/  06.01.2022

Roughly 21 Black staffers have made an exit from the White House since late last year citing a toxic work environment and no chance for upward mobility, Politico reports.

The first huge exit occured in December 2021 when Vice President Kamala Harris’ senior adviser and chief spokesperson Symone Sanders announced that she was leaving. She ultimately took on a new role as a correspondent for MSNBC.

Other departures include Harris senior aides Tina Flournoy, Ashley Etienne and Vincent Evans. Press assistant Natalie Austin, National Economic Council aides Joelle Gamble and Connor Maxwell, and a host of others are among the notable staff that has made an exit.

According to both current and former White House officials, the name for the mass exodus has been coined as a “Blaxit” and has raised eyebrows among outside resources that advocate for a more diverse government.

“I have heard about an exodus of Black staffers from the White House — ‘Blaxit’ — and I am concerned,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “Black voters accounted for 22 percent of President Biden’s voters in November 2020. It is essential that Black staffers are not only recruited to serve in senior, mid-level and junior White House positions, but are also included in major policy and personnel decisions and have opportunities for advancement.”

The Joint Center of Political and Economic Studies keeps a record of government staff diversity numbers, which a White House official says is expected to increase as the administration plans to hire more Black staffers.

“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,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “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.”

On the contrary, a current worker says that this is not the case.

“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,” said one of the current Black White House officials. “There is no real feedback and there’s no clear path to any kind of promotions.”


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