Opinion: Playing racial favourites is not the best way to fight systemic racism

National Post
Black entrepreneurs Trudeau National Post | James Alexander Michie

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils plans for post-coronavirus recovery for Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in Toronto on Sept. 9, 2020. PHOTO BY CARLOS OSORIO/REUTERS

In relation to this, it was expected that possibly many should be delighted with the new liberal government program, however, this is not the case, since it is clear that they are not.

Likewise, it is well known that the Liberal government has announced plans for a Black Entrepreneurship Program that will work with banks and other lending agencies to provide loans and other support to black entrepreneurs. The program is supposed to address the serious obstacles black entrepreneurs encounter when trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, grow their businesses, and start new ones. In a way, these obstacles include a lack of access to capital, networks, and mentorship. The reason black entrepreneurs face these challenges more than other entrepreneurs is supposed to be due to “systemic racism”.

A solution that is not well accepted

Certainly, the solution proposed by the government is based on a special program aimed exclusively at these entrepreneurs. However, it could be said that many do not agree with this solution, which in fact has not been well accepted. Many are clearly not happy with it.

The good intentions of the government are not to be doubted, however, there is a great concern and that is that a race-based program like this, whether successful or not, is unlikely to gain long-term public support because it creates divisions and it will be seen as the government as a favorite.

If a nation is an extended family, then any government-initiated program must unite the family, not divide it. There is no question that some black entrepreneurs have had trouble accessing capital, but can anyone prove that a specific black loan applicant was rejected solely on the basis of race? That is illegal, and if it happens and can be proven, then the loan officer and your institution must be held accountable. However, if the problems black entrepreneurs have in raising capital for their businesses are problems they share with non-black entrepreneurs, then government solutions should be open to all Canadians, not just a racial minority. A government committed to fighting systemic racism should not establish racial preferences or racially divisive programs.

Source: National Post

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