Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Racial profiling on the canvass

February 16th, 2011 · 30 Comments · Elections, Equality, General Election 2011, Irish Politics

I have been made aware in the last week or so of a problem facing black and asian voters in terms of the attitudes and approaches of canvassers. In Dáil elections those with Irish and British citizenship are entitled to vote. It appears that some canvassers assume that those who hold such citizenship are white. I’ve been contacted by someone who is rightly very angry at a recent canvassers attitude.

On 14 February, a few hours after Michael Martin tried to impersonate a chinese accent whilst speaking at a web forum, a FF canvasser called at my house in south County Dublin.

When I opened the door, instead of handing me a leaflet and asking if I was going to vote, like other canvassers were doing, this lady looked at me and said in a very loud and clear voice (as if she was talking to a deaf old lady?) :”Y-O-U D-O-N’T H-A-V-E A V-O-T-E !”

I was very taken back, and I asked her “why did you say that?”.

She ignored my question, raised her voice further, and kept asking repeatedly: “ D-O Y-O-U H-A-V-E A V-O-T-E?”

I was flabbergasted and horrified to be treated in that manner. I told her I was a voter, but not for FF.

The only reason the canvasser can possibly have assumed that I did not have a vote is because I am non white. It appears to me that FF adopts a racial profiling strategy in election campaigns. I have, in the past, on numerous occasions, been “by passed” when their volunteers hand out leaflets to other people in the village.

The entitlement to vote in the General Elections is a matter of law, and is determined by ones citizenship, not race nor skin colour.

This is a matter which any canvassers should have been fully and properly briefed before being sent out on the canvassing trail. This canvasser’s approach betrayed a racist attitude to say the least.

Although I am non white, I am a British citizen and am a registered voter. Racial profiling is racism.

I would have imagined that (perhaps with the exception of extremists like the National Front), every political party would have Multiculturalism and Integration on their policy agenda. It beggars belief that such a racist incident can happen right on my own door step.

Can you imagine what will happen if David Cameron’s canvassers adopt a similar racial profiling approach in the UK, where 8% of British citizens are non white?

Anyone else who has had a similar experience? Canvassers who wish to comment on their training on the matter or the lack of it?



30 Comments so far