September 18, 2013
DIVERSITY IN AMERICA: Book: Black donors forced nearly all-white Obama campaign to recruit black aide.
In April 2012, the Obama re-election campaign posted a photo of a staff meeting on its Tumblr account. The aides in the picture were young, casually dressed, and enthusiastic — and nearly all white. The campaign took heat on the Internet for a remarkable lack of diversity, particularly since the staff was working to re-elect the first black president in U.S. history. . . .
The lack of black staffers, both in senior and lower-down roles, proved embarrassing for the campaign, Wolffe writes. For example, with no blacks to supervise ads targeting African-American audiences, the results could be remarkably off-key. When the campaign produced its first black radio ad, one aide recalled to Wolffe, “It was like something out of Soul Train from the 1970s.” With funk music behind it, the ad played sound bites from Obama speeches followed by a chorus singing “We’ve got yo’ back!”
“It was so bad,” the aide told Wolffe. “The worst was that it started out with the president saying, ‘I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message.” In fact, Obama had not approved the message, nor was there an African-American in a senior campaign position who might evaluate it. In the end, the embarrassment was the price Obama paid for a campaign that never lived up to his own standards of diversity.
Well, I mocked ‘em some at the time.