Black federal workers in Washington, D.C., are used to working under Democratic administrations and Republican administrations, all while acknowledging that even if a president’s policies differ from their own, they have a duty to their agencies to keep the government humming along.
But what if the new president is thought to be a racist; who has brought in as his chief adviser, Steve Bannon, a white nationalist? Can they work as civil servants under those conditions?
The election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton was a shock to most Americans, but it was like an earthquake to black people in government service. Federal government jobs have traditionally been the gateway to the middle class for African Americans, and as The Root has reported, with African Americans making up nearly 20 percent of the federal workforce, not only are black federal workers nervous about the possible job cuts under a President Trump, but about the job itself.
Can they work under a president who unapologetically demanded, with a full-page newspaper ad, that the Central Park Five receive the death penalty when they were falsely accused of sexual assault? Can they work under a president who propagated the racist Birther movement? Who began his campaign by calling undocumented Mexican workers “rapists and drug dealers”?
With the promise of anonymity, two prominent black federal workers agreed to give their impressions of how their offices are feeling about working under Trump, and how policies could change. Janet and Mike (not their real names) have spent over 10 years in the Department of Justice, and over five years in the Department of Veteran Affairs, respectively.
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