Archives for June 2013

The Supreme Court’s post-racial fantasy

That was then, this is now. The reasoning behind the Supreme Court’s ruling this week striking down key parts of the Voting Rights Act uses considerably more words, but that simple phrase pretty much says it all. To accept that conclusion, though, one has to accept that America is as post-racial as some have insisted since the election of President Obama.

Is Paula Deen’s n-word use a Southern thing?

Some fans and fellow chefs have defended her, accepting the first explanation that as a child of the South, such language and attitudes were common and not a sign that she treated anyone poorly. Putting aside the difference between what anyone does or says behind closed doors at home and the atmosphere entrepreneurs must create in the workplace, does accepting that “everyone did it that way so can we just stop being politically correct and move on” characterize a region with a broad and racially poisonous stereotype?

Keeping it Positive: The Gray Classic


CHARLOTTE, N.C. –   WCCB Rising’s “Keeping it Positive” contributor Mary Curtis has been jet-setting it this past week, but she took out time to stop in to talk about this year’s The Gray Classic Golf Tournament.  The Gray Classic Golf Tournament began in 2009 and proceeds the 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte’s Movement of Youth mentoring and education program.  This year’s tournament runs Thursday, July 18th thourgh Sunday the 21st.

Keeping it Positive: Find Your Roots



CHARLOTTE, N.C. —  More people are using their spare time to trace their family lineage. The Harvey B. Gantt Center is helping people in Charlotte do the same.  Harvard professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates is the inaugural speaker for the 2013 Gantt Symposium. The event is Thursday, June 27th surrounding Dr. Gates’ “Finding Your Roots”. The discussion will explore individual lineage and American history. Mary Curtis shares what audiences can expect.

Bill Clinton makes headlines. Oh, and Hillary, too

Bill Clinton has never been shy about making headlines. This week, he’s had plenty of opportunities, with his Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Chicago. There he gets the chance to share a stage with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, no wallflower himself. Before that, at a private event hosted by another Republican, Arizona Sen. John McCain, the former president broke with the current one and pushed for a more aggressive U.S. posture toward Syria.

It added another chapter to the Barack Obama-Bill Clinton drama and, coincidentally, intruded a bit on Hillary Clinton’s own moment in the spotlight. The former secretary of state, said to be considering a 2016 White House run, debuted a Twitter account and made her own policy speech, where she played a little nicer with her former boss. Her speech emphasized educational and economic empowerment, though, of course, she had carved out foreign policy expertise in her former cabinet post.

That can’t trump the experience of a former president, though. Plus, when Bill Clinton and Barack Obama interact, all eyes will always turn to them, whether it’s a buddy-buddy embrace, as at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, or this latest tussle.

It was a reminder that the quote 1992 presidential candidate Bill Clinton often used in reference to his wife — “you get two for the price of one” — will always be true and will always be both blessing and curse for one or the other.

Keeping It Positive: Where to Enjoy Some Cool Jazz on a Hot Summer Evening

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –   WCCB Rising’s “Keeping it Positive” contributor Mary Curtis tells us how we can cool out on a hot summer evening…take a jazz break.   The 4th Annual Uptown Jazz Fest will kick of on June 21st at the Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheater with nationally known musicians performing.    If you prefer an indoor venue, head up to the Jazz Room @ the Stage Door Theater at Blumenthal on June 18th.  For the younger jazz fans, Jazz Camp is just the thing.  Kids from grades 7 through 12 can enjoy a one week comprehensive music training program.

North Carolina protesters look forward and reach back to faith

If the scene looks familiar, well, it is.

A minister leading the way as a multi-hued crowd of demonstrators speaks of justice and equality, even while being peacefully led away by police. Speeches laced with words of scripture on caring for “the least of these.” A governor who calls a growing numbers of protesters “outsiders.”

It’s the South, in 2013, not 1963. But surprisingly to some, it’s North Carolina, long hailed as a moderate to progressive Southern state that is now making national headlines for Moral Mondays, named that by those who object to a stream of conservative proposals put forth by a Republican-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

Growing protest vs. conservative legislation: North Carolina in the national spotlight

CHARLOTTE – North Carolina’s Republican Gov. Pat McCrory was a rock star to the crowd gathered at the party’s 2013 state convention over the weekend at the Charlotte Convention Center. But as the conservative agenda led by GOP super-majorities in both the state House and Senate in Raleigh continues to advance, disapproval is mounting, with an increasing amount of national attention.

How did a Republican wave overtake a Southern state long thought of as moderate, even progressive, one that gave Barack Obama a narrow win in 2008 and where the vote was close as Mitt Romney took it in 2012?

And will a growing and diverse group of protesters gathering weekly at the state legislative building in Raleigh for what they call Moral Mondays, speaking up and being arrested, be able to turn back a tide of legislation North Carolina NAACP president Rev. Dr. William Barber calls “extreme and immoral”?

J.C. Watts on GOP minority outreach: ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’

J.C. Watts, one of the stars the North Carolina Republican Party convention crowd in Charlotte, N.C., came to hear and take pictures with on Friday night, talked about his own dissatisfaction with the general GOP minority outreach effort. “The key is to put teeth in it and to be real about it,” he told me. “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Watts, a former Republican U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma and now a columnist and consultant based in Washington, D.C., continues to be a symbol and ambassador for African-American GOP success.

For South Carolina families, food banks help ease the grip of hunger

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sometimes the line forms before the doors open at 9 a.m. at Harvest Hope Food Bank, a part of the Feeding America network. Chris Daly, chief operating officer of Harvest Hope, told me on Tuesday, “It gets you when they’re here before you.” The father of four said he can’t imagine the stress level of the clients, some trying to keep their children calm during what may be a two-hour wait. Harvest Hope tries to be “hospitable, quick and respectful,” he said.

The cavernous Columbia facility is part distribution center, supplier — with the agency’s other facilities — to about 500 partners in 20 South Carolina counties that feed some 38,000 people a week with what amounts to 30 million pounds of food a year. Also important is Harvest Hope’s role as a food pantry, where families can come Monday through Friday to pick up the protein, dairy products, produce and bakery goods that will help them through tough times. “You never get more than a few feet away from the end goal of the mission,” Daly said. “It keeps you grounded.”

In the United States, the child food insecurity rate, according to Feeding America data, is at 22.4 percent. In a list that no state wants to lead, South Carolina ties with Mississippi in the No. 10 spot at 27.4 percent. The numbers say that in South Carolina, 292,800 children out of a total under-18 population of 1,067,813 live in food insecure households.