Black representation can go a long way, especially at the highest government positions. Karine Jean-Pierre made history as the first Black White House Press Secretary in June. And Susan Rice currently serves as the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor. Despite these examples, more can always be done, and a new report by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies seemed to agree with that thinking. All signs point to the number of Black people in senior White House positions not adding up to the percentage of Black voting support the Biden administration received in the last election.
As the Joint Center report notes, African Americans accounted for 22 percent of votes for President Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election. However, only 11 percent currently hold positions as commissioned officers in the White House. Those would mean assistants, deputy assistants, and special assistants to the President.
“White House staff indicated that commissioned officers frequently convene with the president, influence his way of thinking, make recommendations, and advise him on important personnel decisions,” the Joint Center wrote of those in the highest statutory roles in the administration.
The Joint Center used the presidential administration’s 2022 Annual Report to Congress on White House Office Personnel to identify the percentages. Currently, 12 percent of Black employees are in the lower-level special assistant positions, while they make up eight percent of Biden’s deputy assistants.
To ensure Black people are represented in higher positions, the Joint Center recommends the Biden administration make it more of a priority to consider Black candidates when positions open. They also call on the White House to publish updated data on the demographics of senior officers and other federal employees more often.