Does Obama's Campaign Lack Diversity?

"This is mere internet fodder and the picture is not an accurate representation, a spokesman said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Barackobama.tumblr.com
    Some critics say this photo is too homogenized for a campaign staff. The Obama campaign has not responded to requests for more information on the staff make up.

    A photo of the president's campaign staff that was posted on the Barack Obama Tumblr page has been making the rounds on the Internet, and drawing criticism.

    Critics say there's something missing from the photo taken at One Prudential Plaza in Chicago on April 4: diversity.

    But is there?

    Of the roughly 80 young campaign staffers shown in the photo (a reported 300 were gathered in the room), only about four of them appear to be non-white. The picture appeared on BuzzFeed under a post titled: It's Game On in Chicago.

    The article took a reader through one night the Chicago campaign headquarters with Jim Messina and crew:

    On the evening of April 4, campaign manager Jim Messina gathered more than 300 staffers into a large room on the sixth floor of One Prudential Plaza in Chicago, the nerve center for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. The occasion: the one-year anniversary of opening the headquarters in the president’s hometown. Messina grabbed a microphone that was set up for him to address his army of twenty-somethings, who were seated at his feet on the floor, spilling on to the filing cabinets, stretching far out into the vast floor they occupy in the office tower. The staffers knew it was a night to party — the plan was to head to a nearby bar for drinks to celebrate — but first they had to listen to a speech from the boss.

    The post notes that the operation has grown to mammoth proportions during the previous year and now boasts close to 700 full-time staffers on an entire floor at the Prudential building.

    This photo only captures around 80 people, or 10% of that figure, which leaves plenty of room for diversity in the wings.

    The Obama campaign brushed off the hullabaloo.

    "This is mere Internet fodder and the picture is not an accurate representation of the diversity of staff, backgrounds and experiences that make up the Obama for America campaign team," said campaign spokesman from Chicago.

    Taking the photo at face value, Andrew Stiles from the Washington Free Beacon notes that the "army of 20-somethings" that make up the staff in the photo is a homogeneous set of white kids, which could be a problem for the Democrats.

    According to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 14 percent of blacks are currently unemployed, compared with 7.3 percent of whites.

    The divide is even more pronounced among younger age groups. According to BLS data, the black unemployment rate among 16- to 19-year-olds is 40.5 percent, compared with 22.5 percent for whites.

    In Illinois, the black unemployment rate—as high as 28 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security—far exceeds the national average.

    The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has come under fire from African-American groups in recent years alleging that the party organization has failed to award contracts to black-owned business despite repeated pledges to advance the interests such firms.

    NBC Chicago requested a demographic breakdown of their current volunteer staff, but the Obama campaign did not provide those figures.

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