We don’t want a colour-blind mayor
by hsoppit on October 28, 2014 - 8:18pm
The article “Race and Racism Central Issue of Election” by Margaret Hageman from The Toronto Star on October 14, 2014 discusses the issue of racism in Toronto and emphasizes the importance of electing a mayor who comprehends the role that racism plays within the city (Hageman, 2014, para 2). When a place has “Diversity Our Strength” as their motto, the author finds it important to have a leader who understands racism. The current white majority in Toronto will soon become the minority as the number of non-white people in the city increases (Hageman, 2014, para 3). This causes the author to question whether the population is really okay with that change. Most people recognize that the biological differences beneath different skin colours hardly exists but individuals start to feel discomfort with the topic of race when talking about the experiences that certain races have compared to others within the same society. Individuals often refute the existence of white privilege and this is a rejection of all personal experiences that individuals have with racism. White people are sheltered by white privilege on the streets and through the workforce, and systemic racism also works in favour of the white population in terms of employment (Hageman, 2014, para 7). Some believe that if racism is not talked about then the issue will just go away, however, the author believes that it is this mentality that causes racist acts to become belittled among individuals and within the law. To comprehend the way systemic racism functions, white privilege needs to be recognised as a real problem. The author concludes by stating that she believes it is important for Toronto to have a mayor who is aware of race and racism and who will aim to bring an end to systemic racism.
I agree with the author’s point of view that racism is prevalent in Toronto and that it is important to have a mayor who recognizes that, and considers this issue when making decisions. This article has many strong arguments and the author reinforced her points using studies that had been done relating directly to the topic. Most of the author’s choice of words was done correctly except for a couple times when the word “race” was used incorrectly. The way the author used the term was problematic because she used it as if it meaning categories of people based on their skin colour. This, as we learned in class, is a misconception that many individuals have about this term and in reality, “race” is a socially constructed concept that actually has no meaning. I definitely think it’s true that talking about people’s experiences with racism makes certain groups feel awkward. The group I would say feels this the most is white people because they can’t relate and in my experience, individuals I’ve spoken to have usually just resorted to the discourses (denial, blaming the victim, and equal opportunity) as ways to refute the possibility of racism. The author talks about how many people claim that white privilege is not a real issue; this would be a discourse of denial on behalf of the people with that point of view and I fully agree with that statement. I think that the denial of white privilege is a problem in our society and it is one that should be addressed and taken into consideration by those in charge in not only Toronto but the rest of Canada as well. I believe the act of rejecting the existence of white privilege is a slap in the face to anyone who has ever had an experienced with racism and that isn’t fair to them.
Hageman, Margaret. (2014, October 14). Race and Racism Central Issue of Election. The Star. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/10/14/race_and_racism_central_issue_of_election.html