North Carolina NAACP President William Barber is on the money again this week with an op-ed in Soujourner magazine (co-written with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove) about some of the less well-reported facts about Gov. Pat McCrory’s new discrimination law.
As Barber highlights, it’s been lost in the widespread outrage over the LGBT discrimination language in the new law that the law also targets other vulnerable people — especially people of color — for unfair treatment. One section, for instance, repeals the common law right of North Carolinians to sue in state court for discrimination in the workplace. This makes one of just two states (Mississippi is the other — what a surprise!) to sink to this level.
But wait, it gets worse. Here’s Barber:
“This week in North Carolina, Tammy Covil, a Republican candidate for a House seat in N.C.’s General Assembly, sent out a campaign flier that said, ‘Liberals in our state voted to potentially allow sexual predators access to women’s bathrooms!’ The picture on the flier showed a young white woman entering a restroom where a young black man in a hoodie was lurking in the corner. ‘We must stop this liberal movement that puts the innocent at risk and forsakes our Family Values,’ the flier concluded. Once again, the message was clear: The good white people of North Carolina must rise up and take control.
In the quick and heated discussion about HB2, this lurking racism was missed, even by some African-American legislators who voted for the bill. A closer look reveals the more sinister intent of this ’emergency’ session. While Section 1 of the bill is an attack on equal protection — not just for transgender people, but for all sexual minorities — the ‘Wage and Hour Act’ of Section 2 has nothing to do with LGBTQ issues. Citing the ‘police power of the State,’ lawmakers asserted their authority to override local efforts to raise the minimum wage and protect the civil rights of local residents. In a sweeping power grab, extremist Republicans violated their own political philosophy to exert control over municipalities where the electorate is more diverse. Exploiting public fear and ignorance, they persuaded some Democrats to vote with them. The bill was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory before anyone outside the legislature had time to review it.”
As Barber goes on to point out, McCrory’s new law is really a matter of all of the Right’s worst instincts and fears coming to the fore as they seek to undermine the progressive, multi-racial fusion politics that has been unleashed in the state in recent years: Read more