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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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