Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Operation Black Vote's London Mayoral Hustings - Biased or Unbiased? An Open Letter

The Operation Black Vote (OBV) is holding Hustings for the London Mayoral election. As an organization that prides itself on fighting discrimination especially in politics, I wonder if they would tow a more mature line of not excluding some candidates like the BBC has done so far.

I have therefore written OBV to highlight and bring this to their attention since their advertising page clearly have pictures of only the 'favoured 4' candidates which could be a sign that some are not invited/featured by OBV.
Could those who fight discrimination and for equality, uphold discrimination? Would OBV be happy if a black candidate is ignored because s/he is not considered to have a track-record of contesting elections in the mainstream? Read my letter below.
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To Whom It May Concern;

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have noted with interest that you're conducting hustings for London Mayoral election candidates. Your page clearly shows the picture of the 'selected 4' and this worries me.

As a member of and a leader in the community, I am interested in finding out if all candidates including the independent Siobhan Benita, are going to participate in this event? This will bring the maximum impact thereby providing our community the opportunity to an informed decision. Or will you be joining the established institutions like the BBC to run a divide-and-rule show where only a 'selected and favoured few' candidates are featured?

If the later is the case, I am concerned that no matter what the reason is, it is a disservice to our community who would be denied the array of choice that is available for this election. But worse still, it upholds discrimination which is what OBV set up to fight and dislodge.

It would also portray contempt and disrespect on your part as thinking our community of not being able, intelligent and mature enough to make [their own] decision with their own individual votes.

I do hope the above is not the case but that the black [and Minority Ethnic] community is treated respectably as capable of making decision and that the array of available candidates would be featured regardless of [your personal or organizational] sentiments towards any of them.

I am concerned that if you would not feature all candidates, you would be upholding the very thing you set up to fight: discrimination and ignoring some because they are not part of the mainstream. Imagine one of the candidates being black and left out by the BBC and the established authorities because "s/he do not have a track-record", etc. What would you do?

Please, with the pride we have in OBV, it would be great that it does not join to perpetuate discrimination of any type, for any reason.

Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,

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Update:
11:35am - I received an email from Simon Woolley, Director of OBV as following...

We have invited the Independent BME Candidate Siobhon Benniti to say a few words at tomorrows event.

Regards

Simon Woolley

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