The White House needs to push for more diversity and inclusion

President Donald Trump walks from Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 5, 2018, after returning from a trip to West Virginia. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In a time of divisive and abrasive politics in America, and as we face very real and very concerning but equally divisive issues like police brutality and mass shootings, it is crucial for us to seek a platform for unity, as well as for diversity and inclusion. The White House, especially since President Trump’s groundbreaking and controversial campaign, has made calls for “unity” and has attempted to foster it in its approaches. Following events like the Unite the Right Rally and the Parkland Shooting, President Trump has made calls for “unity.” Shortly after the congressional baseball practice shooting in Virginia in June of 2017, Trump said, "We are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good" in the wake of an event that threatened to raise existing political tensions.

Unfortunately, President Trump’s words cannot be taken so seriously. Time and time again, he has proven that his words function as a shield. Conservatives and supporters of his will equally use his words as a shield, and champion his “attempts” to unite our nation under the turmoil that is overarching at the moment. He infamously made comments about how there were “very fine people” on both sides after the Unite the Right Rally in which a protester was killed by a far-right activist. Similarly, after the Parkland shooting he responded with the radical and unfeasible idea of “arming teachers.” Although he had also made some calls for gun control, and even called out a senator for being “afraid of the NRA” in one of his subsequent meetings, Trump’s gun control efforts have essentially dissipated since.

If President Trump truly believes that “we are strongest when we are unified” then why isn’t he working towards diversity and inclusion? He boasted that his efforts since his inauguration were the reason for the “lowest black unemployment rates ever recorded” as part of a Twitter rant in response to after Jay-Z in late January of 2018. This year the White House had a total of 206 interns. Brandon Friedman, who previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, pointed out in a tweet: “3 black men. 0 black women. Out of 206.” Indeed, it wasn’t long till the portrait of all 206 interns went viral and showcased the immense lack of diversity in the young students interning at the White House, and the image drew severe criticism. If it isn’t evident enough: There is a severe problem with diversity in Capitol Hill. Not only is Trump’s cabinet infamous for being predominantly (if not entirely) white, but most legislators in Congress are too. At the moment, there are only three black senators in Congress.

It is ultimately ironic and hypocritical for a President, who calls for “unity” and claims the lowest black unemployment rates have existed under his tenure, to have a staff of over 200 interns with few to no people of color. If the White House wants to even remotely work towards changing the already tainted image of racial favoritism it embodies, particularly under President Trump, it needs to push for more diversity and inclusion, and it must demonstrate real efforts in doing so.


Daniela Paredes is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.paredes@uconn.edu.