In late July, former city council candidate Ben Derrick responded to the question on Facebook, "Will you advocate for the marginalized and oppressed in Jonesboro?" with, "yes I will advocate for white, Christian, conservative men!"

What Mr. Derrick later claimed as a joke is common for the privileged: asked to consider the problems of the marginalized, they instead center themselves.

To Mr. Derrick and all other white, Christian, conservative men considering a run for office: This isn't a joke to the marginalized. These are our lives. You have access to the greatest number of levers of power in the U.S. You don't fear being murdered by police at routine traffic stops. You don't layer your keys in a clenched fist when walking home at night in case of assault. You don't worry you'll be denied employment for who you are as a person. But you're very concerned with your perceived losses.

Public service calls for radical empathy, compassion and a certain degree of selflessness. Elected office shouldn't be about bludgeoning the most fragile members of society into silence and invisibility while elevating the people who already hold the most power. Such a position is inherently corrupt; it's why our politics are so broken.

Public service should be about ensuring that everyone has equal access to society and no one is left behind. If white, Christian, conservative men treat our concerns like a joke and can't imagine marginalized folks complexly, then their campaigns and any subsequent service are ethically hollow.

Renay Williams

Jonesboro