US Opinion and Commentary

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Issues of Race, Police and Patriotism

Posted September 23rd, 2016 at 11:49 am (UTC-4)
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Protesters peaceably walked past police and national guardsmen Thursday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, a 180-degree turn from Wednesday’s near-riot that prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency.
The protests were over Tuesday’s killing of a black man by Charlotte police. Days before, on Friday, a black man was killed by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Video of both incidents exists. The video in Tulsa raises questions about whether deadly force was necessary, and manslaughter charges have been filed against the officer. In Charlotte, police and family members of the victim say the video is inconclusive in determining whether the man had a gun and was threatening the officers.
These killings have re-ignited the debate over social justice for African-Americans, a cause now taken up by some professional football players after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick registered his protest by kneeling instead of standing during the pre-game national anthem.
As a battleground state in the presidential election, North Carolina, for the moment, stands at the intersection of American politics and American culture.

Battleground: Bathrooms

Posted May 6th, 2016 at 3:48 pm (UTC-4)
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America’s culture wars have a new battlefield: the bathroom.
North Carolina’s House Bill 2 was passed in March. It requires people to use public bathrooms corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate.
That means, if someone was born a boy, they can only enter men’s restrooms, even if they have fully transitioned to the opposite gender. The same goes for women now living as men.
Transgender people say this discriminates against them and puts them in physical danger.
The U.S. Justice Department evidently agrees and has notified North Carolina’s governor that House Bill 2 violates the Civil Rights Act and other federal anti-discrimination laws.
Supporters of the law say it is simply designed to protect women and children from sexual predators. They say child predators might simply act transgender in order to get access to children in public restrooms.
So far, there have been no documented incidents of this happening in the 12 states that already have non-discrimination laws on the books.
North Carolina officials have been given a deadline of Monday to decide whether they will enforce House Bill 2, or risk forfeiting billions of dollars in federal aid.
10 months after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage throughout the United States, transgender rights may be on a trajectory that could land it on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court.