Influence of race in the political leadership of the Bronx
By Akeem Alao
Virtually every aspect of human life is affected by race. It plays a vital role in education, religion, politics and economy.
According to Wikipedia, racial politics or race politics is the use of race, as a human categorization or hierarchical identifier, in political discourse, campaigns, or within the societal and cultural climate created by such practice. The phenomenon can involve the activity of political actors exploiting the issue of race to forward an agenda.
Race has been become part of political activities. It is one of the determining factors in the choice of a leader, even in the so-called developed countries. The United States, which is notable for social crisis associated with racism, and race politics is not an exception. With the number of immigrants in the US, its political activities is influenced by race.
In times of politics, leadership is greatly influenced by race in order that a particular race is well represented in the leadership position.
This story looks at the influence of race in political leadership of the Bronx. Two prominent leaders in the Bronx were interviewed to support the fact that race plays an important role in the Bronx politics.
According to Gbenga Subair, the President of African Democratic Club, New York City, the role race plays in Bronx politics is very significant because it's home to a large Latino population who come from different backgrounds and have made political inroads through the years by running for different elective offices.
"Due to a demographic increase of people from different backgrounds who have also made Bronx their home, there is a need to play a role in how the politics within the borough is reflective of the diverse people who live in it and getting equal representation across the whole spectrum," Subair said.
While looking into the major roles immigrants play in the Bronx towards the emergence of a political leader, he stated that immigrants play a critical role in electing political leaders because different immigrant communities in the Bronx are able to use their clout, numbers and leverages in making sure politicians running for elected offices in the Borough learn, listen and pay attention to their needs and concerns, while at the same time doing everything they can to mobilize and make sure they get them elected.
"In politics, building trust and relationship matters and it works for both sides in the long run.
"Also as the demographic shift increases in a very important Borough like the Bronx, you have an electorate now that understands how the political game is played and is used to their advantage when it comes to endorsing a particular candidate," he added.
Subair further affirmed that the political leadership in the Bronx is influenced by race.
"Yes, especially in a place like New York City which has over 8-9 millions residents, race plays a critical and crucial role when it comes to who is running for elected offices, representation and where to solicit support when campaigning for votes.
"Appealing to different demographic groups allows you to expand your voter base and maximize it to the fullest," he said.
In his own words, Jamal Thomas, a prominent member of the African Union Day Foundation Team, he maintained that race has a significant role in Bronx politics.
He noted that "the Bronx is diverse and those within the political structure should be of diverse cultural backgrounds as well."
"Having different races within Bronx Politics heightens the synergy thus naturally bringing about a more positive outcome due to the referenced diversity," he added.
"I believe that Political leadership in the Bronx has a minute percentage of influence from Race in that it is mostly based on what suits the group of races that may be overlooked.
"Immigrants play a significant role in that they pay taxes and could help other minorities in their rights thus bringing about a positive influence towards political leaders," he concluded.
It is an unrealistic attempt to remove race in politics because every one pursues personal agenda. Besides, It is often regarded as political marginalization where a particular race is favored against others. However, it can be well managed because politics must create an avenue for equal representation at the federal, state, municipal or borough levels.