Cory Booker bows out, Ben Carson backs off fair housing and issues of race recede in America

OPINION — It doesn’t take a candidate of color on a debate stage to raise issues of justice and inequality. But that has been the way it has worked out, mostly.

For example, it was exhilarating for many when then-candidate Julián Castro said in a Democratic debate, “Police violence is also gun violence,” while naming Atatiana Jefferson, killed in her Fort Worth, Texas, home by a police officer who shot through the window without identifying himself. Castro’s words were an acknowledgment of the lived experiences of many in America. He has since dropped out of the race, as has California Sen. Kamala Harris, who chided her party for taking the support of black women for granted.

POLITICAL WRAP: Lack of Diversity on Democratic Debate Stage?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Next week, the democratic candidates for president will meet again on the debate stage. But now the field is beginning to narrow. So far, only six candidates have qualified.

And with California Senator Kamala Harris dropping out of the race last week, some Democrats worry there will be a lack of diversity on the stage December 19th.

WCCB Charlotte Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis has more in this week’s political wrap.

Double standards for 2020 Democratic hopefuls? You don’t say

OPINION — There is a particular line that stuck with me in the just-opened film “Queen & Slim,” about a black couple on the run after an altercation with a white police officer goes awry in the depressing and terrible way you might imagine. During their perilous road trip, in a quieter moment, he (a retail worker) asks her (an attorney) if she is good at her job. “I’m an excellent lawyer,” she replies, to which he answers with a question that’s really a statement: “Why do black people always got to be excellent? Why can’t we just be ourselves?”

Since the pre-mortems were written a bit ago, it’s time for a post-mortem on the presidential campaign of California Sen. Kamala Harris, who never seemed to quite discover who she was or at least convey authenticity and excellence to enough voters or donors to make a difference.

Buttigieg Seeks Black Voter Support as Presidential Race Shifts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Though his support has surged in early caucus and primary states Iowa and New Hampshire, 2020 Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg has low polling numbers in states with a more diverse voting base. In South Carolina, he is polling in the very low single digits, which is a step up from his former number of 0%. Though he has funds and momentum, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor might hit a wall in a party that depends on a strong African-American and Hispanic voting base.

Minority voters — African-American women in particular — were key in recent elections that turned Virginia state government blue and re-elected a Democratic governor in Louisiana after President Trump campaigned for his opponent. Can Buttigieg solve this problem and save his chances to be the nominee?

And what does it say about the 2020 race on the Democratic side, which started out with such a diverse group, now that California Sen. Kamala Harris has dropped out and the slate for the December debate has narrowed to top candidates who do not reflect that party’s racial diversity. (Mary C. Curtis)

Bloomberg, Biden, Buttigieg and the bunch apologize. Should black voters listen, forgive and vote?

OPINION — Of course, Michael Bloomberg went there — there being a black church to ask for forgiveness. As he tentatively dips his toe and his billions into the Democratic presidential race, joining a scrum that expands even as it shrinks, Bloomberg, perhaps realizing that the path to the presidency must include the enthusiastic support of black and brown voters, has rethought his enthusiastic support of “stop and frisk.”

“I got something important really wrong,” he told the congregation at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Sunday. “I didn’t understand back then the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities.”

As New York City mayor, Bloomberg insisted that in order to fight crime, police must have the power to stop anyone judged a potential lawbreaker, which translated to ritualizing a practice that humiliated hundreds of thousands of black and brown New Yorkers who were detained, questioned and patted down because of “furtive movements” or some other vague justification. The number of stops rose to more than 685,000 in 2011, with no citations made or charges brought nearly 90 percent of the time.

President Trump, Democratic Challengers to Attend Criminal Justice Forum in South Carolina

Mr. Trump will participate in a criminal justice forum Friday at Benedict College in Columbia.

POLITICAL WRAP: President Trump Speaking in SC at Criminal Justice Reform Event

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Happening this week: President Donald Trump is visiting South Carolina as part of a bi-partisan event on criminal justice reform.

The White House confirms Trump will appear Friday at a forum at Benedict College in Columbia. The event marks Trump’s first visit to a historically black college or university.

Some of the democrats vying to challenge him are also planning to attend… including front-runners Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Democratic Debate Wrap: Any Game Changers?

CHARLOTTENC — A dozen democratic presidential candidates taking the stage in Ohio Tuesday night — in a critical debate that could reshape the race for the nomination.

Health care once again a major topic as well as the impeachment inquiry and President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.

Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in on the debate and what it means for the race.

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.

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.