So far, President-elect Donald Trump has shared five of his Cabinet picks, and the politicians (and media moguls) he's chosen for top governmental roles all have one thing in common: all of Trump's Cabinet picks have been white men. It's certainly a shift away from the diverse cabinet that Americans saw under Pres. Obama, and its a far cry from the gender-equal Cabinet that his neighbor, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, announced last year.
Trump could diversify his Cabinet as he fills it, of course. However, while Trump has only shared five of his picks so far, most of the names being floated for other Cabinet roles belong to other equally white, equally male politicians. According to Vox, only two of Trump's 47 most likely picks are people of color, and only eight women grace the list (although all eight are being considered for only four roles, so the number of women who actually join Trump's Cabinet will likely be lower).
When Obama announced his Cabinet picks, he was criticized for not having a sufficiently diverse Cabinet — but 35.3 of his picks were women, 14.4 percent were African-American, 8.5 percent were Latino, and 4.6 percent were Asian Americans. According to Vox, less than 10 percent of Trump's Cabinet will be non-white or non-male, and that should worry everyone. All 13 members of Trump's economic advisory team are also white men, according to CNN.
Not everyone is concerned about the lack of diversity on Trump's team so far, however. Some think it's too early to worry. "The first five out of 1,000-plus Senate-confirmed positions is nothing to be concerned about," Clay Johnson, a former transition official for George W. Bush, told Politico. Others, such as one economist on Trump's advisory team, seem think that worrying about diversity at all is unimportant. When news broke of Trump's all-white, all-male economic advisory team, economist Peter Navarro told CNN:
The headline should read: "Trump puts together a brilliant team to help bargain on behalf of the American people," and instead, we wallow in this muck of political correctness.
But wanting a diverse Cabinet is not about political correctness — it's about having a representative government. Half of the people in the United States are female, and 39 percent of Americans are not white, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. By 2050, there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the country, according to the Center for American Progress. So why have a single racial subset of Americans in charge of running things for all Americans?
Older white men are not going to have the same priorities as women, immigrants, or people of color, and it's misguided to have a homogeneous group of people in government who do not accurately reflect the demographics of the American population. And diversity is also correlated with higher levels of success: According to the Center for American Progress, it's been shown to increase innovation, effectiveness, and and productivity among teams. In other words, a diverse Cabinet wouldn't only signify a more representative and just government — it would make it a stronger, more streamlined one.
When Trudeau was asked why he had a gender-balanced Cabinet, he famously answered, "Because it's 2015." It was an answer that resonated in headlines internationally and encouraged people around the world to call for more diverse government officials. The question of whether that message reached as far as Trump's transition team, however, seems up for debate.