Archives for July 2019

Charlotte Talks News Roundup: Clayton Wilcox In CMS Limbo; Trump Racist Tweet Stirs Anger

The revolving door of Charlotte-Mecklenbrg Schools superintendents appeared ready for another turn with the sudden suspension of Clayton Wilcox. President Trump, on the heels of his racist tweet, appeared in front of a North Carolina crowd that chanted “send her back,” which the president later tried to disavow.

David Boraks, reporter, WFAE (@davidboraks)

Danielle Chemtob, development reporter, The Charlotte Observer (@daniellechemtob)

Mary C. Curtis, columnist, Roll Call (@mcurtisnc3)

Erik Spanberg, managing editor, Charlotte Business Journal (@CBJspanberg)

Will America ‘go back’ to where it came from?

OPINION — It’s an inside joke I’ve told the last couple of years.

My ancestors on both sides have been in America for generations — men, women and children whose blood, sweat and grit drenched the Maryland soil they cultivated and farmed and lived on. Originally brought by force, they claimed their place proudly and served the country’s ideals admirably. In contrast, my husband, second generation to these shores, on both sides, is an American-come-lately. But because his grandfather sailed into New York harbor on a ship that set off from Kristiansand, Norway, he is our president’s dream (Scandinavian) citizen.

I’m not laughing at that punch line anymore, not when Donald Trump has shown how sincerely he believes that belonging is automatic for some and conditional for others. It has never been clearer that the president of the United States considers some Americans more worthy of respect and consideration and legitimacy than others, and how he draws that line is as simple as black and white.

What’s Next After CMS Board Suspends Superintendent

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It is a challenge that school systems around the country face, but the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system does seem to regularly make headlines because of changes and turmoil in leadership. This week, CMS officials announced the suspension of superintendent Clayton Wilcox in an email. Wilcox, who has been in the job for two years and early this year got a bump in compensation, is the district’s fifth superintendent in 10 years

Why big yellow buses are the big red herring of 2020

OPINION — Ed Sanders was both unique and ordinary. He became, in his own way, a hero just for doing his job.

When Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools integrated in North Carolina, if you can call it that, by allowing a handful of African American students to attend schools formerly reserved for whites only in September 1957, Sanders was principal of Central High. He had to smooth the way for Gus Roberts, its first black student, in a city still segregated in everything from housing to swimming pools to bathrooms.

As he told me when I interviewed him more than a decade ago, Sanders, a Simpsonville, South Carolina, native, had no particular desire to be a pioneer; all he knew was that he was principal. He prepared by enlisting the football team as protectors, using the threat of a canceled season as leverage and anointing a custodian as the young man’s unobtrusive guardian angel. When crowds gathered and one boy knocked the cap off the new kid’s head, Sanders threatened him and any other troublemaker with expulsion from his school and every other one in the city as he escorted Roberts through the front door.

What Does the Jeffrey Epstein Case Say About Justice and Privilege?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As more details are revealed in the case of Jeffrey Epstein, the multi-millionaire arrested on charges of sex-trafficking girls as young as 14, there are more and more questions. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, who, when he was a U.S. attorney, arranged a plea deal for Epstein, is defending himself and resisting calls to resign. But many want to know more about why Epstein received such a light sentence in that case in Florida, and whether power and privilege played a part.

Epstein has pleaded not guilty. Now, the young women are speaking out – and many Americans are examining a criminal justice system that seems to work differently for rich and poor.

Are we in this American experiment together? A July Fourth question to contemplate

OPINION — Who doesn’t love Cary Grant, the debonair British-born, American acting legend, who wooed leading ladies, including the Hepburns, Katharine and Audrey, as well as generations of moviegoers?

But he was not so charming when his submarine commander character in 1943’s “Destination Tokyo” said: “The Japs don’t understand the love we have for our women. They don’t even have a word for it in their language.”

Demonizing “the enemy” in wartime as “the other,” incapable of emotion and not quite human is not unusual. But someone always pay a hefty price. Loyal Japanese American families, rounded up and shipped to internment camps, waited until 1988 for President Ronald Reagan to issue an apology; survivors received meager compensation. Though that was expected to be that, the trauma to those Americans and the nation lingered.

And despite that World War II-era lesson, and ones before and after, America continues to make the same mistake, a notion important to contemplate during the Fourth of July festivities, when we celebrate the ideal.

This year, a Washington, D.C., military parade and fireworks display with a speech by Donald Trump that places a national holiday squarely in partisan territory will be both a distraction from and a reminder of our current plight.

A Controversial Fourth of July Celebration

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Even an all-American holiday doesn’t mean a break from political polarization. The annual WashingtonD.C., party and fireworks celebration this year will also feature an exhibit of military might, with tanks, flyovers and a speech by the president. With the Republican National Committee handing out VIP tickets, is the event more campaign rally or public salute to the country? Depends on what side you’re on.