Readers respond: If racism is wrong, why is it happening to white people now?

(Original newspaper version)

Assuming you read this newspaper because you keep up with what’s happening in the world, this won’t be the first time you’ve heard about the race debate that flared up in the U.S. after police killed a black man and the subsequent dialogue it started, well, around the world.

I’m by no means downplaying the need for people to address injustices they see in the world. After all, every week in my newspaper column I sign off and encourage you to voice your opinion about what you read, right?

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Last week, fellow broadcaster Ben Mulroney from CTV announced that he was stepping down as co-host of etalk, the network’s entertainment show. It comes after the fallout from his wife, Jessica, who landed in hot water after she had a back-and-forth with a blogger.

Jessica was called out for “white privilege” after her aggressive posts and was essentially fired from everything. She tried doing damage control but CTV, ABC, retail outlets and other endorsement deals were gone with the snap of a finger – or a hit of the “send” button.

Ben, who’s long been a guest on my syndicated radio shows since I covered Canadian Idol in Toronto in 2007 and 2008; and as recently as this April, said upon reflection he felt as a white guy he should step away and let someone of colour offer a new voice.

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I didn’t have an opinion on this one way or the other though I did publicly applauded him for the gesture. But several newspaper readers disagreed with his move.

“He got famous because he’s a politician’s son so maybe that wasn’t fair,” said Grant L. “But he’s had the job for so long so obviously he’s good at what he does and has respect from his audience. He got it (the job) before this Cancel Culture started. He did nothing wrong. Why do you leave your job because you’re not a minority?”

Susan H. had a similar opinion. “When I see a job posting that says “preference will be given to such-and-such” I automatically see that as unfair. The job should go to the person who is most qualified. As a white woman, if I am more qualified than a black woman, why should a company hire the black person? It is about skill and ability. To me, hiring based on a skin colour and not job suitability is racism. The company is doing it for PR or to fill a quota and look good.”

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These are both valid points and quite honestly, they’re not something I’d thought of before. Why? Because we haven’t had such a long-lasting discussion about these topics. Should we? It seems like we should.

I wonder if it will ever get sorted out to everyone’s comfort. It sounds like there will be resentment on all sides no matter who “wins” the battle. What I don’t like is that it’s white versus the rest right now. If that’s how people feel, I think we’re off to a bad start on the dialogue.

That’s my point. What’s yours? Tell me at www.speakfreewithjb.com.

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