Playing the race card and using double standards to appoint more African Americans in government goes against American values of inclusion and diversity and backfires causing racial divide. White House partisan appointments directly conflicts with Barack Obama’s own Executive Order issued in August 2011 calling for inclusion and diversity in the federal workforce. What appears be a laudable policy to promote more minorities, especially Hispanics that are chronically underrepresented in the federal workforce, is affirmative action for hiring more Blacks. African American appointments continue at a brisk pace even after Bill Clinton issued an Executive Order in October 2000 to increase Hispanic representation and 10 years of reports issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that says Blacks are overrepresented and Hispanics are underrepresented in the federal workforce. This hasn’t stopped Obama from appointing more African Americans in federal agencies including overseeing the nation’s small and minority business programs than any other President in history. It is interesting to note that Obama has appointed only one Hispanic as a director of small business.
Although Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the country with a 16 percent share of population of over 50 million, owning 2.3 million businesses, they clearly lag representation in government positions (only 8%) and are disproportionate to the higher percentage of African Americans working in the government (18%) compared to their 13 percent of the population, and owning only 1.9 million businesses out of a total of 27 million small businesses. In fact, OPM has been documenting and reporting for the past 10 years that African Americans are grossly overrepresented in virtually every agency in the federal government and keep growing in numbers year after year. In its latest report just released in July 2012, Jorge Ponce, Co-Chair Council of Federal EEO and Civil Rights Executives concludes…”the report painted an ugly picture of the (under) representation of Hispanics in the federal government…”. In a September 13, 2012 press release, Gilbert Sandate, Chair, Coalition for Fairness for Hispanics in Government said, “…This Administration prefers to bury its head in the sand when it comes to fairness for Hispanics in career federal jobs”. OPM reports that African American employment at some federal agencies such as HUD, USAID, GPO, Smithsonian, etc. is more than 30 percent and up to 50 percent in others while almost all department and agencies greatly exceed their racial quotas of African Americans in their workforce.
The Dodd-Frank Financial Services Reform Bill implemented in 2011 created 20 new positions as Directors, Office of Women & Minority Inclusion overseeing small business programs at Treasury, FDIC, SEC, Comptroller of Currency, FHLB, Federal Reserve, and the new CFPB. This offered the Obama White House an opportunity to add diversity and hire Hispanics. However, not one Hispanic was appointed to these positions and the majority are African Americans. So, after digging a little deeper and looking at who sits as federal directors of small business in government agencies and who Obama has appointed as directors of small business in some of the larger federal agencies such as-DOD, DOT,HHS, GSA, USDA and others, the vast majority are African Americans. There appears to be a clear pattern of conduct to appoint more African Americans which is directly contrary to ten years of OPM reports and the policies of Bill Clinton and President Obama’s written Executive Orders to provide ”inclusion and diversity” in the federal workforce. The only conclusion to draw is that “Diversity” and “Minority” business means Black and applies to hiring one minority group over another causing racial divide.
In September, 2012 the SBA Office of Advocacy released statistics showing that America’s small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees) make up 99.7 per cent of all U.S. employer firms, they represent 98 per cent of all firms exporting and are responsible for 64 per cent of net new private-sector jobs. Of the 27.1 million small businesses, only 1.9 million are African American, 2.3 million are Hispanic, 1.6 million are Asian and 0.3 are Native American/Pacific Islander. Although only 10 percent of the total small businesses, Hispanic businesses are growing more rapidly than any others in the country. You would think that based on these statistics and ethnic makeup, the White House would reflect the diversity of its stakeholders in its appointments, but it does not. Obama has appointed only one Hispanic and one Asian overseeing small and minority business and the rest are all African Americans. So, where’s the diversity and inclusion coming from the White House?
There’s a lot of work ahead to implement rational hiring practices that actually reflect true diversity and inclusion policies and level the playing field for Hispanics to be adequately represented in the federal workforce as Bill Clinton concluded 12 years ago. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus should be promoting diversity and other Hispanic business leaders charged with advocating and promoting fairness in employment, procurement, contracting and diversity should stand up for what’s right in America.
Political experts are saying that with the growing Hispanic population and business growth and its $1 trillion buying power, Hispanics could be the critical swing vote for taking the White House this November. Dr. Edward Valenzuela, Co-Chair, Coalition for Fairness for Hispanics in Government said, “The fact that over 70% of the Hispanic electorate voted for Barack Obama in the (past) Presidential election, we believe the Hispanic community is impatient in the lack of action by this President…Its time the White House begins equating promises with votes at the ballot box.” Based on the current White House employment policies favoring Black patronage, pandering and personnel, there’s a great opening for Romney to change this practice.
Juan C. Torrico is an entrepreneur, business consultant, and motivational speaker specializing in Hispanic Affairs. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Ninth Annual Report to the President on Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, April 2010
A Message from the Director of U.S. Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 2011