In concept, the federal government should have the best human resources system. It is through the human resources system that people are hired to carry out the many programs managed by the federal government. The best qualified and skilled people should be hired. Racial discrimination should not be a factor in hiring decisions.
Within the first 10 of my 35 years working in human resources I discovered that it does not matter what you know, it matters who you know. Race does matter. European Americans are at an advantage because they normally oversee the human resources systems. No matter what people tell you, racial discrimination in hiring does exist. Disparate treatment of people does occur based on racial considerations.
I recently found out that my former employer, Human Resources at Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) in Indianapolis, Indiana decided to rehire several former employees who had retired in the past 5 years. True to form they did not seek to rehire any black male employees who had been outspoken about discrimination existing in the hiring policies of human resources.
Human Resources carefully followed the letter of the law in how they hired the retired European American males, and those black females whom they favored. They abided by the systemic loopholes that allowed them to not consider several black males who were more than qualified to be rehired as a retired annuitant. In my years of working at DFAS they were always careful to avoid breaking the laws. But ethically behind the scenes rules were bent, stretched, and interpreted to maintain European American dominance. These actions adversely impacted black males. The retired European American males financially benefited from being European American. They were contacted by the agency for the purpose of rehiring them. Former black male employees were not even made aware of the availability of the job openings because they were not wanted. Yes, it is that simple.
During my 35 years in human resources I saw many examples of how European American employees were treated differently than how a black employee would have been treated. In one instance a married European American male supervisor (who worked in human resources) violated an ethical principle for supervisors and engaged in an affair with one of the employees he supervised. This resulted in inappropriate conduct both at the workplace and outside the workplace. Normally a supervisor would have been fired for such conduct. The woman whom the supervisor had an affair with (an intern) was fired by human resources. The supervisor was demoted in pay but was able to maintain his employment with DFAS. In the years since the incident happened, the supervisor has been promoted several time to almost reach the level he was at when he was demoted. Both of the employees in this instance were European American. What do you think would have happened if the supervisor was a black male and having an affair with a European American female?
In another incident a black male in an administrative position was fired for supposedly engaging in work place violence against his supervisor. The employee in frustration did wrongfully touch his European American female supervisor and shook her. He did the unthinkable, touch a European American female and that cannot be tolerated. I recall listening to his supervisor and one of her employees conspiring out loud in a work place violence training class on how to frame a case for the employee's removal under the guise that he was a possible threat. It was the "angry black man" excuse.
There were many other cases where Human Resources did not pursue disciplinary action against male European Americans for incidents of improper conduct. But if the employee was black, the case would be actively pursued applying the severest penalty possible.
For anyone who is going into the federal sector as a way to make a living I stress caution. Especially if your agency consists of majority European Americans. There is money to be made in federal jobs. It is a resource avenue where you can make a good living from your salary. Some people use the system to benefit their friends, acquaintances, and family members. For them the rules about affirmative action and diversity just get in the way of their selfishness to reward people they like or to reward people who look like them. When you feel you have been wronged question the decision and how the rules were applied in making the decision.
Be aware that systemic discrimination has become an intrinsic part of federal agencies hiring systems. The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) staffs that many agencies have are just an administrative office created to give the semblance of fairness and that someone is keeping the system honest. EEO staffs are not keeping the system honest because no one in management wants them to. What you can do if you are employed by the federal government is to learn your trade and become an employee who is needed. If you are an asset that is valued you will receive less mistreatment. That does not mean you will be rehired if you should leave voluntarily, but it will make it more difficult to explain why you were not sought for reemployment!