One of the most important jobs for political advance staffers onsite is to run through the details of every public event to ensure everything goes smoothly later and nothing unexpected happens to look awkward or embarrass the boss.
During his numerous photo ops, for instance, Barack Obama hated having to don those goofy construction helmets that sit high on your head like freshman beanies. (Think Michael Dukakis 1988 in his infamous tank helmet.)
It’s not easy being a Republican anywhere in Illinois, let alone the Windy City. But this week Gov. Bruce Rauner appeared at a Chicago event to highlight Black History Month.
Alongside him to discuss workplace diversity was Tyronne Stoudemire, a black executive who promotes diversity within Hyatt Hotels.
Unexpectedly, Stoudemire pulled out an empty glass and filled it with white milk to show how overwhelmingly white are the ranks of corporate America. Then Stoudemire poured in some chocolate syrup. “This chocolate syrup represents diversity,” he explained.
But the syrup sank to the bottom of the glass as if segregated, an analogy for the lack of conscious inclusion.
“When you look at most organizations,” Stoudemire said, “diversity sits at the bottom of the organization. You don’t get inclusion until you actually stir it up.”
The executive handed the glass to Rauner. The governor went along. He diligently stirred the glass and — wait for it — turned the milk brown.
Rauner drank the chocolate milk. “It’s really, really good,” he uttered. “Diversity!”
The hotel exec said the governor was unaware of what would happen, but Stoudemire explained he’s been pulling this stunt for years.
Another explanation is that Rauner is running for reelection in November.