Last month there was an letter to The News talking about the new council and claiming, “How can a council with little diversity, no democratic values, and limited policy-making experience represent West Windsor—a community that is around 50 percent non-white, that votes over 70 percent Democrat in state and federal races, and that values education and expertise?”
I find these race-based identity politics most unpleasant. I grew up in West Windsor since 1999 among a myriad of races, cultures and ethnicities.
Growing up in this town it was almost as if race didn’t exist. No one talked about it, and everyone treated each other like humans in school instead of skin colors.
We weren’t ignorant of the what happened on the outside, but we didn’t use race to be divisive and claim that our race was anything more than an ancestral adaptation to the scattering UV light of a particular geographical location.
The human condition is beyond just skin color and culture. My five best friends are racially and culturally as different from me as can possibly be, but they also understand me better than anyone.
Why? Because race is not the sole indicator of your identity unless you decide to make it that way. I have so much more to say on this, but I’m running out of space and I’m open to the discussion with anyone who would like to listen.
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In her letter to The News last month (January 2020), Shin-Yi Lin—who in the last election ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the town council—started her letter off by wishing new council members Sonia Gawas, Andrea Mandel and Michael Stevens the best in their work in public service.
She then went on to cast doubts about their “capacity to govern” before they even had a chance to be sworn in, and seemingly did her best to diminish them personally and professionally.
As a long-time resident, I’d like to recognize these individuals in addition to the rest of the council and the mayor for being good neighbors, and thank them for graciously volunteering their time to serve our township.
I’d also like to point out to Ms. Lin that in any community there are bound to be differing perspectives on a wide range of issues, some of it driven by different life experiences.
What may be controversial to some may be common sense to others, and vice versa. Perhaps Ms. Lin can take a little time to reflect on that, and hopefully refocus her future efforts toward finding common ground.