I am now the Student Representative on my School Board, and have experienced politics like no other. I will write more about this after my term as student rep. I recently tried to express my opinion on the construction bond, which has paid for two ads on TV to promote for the May 17th ballot. I wrote, “Good job not incorporating any minorities in your ads even though PPS is 50% minorities. It just shows how the campaign is only focused on the white voters.” on the Portlanders for School FB page. Five minutes later I received an angry call from a school board member, and my post was taken down. I will save my criticism for June, when I leave the school board in order not to jeopardize any good standings I may have with school board members at the moment.
The reason why I made that post on the Portlanders for School campaign is the same reason I left the Kitzhaber campaign. Here is a letter I wrote to the volunteer coordinator, who, unfortunately, is also running the construction bond campaign.
Dear Kitzhaber campaign,
I can’t out of good conscious continue to volunteer for the Kitzhaber campaign. I ran for student representative on the platform of closing the achievement gap between rich and poor, black and white, and aspire to, whether political or an advocate, work on closing the opportunity/economic gap between whites and minorities, rich and poor too. I can’t help elect someone who doesn’t aspire the same, who’s priority is the white middle class.
Kitzhaber’s recent ad shows his differences between himself and Chris Dudley, but at times I fail to see any differences. The ad is composed of only white middle class families, which are no different than Chris Dudley’s. (and this can be said about all his ads).
I haven’t been an active volunteer and am not a loss to the campaign. But what is a loss is the young people, the working class, and minorities in Oregon who have been forgotten because they don’t constitute a large enough voting bloc for politicians, democrats and republicans alike. There has been little, or no effort to get out the vote for these people. Regardless that young people (below 18) cannot vote and many minorities are not citizens but may hold a green card like my Mom, I believe that Kitzhaber should have reached out to them and campaigned for not only the white middle class, but also them, who are all Oregonians.
If there is an effort to campaign for them, and reach out to them, I’ll be the first one to jump on board. At the moment, I see none, and have no reason to continue volunteering for someone who’s only focus is white middle class families.
I have heard that the Portlanders for School campaign has made strives in getting more minorities involved in the campaign, and educating the community on the benefits a construction bond may have for them, which is great. However, their TV ad, which reflects their entire campaign publically, is geared toward getting out a single vote: White, middle class, just as the Kitzhaber campaign did. Of course that’s all the votes they’ll need. What they don’t realize is they’re robbing a great opportunity to get out the vote for all minorities in Portland–showing an Asian, Hispanic, Black face will make the ad more relatable and prove that this bond is not just for white folks but to help everyone . I fail to see how putting more colored faces on an ad will take away the white vote. Am I being politically correct? No. I just want to help change the face of politics.
Compare with Kitzhaber ad:
When I see these ads, I only wonder why voter turnout among minorities is so low.
Thanks guys, until next time
My next post I will write about: How different voter registration regulations happening in 36/50 states will affect the minority voter turnout rate in 2012.