President Joe Biden’s administration has seen a wave of resignations by black White House staffers citing a lack of support and opportunities offered by the administration.
Some of the black Biden staffers have coined the term “Blaxit” to describe the mass departure from the administration which has claimed to prioritize a focus on racial issues.
Nine current and former black White House officials, who spoke anonymously to protect themselves, told Politico that the Blaxit has hurt morale in the administration — “compounding problems that exist elsewhere.”
These officials said that both mentorship and promotions in the administration are “exceptionally rare,” according to the publication.
“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,” one current black White House official told the publication. “There is no real feedback and there’s no clear path to any kind of promotions.”
Another former black White House official said that some “people have not had the best experiences and a lot of that has to do with the dearth of Black leadership.”
“Think about any workplace,” that official said. “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.”
“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 third current black White House official 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.”
Some staffers, meanwhile, fear that the departures expose a larger issue within the White House.
“They gave us a mandate to execute on all the things that we promised and not only are we not delivering on that front, but then we’re not also delivering to the staff that came in on the basis of that promise,” a current official told Politico. “People go home to their families or their communities, and what can they point to specifically? They can’t even point to their own experiences as positive.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to the Politico piece, claiming that Biden 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.”
“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,” Jean-Pierre added.
Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, said that he had “heard about an exodus of Black staffers from the White House” and that he was “concerned.”
“Black voters accounted for 22 percent of President Biden’s voters in November 2020,” Overton said. “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.”