This article fresh from City and State NY calls Democratic Congressional candidate Nate Shinagawa “the Jeremy Lin of politics”. While the article starts off with an extended metaphor comparing both Grace Meng and Nate Shinagawa to great baseball players in the game of politics, it then changes flavor as quickly as someone can pen “At this point, Jeremy Lin comparisons are inevitable”.
Michael Benjamin states, “Tompkins County Legislator Nate Shinagawa’s primary win is remarkable because he won in an overwhelmingly non–Asian-American district. His victory is what the Voting Rights Act was intended to make possible: enable voters to choose candidates without governmental interference or racial prejudice.”
However, to argue that Shinagawa’s victory is evidence of the Voting Rights Act being successful and (somehow in Benjamin’s mind) unnecessary is the racist claim that we live in a post-racial society. This is especially true in politics when uncountable obstacles, voting ID requirements being one, keep communities of color from voting. While I commend Benjamin for highlighting Shinagawa’s many accomplishments and milestones of experience as a county legislator and healthcare administrator, this kind of call to remove New York from under the Voting Rights Act is downright dangerous. One man’s victory because he has the valued qualities voters want to see in their representation does not mean that New York politics is somehow immune to racism and “has effectively overcome its past treatment of minority voters and candidates”. It doesn’t work like that, buddy.
And besides all of the post-racial colorblind language, can we talk about how Benjamin immediately and completely unnecessarily draws a confusing comparison to Jeremy Lin?