Archives for May 2013

Backlash greets Cheerios ad with interracial family

Here we go again, with more proof, if anyone needed it, that the post-racial American society some hoped the election of an African American president signified is far from here.

Who would have thought that breakfast cereal would trigger the latest racial battle line? In this case, a Cheerios ad much like every other homespun Cheerios ad — with a heart healthy message and loving family – ran into trouble from some commenters because of the kind of family it featured. Mom is white, dad is black and their cute little daughter is a mix of the both of them.

That’s it.

Cheerios had to disable comments on YouTube – I’m not going to repeat them but you can imagine the general witless racism with stereotypes about minorities and warnings of race-mixing as the end of civilization.

Nurses describe ‘unsafe’ conditions at Delaware abortion clinic

When Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for killing babies in his West Philadelphia abortion clinic, it brought a continuing debate onto the front pages, with even the amount of trial coverage a cause of conflict. With his case as a backdrop, abortion-rights activists warned that his filthy and dangerous clinic would be the norm for desperate poor women if increasingly restrictive laws continued to be approved.  Planned Parenthood called his crimes “appalling.” Many opposed to abortion saw Gosnell and his clinic, ignored by regulators, as indicative of why terminating a pregnancy, particularly late in the process, should be illegal. The fact that what Gosnell was doing was criminal occasionally got lost in all the politics. His case, though, is prompting closer looks at abortion providers.

In neighboring Delaware, state lawmakers at a hearing on Wednesday tried to sort out allegations of questionable medical conduct at several clinics there, and what the state did or did not do in response. The setting — a bipartisan hearing at the state capital of Dover though no legislation was pending — could be considered political. The focus was the testimony of two nurses who said they were not opposed to abortions, but to unsafe medical practices. They described conditions they said they witnessed at their former employer, Planned Parenthood of Delaware, including rushed abortion procedures that emphasized speed and profit instead of patient safety, insufficiently trained staff and a neglect of medical standards that ultimately put patients at risk.

Keeping It Positive: Onstage Magic with the Award Winning Play ‘War Horse’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – WCCB Rising’s “Keeping it Positive” contributor Mary Curtis attended the opening night  performance of “War Horse” which is now playing at Belk Theater.   The award winning play brings magic to the stage as well as allowing the audience to use their imagination.  Great puppetry and wonderful visual effects bring to life the horses and the action in the play.

The weird racial politics of South Carolina

South Carolina, the cradle of the Confederacy, is represented by African-American Sen. Tim Scott, and has an Indian-American governor, Nikki Haley – both conservative Republicans. Yet any idea that the state is progressing on the racial conflicts that have defined much of its history took another hit on Sunday. That’s when the Haley for Governor Grassroots Advisory Committee, her grass-roots political organization, asked for and received the resignation of one of its 164 co-chairs after his statements on racial purity came to light.

Civil-rights groups and Democrats had been pressuring the Haley campaign, which initially stood by Roan Garcia-Quintana, a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens. But his defense of his beliefs didn’t work out so smoothly. In an interview last week with The State explaining his position on the board of directors of the council, Garcia-Quintana denied that he and the group are racist. The council “supports Caucasian heritage,” he said. “Is it racist to be proud of your own heritage?” he asked. “Is it racist to want to keep your own heritage pure?”

Paula Broadwell apologizes for affair with still-in-the-headlines David Petraeus

Paula Broadwell, trying to get back to life before the headlines, has apologized for her affair with David H. Petraeus, which led to his resignation as CIA director.

In her first in-depth interview, with ABC News affiliate WSOC in Charlotte, Broadwell said, “I have remorse for the harm that this has caused, the sadness this has caused in my family and other families.” She said, “I’m the first to admit I’ve made mistakes, and I’m regretful for the pain I’ve caused, but at some point again you pick yourself up face forward and keep moving.” She said she’s “not focused on the past.”

Is North Carolina moving backward on civil rights?

CHARLOTTE – North Carolina has never had a problem bragging about its progressive history. In 1960, when George Wallace was formulating the hard-line segregationist stand that would propel him to multiple terms in the Alabama statehouse, North Carolina was electing as its governor Terry Sanford, who was an advocate of education, an opponent of capital punishment and took moderate but definite steps toward integration – at the time a risk in the South.

In the early 1970′s, Mecklenburg County liked to contrast pictures of the relative calm that greeted its busing of students to achieve school integration with the violence and vandalism up North in Boston’s busing battles. And 50 years ago, in May 1963, a year before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public accommodations, Charlotte leaders — black and white — paired up for two-by-two integration of restaurants, called “eat-ins,” a name that played off the “sit-ins” of three years before at a Greensboro, N.C., Woolworth’s counter.

This week, marchers retraced the steps of Charlotte’s marchers. But 2013 events in the capital city of Raleigh aren’t mirroring such togetherness. For the last month, marchers have been using the old tactics, and not for nostalgia’s sake. In what they have labeled “Moral Monday” demonstrations, crowds have gathered inside the North Carolina Legislative Building to protest, resulting in an increasing number of arrests by the General Assembly police.

Keeping It Positive: Celebrating Charlotte’s Leadership in the Civil Rights Movement

Celebrate Charlotte’s role in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s with a 2013  “eat-in,” taking the lead of the diverse citizens who integrated the city’s restaurants in May 1963.

When do teachers and big government get respect? When we need them

When the news and pictures streamed in from Oklahoma, it was terrible and shocking. The tornado hit Moore, leveling homes and obliterating a school, where frightened children turned to teachers who comforted them, kept their cool and tried to protect their charges, with their own bodies if it came to that.

As state and local officials were still figuring out the extent of the damage, they got word from President Obama that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would assist efforts to recover and rebuild.

The first responders — as they did at the Boston Marathon bombing, the Texas fertilizer plant explosions, Hurricane Sandy and every other disaster — earned high praise and some credit that the too-high casualty count was not higher.

Teachers, big government, city and county workers — it seems it sometimes takes a tragedy to love them.

O.J. is back. Who cares?

He’s heavier, older and grayer these days. Yet O.J. Simpson seems small.  Even back in 1995, when he retained a hint of the athlete he had been, Simpson never quite rose to the “Trial of the Century!” headline or to all the others – from slow-mo white Broncos to ill-fitting gloves – that screamed his story.

After more than four years in prison, O.J. Simpson returned to a Las Vegas courtroom this week to protest his conviction on armed robbery and kidnapping charges for trying to reclaim items stolen from him and set to be sold as sports memorabilia. That’s his story, anyway. He blames bad counsel and wants a new trial.

The audience  was much smaller than in 1995 and the pandemonium nonexistent.

Keeping It Positive: Exploring the World in Charlotte


CHARLOTTE — From International House to an Italian festival to art museums, this week is a good time to discover the world right here in Charlotte.