President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team shows an emphasis on diversity. People of color comprise 43% of the transition team, with women more than half at 52%. This represents a step in the direction that Biden’s campaign promised. He wants an administration that will “look like America.”
Diversity Started with Choice of VP
Biden’s first diversity hire came early in the campaign. He chose Kamala Harris as his Vice President, who is of black and South Asian heritage. Then, he selected his longtime adviser Ron Klain, who is white, for his first appointment as Chief of Staff.
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Even as Donald Trump has yet to concede, Biden started assembling his transition team. Now, the team consists of around 500 people from all sectors of society. Hence, they have people of color, the disabled, and those from the LGBTQ community among the staff. According to a transition official, the team aims to make history. Its composition was to “represent communities historically underrepresented in the federal government.”
Transition co-chair Ted Kaufman said that this move confirms their campaign commitment. He said: “For months, the Biden-Harris transition has laid the groundwork for a Biden-Harris administration, and at the core of that work is an unrelenting commitment to diversity.”
“As we continue working full-speed ahead to Inauguration, our diverse group of leaders and staff are reflective of America — upholding President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris’ belief that through diverse voices we can develop and implement a policy vision to tackle our nation’s toughest challenges,” Kaufman said.
In a town hall last June with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, Biden shared his goal. He said: “My administration’s going to “look like America.” Then, he reiterated diversity will apply throughout the entire administration. He said it’s “not just his staff and the vice president.” Instead, it will go “straight down through Cabinet members to major players within the White House, and the court. It’s going to be a reflection of who we are as a nation.”
The composition of the campaign staff attested to the goal. Biden’s presidential campaign reported that people of color comprised 46% of the staff. Meanwhile, women made up the majority at 59%. There are more women in the campaign team compared to today’s present transition team.
Black men and women hold about 25% of the positions in Biden’s transition team. Accordingly, they expect to play an important role in evaluating federal agencies’ operations. These organizations have a broad impact on Americans’ everyday lives. These leaders would want to represent millions of Black Americans who feel displaced.
Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University, said: “The agency review process will help lay the foundation for meeting these challenges on Day One. We are building a team to reflect America and these Black leaders are dedicated experts in their fields.”
Reward for Election Support
The Public’s Radio opined that diversity is Biden’s way to reward Black voters for their support in the election. Black voters helped Biden lead in battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Niambi Carter, a political science professor at Howard University, says it’s payback. “The Biden coalition owes a debt to Black folks,” he said.
“Black people helped them survive the primary and then in this election cycle, they showed up in key states like Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that really pulled Joe Biden over the line. So absolutely, I think this is an attempt by not just Biden but also the Democratic Party to keep Black people in the fold,” he added.
Biden’s commitment to diversity is promising. After all, it aims to gather better representation from all sectors of society. But, getting different voices is the easy part. Getting them all to work in the same direction is the challenge they should prepare for. Hopefully, diversity opens a path of inclusion for all Americans. Otherwise, it’s just another attempt at pandering to special interest voters.
Watch this as ABC News reports that President-elect Joe Biden says transition ‘well underway’:
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