Looking at political affiliation and skin colour

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A few days ago, I had a startling conversation with someone on Facebook. Such conversations themselves are not surprising, as thousands of Bermudians have them daily. However, something that the person stated struck a chord deep within me.

“... white voters feel like nonentities. It is assumed by both parties that there is no need to meet with us/talk to us/sway us. OBA assumes we’re voting for them. And PLP doesn’t need our votes”

Looking at the person’s comments caused me to take a long pause before responding.

Immediately, my mind went back to canvassing during the 2012 General Election when we knocked on countless doors in what would be described as “white” neighbourhoods, only to be ignored, have doors slammed in our face or watch as persons openly ripped up our literature in front of our faces. Essentially, it was not a nice experience, which rightly caused us to say that it is pointless canvassing white voters, as they are anti-Progressive Labour Party. However, that in itself is a statement that cast a wide brush and paints anyone who is white in an unfair manner.

Reading the various blogs, one can easily think that we indeed live in “two Bermudas”, with all whites voting for the One Bermuda Alliance and all blacks voting PLP. However, it is not as clear-cut as that when we go out on the doorsteps.

Knocking on thousands of doors since 2012 has revealed a slightly different narrative about a person’s political views and leanings; some to be expected and some not so readily expected.

Statistics over the years have always indicated that near 95 per cent of white voters have supported the United Bermuda Party and now support the OBA. So it could be easily argued that expecting whites to support the PLP is akin to chasing rainbows, expecting there to be a pot of gold at the end.

However, despite previous experience and looming statistics, we have embarked on a mission to knock on as many doors as possible before the next election. Often, we find many whites who openly state their concerns for themselves and for the future generations of Bermuda.

There are those who do not tell us who they will vote for and then there are those who openly tell us that as Bermudians they see themselves firmly aligned with the working and middle classes. Essentially, they say that the party that puts Bermudians first will gain and retain their support at the polls.

As recently as this week, we had a lady, who is not black, call us to request that we visit her, as she has not seen her MP. Upon visiting her, she spoke about how she wants both parties to realise that her skin colour does not determine where her “X” goes on the ballot sheet.

Indeed, many older Bermudians of all ethnicities have expressed their concern for Bermuda and the way seniors seem to get overlooked. The reality is that, yes we have “two Bermudas”. However, pigmentation is not the final determinant of political affiliation.

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Published May 12, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated May 12, 2017 at 7:52 am)

Looking at political affiliation and skin colour

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