When the White House’s ‘Bureau of Diversity and Inclusion’ is at it again: A look at the Trump administration’s latest attempt to ‘diversify’ the federal government
The president has repeatedly expressed a desire to diversify the federal workforce, but his administration has instead turned its back on its long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Trump’s administration has taken steps to “diversity and inclusion” on numerous fronts, including by enacting a hiring freeze and implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but these measures have come at the cost of the administration’s attempts to diversifying the federal labor force.
In order to get the best bang for its buck, the Trump Administration has gone to great lengths to avoid hiring people of color.
Trump and his allies in the conservative media have long sought to paint the Obama administration as a “white supremacist” administration, and while some of the President’s critics may not agree, the media narrative has not been far off the mark.
While many people would argue that it’s a “trickle down” theory, Trump and the conservative movement are clearly hoping to get away with it.
In a March 21 report, The Atlantic highlighted how the administration has attempted to “de-diversity” the federal civilian workforce through the “Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” which Trump signed into law in March.
The Act requires that employers “make hiring decisions for employees based on a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or other characteristic protected by federal law.”
It also “requires employers to provide certain job titles and titles to applicants on the basis of gender, race, ethnic background, disability status, and other factors.”
This law is designed to provide a “safe harbor” to employers that refuse to hire people based on “discriminatory factors.”
In a February 25 op-ed published in The Washington Post, columnist Charles Blow noted that the “diverse hiring scheme” is actually a “watered-down version of the ‘hiring freeze’ Obama implemented for federal contractors.”
Under the “hiring moratorium” implemented by the Obama Administration, companies were required to hire 100 percent of their applicants, with exceptions for certain categories of people, like those with disabilities, veterans, and people with disabilities.
Under the new “Employers’ Fair Employment Practices Act,” the administration is now required to provide “full and equal opportunity” to qualified applicants.
While some may find this approach attractive, Blow noted the administration “has a long history of ignoring the reality that people of colour have been among those least represented in the federal civil service and, in fact, disproportionately so.”
According to a 2016 analysis by the Center for American Progress, the number of people of African descent working in the Federal government has fallen by more than 30 percent since the early 1990s.
It is not surprising that the administration would want to maintain a low profile for the purposes of “diversifying” the workforce.
In recent years, the administration and its allies have tried to paint their efforts to “disparate” the U.S. labor force as a victory, as the Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
However, there is no such thing as a perfect approach when it comes to diversification.
It would be naive to believe that a President Trump would be able to “make America great again” in a time when the economy has been “rigged,” as the President has repeatedly claimed.
In fact, the “greatest success” in the Trump Presidency has been the ongoing, massive economic inequality, which has left millions of Americans behind.
It’s also important to remember that diversity is a necessary part of any political strategy, and in fact it should be a primary component of any policy that seeks to diversifies the federal population.
If the Trump-Pence Administration were truly committed to diversified diversity, it would not have to resort to such drastic measures to avoid making the federal bureaucracy less diverse.
The Trump Administration’s recent efforts to diversize the federal economy is simply another example of how the President is taking a backseat to the conservative base in his attempt to “Make American Great Again,” but that is a different story.