It’s Time For Democrats To Walk the Walk On Diversity

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Later today, Senator Jeff Sessions will begin his Senate confirmation hearings as he prepares to become Donald Trumps Attorney General. The man has a long and painful history of bigotry. He was the first U.S. Senator to endorse Donald Trump for President and is generally thought of as the most conservative member of the entire Senate.

It can’t get much worse than having him as Attorney General. That’s why, today, it pains me to talk with you about problems within the ranks of the Democratic Party. While it’s true that we should unify behind the Senate in opposition to Sessions, Democrats in the Senate have their own problems with bigotry.

This past November, just a few weeks after the election, a respected Black staff member who works for a popular Democrat in the U.S. Senate reached out to me confidentially to give me their perspective on how little Democrats in the Senate actually care about diversity.

“They are all so phony,” the staffer told me. “Every time I hear any of the Democratic senators, including my own boss, talk about diversity, I cringe, because it’s all one big lie. That they’ve been allowed to enjoy this reputation as a party that values diversity, while doing next to nothing of substance to align their actions with their words, is expert-level deception.”

“Do you know how many Black Chiefs of Staff exist in the Senate? The whole Senate? One. Out of one hundred chances they had to hire a Black chiefs of staff, they hired just one African-American,” the staffer said in disgust.

“But hold up, hold up,” the staffer continued. “I haven’t even given you the punchline yet. Guess who the one Black Chief of Staff works for?”

“Who?” I asked — having no idea what the answer was.

“Tim Scott,” the staffer replied. “The lone Black chief of staff in the entire United States Senate works for South Carolina Republican, Tim Scott. His office may be the most diverse in the entire Senate.”

Most Senators have four senior staff positions. A few have three. The positions are: Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Communication Director and Legislative Director. And out of 336 Senior Staff Members for the entire Senate, only 0.9% of them are Black. That’s 3 Black folks hired to be Senior Staffers out of 336 opportunities.

Mind you, the majority of white people have voted for the Republican candidate for President in every presidential election since 2000. Voters of color have carried the Democratic Party, being the majority of voters, but only 0.9% of the senior staffers hired in the Senate are Black.

So, when I got an email yesterday announcing that a new African-American Senior Staff Member had just been hired, I was ecstatic. It may sound small, but each new hire is real progress.

Courtney Temple, a widely respected Black woman, who has worked in Congress for years, was just hired as a Legislative Director. It’s a very important position and she becomes just the 4th black senior staffer in the entire Senate. So, when I started scanning the email to see which Democrat hired her, I came across a name that was unfamiliar to me – Senator Thom Tillis.

Guess why he was unfamiliar to me. He’s not a Democrat. He’s the Republican Senator from North Carolina.

The only Black Chief of Staff in the entire Senate is Jennifer DeCasper, and she works for Republican Senator Tim Scott.

The only Black Communications Director in the entire Senate is Darrell “DJ” Jordan, and he works for Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma.

And now we have Temple, who is working for Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

In fact, the ONLY Democrat in the entire United States Senate who has a single African-American senior staff member just started her job in the Senate last week. Senator Kamala Harris, the new Democratic Senator for California, hired Clint Odom, a Black man, as her Legislative Director – making him the only African-American Senior Staff Member for a Democrat in the entire United States Senate. Republicans have 3, Democrats have 1, and he just started last week. It’s a damn mess.

I’ll close with this thought. In a week where we are supposed to be holding Republicans feet to the fire on issues of race and diversity, Democrats need to do much more than talk the talk, they need to start walking the walk.

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10 thoughts on “It’s Time For Democrats To Walk the Walk On Diversity

  1. I’m not surprised, politians will say anything to get your vote, they don’t walk the walk, all of them are a bunch of liars, you can’t trust anyone. We saw that in the first term of the Obama administration, they didn’t even have his back. Bunch of old ass phonies.
    These are the most important seats and voting gets their behinds out, but when we stay home, they stay seated, we teach them just how to treat us, by not voting. If you don’t care, they don’t either.

  2. Cynthia Feaster on said:

    I am TOTALLY disillusioned with the Democratic Party. I was a Sanders supporter until Hillary and the old guard Democrats pushed him out and disrespected Sanders’ supporters at the convention. Then I reluctantly became a Hillary supporter because she would have been a much better choice than the current president-SELECT, the Liar in Chief, Donald “grab em in the pu–y” Trump. I didn’t believe any of the lies the GOP told about Clinton. I simply believed that Sanders’ political positions were more closely aligned with my own. Now to have to rely on this weak, racist, unprincipled group of turncoats- and they WILL turn on us, to stand up to Trump’s American Fascism, makes me beyond sick with dread, scared for the future and looking seriously at the Green Party as an alternative place to be politically.

    • specialt757 on said:

      “I am TOTALLY disillusioned with the Democratic Party”. You and I both Cynthia, however, I wasn’t necessarily a Bernie supporter, I just didn’t think he could beat grab ’em by the p****y trump. Although I wasn’t against him in general I also didn’t think he would get the support he needed to do the things he wanted to do. Hillary wasn’t my first choice either. Unfortunately, most of Hillary’s supporters came out of desperation and the fact we didn’t want the orange hitler as president, not necessarily that we wanted her as president. Just unfortunate, her “like-a-bility” was her downfall. I didn’t see her as untrustworthy, as some did, just stoic and impersonal. But hell, I rather that than what we got, a big ass child who doesn’t know one thing about running a country but can work the hell out of Twitter.

  3. I lost confidence in the dem party when they couldn’t beat a rascit narcissist bigot. I’m done with them. I feel sorry for the younger generation bc republithugs are going to do away with everything

  4. FallMornings on said:

    This is not news. Blacks in positions of power, Senate, Government, etc. usually do not hire their own. Which is sad since there may be so many talented Black individuals to choose from.

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