Original Commentary

Original Commentary

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Reflections on systemic racism in higher education

CHAPEL HILL – Several of my White friends and colleagues have asked me recently what changes are required to address systemic racism in higher education institutions.  After reflecting on personal experiences as an African-American professor for four decades in two predominantly White institutions, I will highlight activities that have given me race fatigue over the years – things I no longer would have to do or experience if systemic racism did not exist.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Black history matters!

For the past month, there has been much said about the current racial climate in America. The eyes of the world are focused on the plight of Black people in the good ol’ US of A. Everybody from politicians to professional athletes are putting their two cents into the discussion about how African Americans can achieve equality in this country. But what about those who are educating our future leaders?

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Glimmers of hope at a time of crisis

If ever there was a year in which it is a good thing to be past the midway point, 2020 would appear to be it. Between the illness, death and mass economic suffering ushered directly in by the pandemic, the truck-sized fissures, inequities and injustices in our society that the crisis has brought into sharper-than-ever relief...

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Original Commentary Other Voices Top Story

What to the slave is the Fourth of July?

…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

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The 2020 General Assembly in a nutshell: profits over people

It’s never safe to predict what the current leadership of the North Carolina General Assembly will do when it comes to scheduling gatherings in Raleigh, but if the end of the 2020 legislative session really is nigh at it appears, the past several weeks will have served as a fitting conclusion to a decade of conservative Republican rule.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Sometimes love wins: reflections of a straight pastor on the struggle for LGBTQ equality

In 1980, I moved to San Francisco, living in a collective in an old Victorian in Haight-Ashbury. Sitting in the parlor one day, I saw our neighbor descending the staircase — a bearded man wearing a nun’s habit. I later learned he was “Sister Boom Boom” of the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”

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C’mon North Carolina, choose life and health – wear a mask

For many Americans, the initial reactions to seeing images on the news (or even occasionally in an American airport) of seemingly young and healthy people – usually from Asian countries – wearing protective masks in public places was mostly negative. They included: “What the heck, could things really be that bad?” “What a pain that must be. What a lousy and fearful way to go through life.”

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Veteran NC civil rights lawyer: The meaning, impact and promise of the Racial Justice Act

When I was a young Black lawyer in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, there was an unwritten rule in North Carolina’s courtrooms: Though race shaped every aspect of the criminal punishment system, we were not to mention it, let alone raise objections to it. Well over a decade before the U. S. Supreme Court outlawed racial discrimination in jury selection, I objected to Black people being excluded from a jury.

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William Barber explains how to tell if we’re really at a watershed moment for race in America

The signs out there are so striking and numerous that it sure seems as if something transformative and historic is underway in America. All across the nation, powerful and conservative white voices – voices that have long remained silent or actively opposed real change and progress in addressing centuries of racial oppression – are speaking up to say, in effect, “we were wrong.”

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Why NC needs to hit the pause on school choice until we meet students’ basic needs

When you’re stuck in a hole, the best advice is to stop digging. Few would dispute that North Carolina’s public schools currently find themselves in a hole. Over the past decade, Raleigh’s lawmakers have chosen to prioritize tax cuts for the rich over investing in our students. Over this period, student achievement has stalled with shockingly few high school graduates prepared for college-level coursework. The opportunity gaps faced by Black, Latinx and Native American students, and those from families with low incomes, have remained persistently high. Racial and economic segregation have increased.

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Surely now, North Carolina will end executions for good

The timing of the North Carolina Supreme Court’s June 5th ruling couldn’t have been more appropriate. In a week in which millions of Americans took to the streets to voice their outrage at the seemingly never-ending succession of incidents in which unarmed people of color have been killed by law enforcement officers, the ruling upholding protections conferred by a statute known as the “Racial Justice Act” shined a bright ray of light across a stormy landscape. Of course, as with the protests themselves, it’s a tragic commentary on our society that such a court ruling was even necessary to begin with.

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