The problem with Premier Brown's recent statement isn't so much what he said, it is what he implies. He generalizes about white voters in Bermuda and by doing so promotes an untrue racial stereotype. An approach which only creates further division between the races in Bermuda. Is it really all about race as Premier Brown implies or could it be more tied to the style of his leadership and the combative approach we've seen to race relations over the years. An approach very unlike that undertaken by US President elect Obama, whose approach would likely work wonders here in Bermuda. Unfortunately, our Premier is no Obama when it comes to building unity between the races and there is little hope that he will ever come close..
Recently Premier Brown was quoted as suggesting
"If you looked at the voting patterns in Bermuda, which all vote in lines, if whites in Bermuda were to vote in the US using the same lines, they would have voted for the other man."
In later defense of this statement he suggests
"When I say to you 'If I had wings I would fly,' I have not truly said I would or I could fly.
"The key point in that sentence is 'if'. The same way that if they (white Bermudians) vote in the election along the same lines as they do in Bermuda."
The problem here is that while Premier Brown's statement indeed does not suggest that he can at present fly, it does rely on an incorrect assumption that if he had wings he would. An assumption that suggests that everything with wings can fly. By suggesting such Premier Brown either knowingly promotes a false and untrue stereotype that anything with wings can fly or he falsely believes that if bestowed with wings he would be far different from an ostrich or a chicken. By implying that anything with wings can indeed fly Premier Brown promotes an untrue belief in beings with wings as well as himself as clearly he has not done the duedilligence of discovering the facts before distorting reality in his favor.
Thus, a similar arguement can be made about his earlier statement regarding whites and voting patterns. While it may be true that some whites vote along racial lines it is not true that all do. Yet Premier Brown distorts reality in his favour by painting this assumption when he suggests that whites would have voted for the other man 'if' given the chance. Just as not all birds can fly neither can it be claimed that all whites are racist. Indeed, what Premier Brown fails to accept as a possible reality is that whites in Bermuda do not generally vote on racial lines and instead vote based upon a combination of the issues and the type of campaign that is run.
'If', to use that magical word, if whites in Bermuda actually do vote based upon the type of campaign as opposed to race is it concieveable that Premier Brown's combative, racially motivated campaigning and leadership style was far more of a factor in white voting patterns than race? Indeed, is it likely that 'if', we'll use that magical hypothetical word again, if an Obama like individual were to lead the PLP and they were to run a campaign much like he did would we then we see a dramatic shift in the voting patterns of whites in Bermuda?
Indeed, even without an Obama like character leading the PLP all one needs to do is look at the polls suggesting a support rating amongst whites of 61% for Paula Cox in the leadership role compared to Premier Brown's 7%. Could it be Premier Brown's style of leadership and combative campaigning and not his colour of skin that is the greatest factor in white Bermudian voting? Indeed, if, using that incredible hypothetical word, if Paula Cox stood as leader of the PLP and ran a clean campign would whites have voted along the same lines they do and have voted more in favor of her than Dr. Brown?
As suggested, Premier Brown's distorts reality in his favor by unfairly generalizing along racial lines. He unjustly promots his own false perceptions rather than doing the due dilligence of investigating the truths behind his beliefs before spreading them. By doing so he sadly only further divides our people. Could it be that it is not the colour of one's skin that matters so much in today's Bermuda as the way one presents themselves? Indeed, could it be that regardless of skin colour Premier Brown and the PLP are hard pressed to gain much white support when taking a combative and racially fueled approach to racial relations? Could it be that 'if' we had a leader that even vaguely resembled US President elect Obama's approach of unity and a party that ran a clean campaign about the issues and real change that we would see a marked change in voting patterns in Bermuda? Unfortunately, we're stuck in dreaming in hypothetical 'if' land and when getting down to real truths it is unlikely our Premier will ever pull his head out of the sand and make like Obama to build unity between the races rather than exploit racism for his own political gain.