a lot of that has to do with the dearth of Black leadership,” the employee said. “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.”
In recent months, high profile black White House employees have left, such as former chief spokesperson Symone Sanders, former public engagement head Cedric Richmond, and several staffers of Vice President Kamala Harris.
The administration defended the black exodus from the White House as “normal” while claiming black employees have been promoted above those “who are diverse.”
“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,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.