Archives for November 2014

The world is watching — speaking about Ferguson on British radio

On Monocle 24, putting Ferguson in context — why do police and communities of color mistrust each other?


Darren Wilson saw ‘a demon.’ What do you see?

“He looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face.” That’s how police officer Darren Wilsondescribed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. “The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon.”

Wilson’s testimony convinced the grand jurors and others that the officer was justified in shooting and killing Brown last summer in Ferguson, Mo. Yes, the citizens did a tough job admirably when confronted with mountains of material. But could they also have been affected by research that says black boys as young as 10 are seen as older and guiltier than their white peers?

In an August column “So, black teens who aren’t angels deserve whatever they get?” I wrote, “The shelf life for innocence is short when you are a black male — and there is no room for error.” You don’t get the second chance others might have after an incident of teenage rebellion, such as mouthing off to an authority figure or a more serious scrape. See any number of car-overturning, fire-burning melees after a big sports victory or loss for proof of a double standard.

The answer to the question I posed then has consequences for all Americans because Ferguson, Mo., is about more than one shooting in one town in Middle America. Whatever anyone thinks of the grand jury’s findings, “it” was not a “demon.” Michael Brown was a very human being.


As Bill Cosby’s accusers find their voices, Camille Cosby loses hers

Camille Cosby was always a strong presence in the life and work of Bill Cosby, even as she at times has struggled, she has admitted, to find her own voice. That sacrifice was a part of what it meant to be married to the “Cos.” Beautiful as ever, she has been seen — though not heard — a lot more than usual recently; she sits at the comedian’s side as he mostly refuses to answer questions about accusations of sexual assault. And she has been an off-stage prop when he brags about his five-decade marriage to applause from crowds at tour dates that have not yet been cancelled.

She deserves better.

What Awaits Patrick Cannon After Prison

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —  Charlotte’s former mayor, Patrick Cannon, is now an inmate at FCI Morgantown, a federal prison in West Virginia. He’s got 44 months to go. Our WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis says Charlotte is likely to forgive him, but not forget. Curtis adds that there’s a new skepticism about city and county leaders now. Cannon is still politicking post-office. Curtis adds what could be next for Cannon once he gets out of prison.

The State of North Carolina after Midterms

CHARLOTTE, NC- It’s been one week since mid term elections wrapped up, but where does North Carolina stand now. Is the state red, blue or somewhere in the middle? Political Contributor Mary Curtis says even though the state voted Republican, it’s not necessarily red. Recent races have shown small margins of victory, pointing to problems like voter turnout. For Democrats to be successful in the future, she says the party needs to work on getting more voters to the polls, have a good slate of candidates and sell their message.

Mia Love is black, Mormon, Republican and blowing people’s minds

Mia Love is already getting more attention than most of her newly elected congressional colleagues. She is Haitian American, a woman, daughter of immigrants, Mormon, Republican and from Utah, all things that she seems eager to boast about, except when she isn’t, as those who contrasted her post-election speech with a subsequent CNN interview noted. But her own confusion about when to tout her history-making achievement and when to downplay it is more than matched with the contortions of others who are trying to figure her out.


Is Jill Abramson right about it being harder to retain women journalists of color than to recruit them?

“Promoting women of color has always been important to me. But promotion also has a retention challenge,” Abramson said last week at the Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) conference in Palm Springs, California. “I brought in some fantastic women of color to the Times. One of them is Lynette Clemetson who’s still a great friend of mine. But she left the Times to start theRoot. The competition for the talent is keen.”

After being fired and replaced by her deputy, Dean Baquet, in May, Abramson has continuously expressed pride in the number of women she hired and promoted at the Times during her tenure. She repeated the refrain at the JAWS conference, but ducked a question asked by The Washington Post’s She The People blogger Mary Curtis: In a nutshell, Curtis wanted to know whether Abramson really meant that she was proud of hiring and promoting white women.

For Democrats, ‘war on women’ message fails to motivate enough voters

CHARLOTTE– What were midterm voters feeling? That would be concern about jobs and the economy and anxiety over Islamic terrorism and the Ebola virus creeping over American borders. A Democratic “war on women” message that helped Terry McAuliffe become Virginia’s governor in 2013 did not gain much traction with a 2014 electorate in a foul mood and ready to blame it on President Obama and a gridlocked Congress.

The gender gap was not wide enough to save Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado, Bruce Braley in Iowa or incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina. Astute and well-financed campaigns honed a Republican message that worked spectacularly. And women who did show up at the polls let it be known that they hardly walk in gender lockstep on issues of education, the economy and abortion and choice.

Election results: What’s next?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Thom Tillis won North Carolina’s  U.S. Senate race against incumbent Kay Hagan, helping republicans claim a majority in Washington. President Obama is meeting with both parties Friday at the White House to discuss what happens next. Our WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis, says Kay Hagan has a lot to overcome. She also says voters expressed that they want to see their government in control.

Election Night: 2014

Mary C. Curtis on how voting laws might affect midterms.