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The Boston Globe

Opinion

TOM KEANE

Non-white mayoral candidates need white vote

Boston has in its hands an opportunity to choose its first non-white mayor ever. Six of the 12 candidates can lay claim to that description, a number of them strong, credible, and eminently electable. At-large City Councilor Felix Arroyo Jr.; John Barros, former head of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative; and Charlotte Golar Richie, once a senior official in the Menino administration, are particular standouts.

It is an opportunity that could be undone, however, by an upcoming event that is breathtakingly wrongheaded: a planned mayoral debate permitting only non-white candidates to speak. But what stuns is the acquiescence of almost all of those who would be mayor. Perhaps short-sighted, perhaps seeing just another opportunity to make their case to a few more voters in a fiercely competitive race, they fail to understand how their participation is not only a moral transgression but a political misstep as well.

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