Will Obama’s Cabinet Favor Whites?

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The Wall Street Journal ran a cheat sheet of the powerful blacks who may wind up in the Obama administration. But check this:

Of those hoping for access and government stints, some may be disappointed. Loyalties aside, Mr. Obama, according to people familiar with his thinking, may be constrained in the number of blacks he appoints to avoid any charges of favoring African-Americans.

So, he can appoint white folks for days—but just a Negro here and there. Why won’t that be seen as ‘favoring whites’?

A white reporter covering a small town, McCain-area called me post-election for comment, appalled at hearing whites in the local diner angrily fretting about being demoted to the back of the bus, the Muslim Obama giving their hard-earned money to “those who refuse to work,” etc. Don’t worry white folks: Situation normal. A brother may be president, but he’s still got to eenie-meenie-miney-mo among us blacks, his own judgment be damned. And of course, he wouldn’t be the President-elect if he didn’t understand these things. But it still sucks.

Whenever blacks find themselves in a group larger than three or four at work, invariably someone will ‘joke:’ “Better break this up. More than four and the white folks get nervous.” I guess that joke ain’t going anywhere. And I bet Obama’s administration will blacker than any other in history but that won’t take much, will it? An under-secretary here, a deputy assistant there, and soon you’ve got yet another quarter-step toward full equality.

But it’s all good. Obama won. I can wait a little longer.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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