Don't let race cloud your vision in deciding who is the best candidate for Sheriff. Look at their leadership, their character, their integrity as these are the qualities of a good Sheriff.
I recall similar conversations I have had with others about Barack Obama, Senator Ted Lieu, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and many others. I am surprised at how many people put race before qualifications. That's not to say these individuals aren't qualified, only that some of the people I spoke to looked ONLY at their race and not at their qualifications. Is it more important to support a particular person because of his/her race rather than their abilities and qualifications? Is that not racial bias? Is it different to say "I like this guy because of his race" than to say "I dislike this guy because of his race"? Sure, the former sounds better, but aren't they both racial bias?
This topic is not so black and white (no pun intended). I have heard people say 'It's not that I don't like my daughter dating a Hakujin, but I wish she would date a Japanese guy." Is there anything wrong with that statement? How about, "I want to see more Asians in politics so they can represent our needs better." Anything wrong with that statement? Or maybe "This country was founded by Christians and should maintain its Christian roots."
Many of us may agree with some of the statements above, even if we don't openly say it. The point is that race DOES play into our decision-making even when we know it is wrong. I would like to think people would say, "I don't care who my daughter dates as long as they make her happy." and "I will vote for the person who best represents the needs of ALL people." and "This country was founded by Christians, but we should respect all religions equally." But that simply isn't reality and it is a sad reflection on us as human beings. Bias lives in all of us.So who do I support in the Sheriff's race? Paul Tanaka has some good qualities and some bad qualities. So does Sheriff Lee Baca as well as each of the other candidates. In the end, I will vote for the person I believe has the greatest leadership skills, strong character and respect towards others, and integrity to do the right thing...always.
Therefore, my vote goes to....you didn't really think I was going to tell you did you?
San Fernando Valley JACL