BY: Andrew Stiles – April 9, 2012 12:24 pm
A photo of Obama’s “army” originally posted on the campaign’s Tumblr site and run in conjunction with a BuzzFeed story on the Obama campaign reveals a stunning lack of diversity among the president’s Chicago staff.
The Obama campaign’s Chicago headquarters has it all—from Jack Daniels and Ping Pong to bouncy balls and ironic desk mementos.
Yet the “army of twenty-somethings” campaign manager Jim Messina has assembled in the president’s hometown is almost uniformly white, according to photos contained in a detailed BuzzFeed report Monday.
Further examination of the Obama’s campaign’s Tumblr site over the past month reveals very few black individuals—apart from the president and his wife, Michelle—in the pictures posted in the feed.
One of the only featured pictures to include a black individual is one from a recent White House visit by Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols.
The revelation is potentially embarrassing for the first African-American president and the party he leads.
In August 2011, Obama signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to develop plans for improving workforce diversity.
The apparent lack of racial diversity at the Obama campaign headquarters comes at a time when the national black unemployment rate is nearly double the rate for whites.
According to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 14 percent of blacks are currently unemployed, compared with 7.3 percent of whites.
The divide is even more pronounced among younger age groups. According to BLS data, the black unemployment rate among 16- to 19-year-olds is 40.5 percent, compared with 22.5 percent for whites.
In Illinois, the black unemployment rate—as high as 28 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security—far exceeds the national average.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has come under fire from African-American groups in recent years alleging that the party organization has failed to award contracts to black-owned business despite repeated pledges to advance the interests such firms.
The Obama campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.