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LETTER: Is there a better way to encourage minorities to seek office?

Racial privilege is often like colour-blindness; when everyone comes from the same background, harmony is a guarantee, says letter writer
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Engage Barrie Spokesperson Jennifer Van Gennip hit the nail on the head at an electoral reform meeting at city hall when she said “Women, people of colour and people who aren’t heterosexual will be discouraged” from political office.

She then said this is perhaps because “they don’t have enough support or a big enough (social) network.”

Racial privilege is often like colour-blindness; when everyone comes from the same background, harmony is a guarantee. 

But only someone from a marginalized group could fully express what it is like to be on the outside looking in. A member of a privileged majority need never consider this as she/he would never face that danger.   

What Van Gennip misses is that majorities or cliques, racial or otherwise, marshal their actions not unlike hate groups. They agree to do thusly to someone or some despised group, whether by conscious agreement or unspoken accord.

Now unless minority individuals are blessed with a number of peers and allies, they likely will never see such a position. This dynamic plays out in Barrie as the majority of professionals are not racial minorities.

A better system might be to enable citizens to nominate people they know for political office; if enough people support the person, he or she could be offered the job.

But this, too, smacks of a popularity contest. It is the system used in the United States to nominate any citizen to run as an independent representative or candidate for a political party.

But there again is the problem of racial discrimination.

Christopher Mansour
Barrie

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