• 45°

Editorial: Our state in the spotlight

One hundred years after black veterans of the Civil War first pushed for a museum honoring their service, the dream has materialized. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture now has a permanent place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Among the obstacles the museum faced was North Carolina’s Sen. Jesse Helms, who lives again in video footage being shown in reports about the museum this week. “Once we approve this museum, we will be called upon by other minority groups, and they will be justified in doing so — to provide museums for their particular groups,” Helms argued in a committee hearing in 1994, as if African Americans were just another minority. It was a small-minded but temporarily successful stand.

On Monday, the NCAA announced it was pulling seven championship events scheduled in North Carolina for 2016-17 because of House Bill 2. The state law restricts transgender bathroom access and limits the civil rights of the LGBT community, though proponents tend to sensationalize its purpose in very different terms. In a campaign ad, Gov. Pat McCrory asks why opponents are “pushing to make our schools allow boys to use the girls’ locker rooms and showers.” State GOP spokeswoman Kami Mueller went an absurd step further, suggesting that, by citing HB2, the NCAA was opposed to having women’s bathrooms and locker rooms.

Nothing fully compares to the struggles endured by African-Americans throughout U.S. history, but the opening of the museum and the NCAA decision are alike in one regard: both throw a national spotlight on bids by North Carolinians to hold up or even reverse social change. Neither is a proud moment for the state.

A growing list of individuals and organizations see North Carolina’s “bathroom law” as a threat to fair and equitable treatment, and they don’t want to be associated with it. Mark Emmert, NCAA president, announced the group’s decision: “We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships.”

Attendance at NCAA basketball games topped 32 million in 2015-16, so NCAA officials know something about security. Yet the organization feels fans and athletes are better off in an environment free of HB2. Other states have similar laws, but the NCAA says only the North Carolina law goes so far — overruling any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class, and providing legal protection for government officials who refuse services to the LGBT community.

Gov. Pat McCrory and like-minded politicians see a left-wing conspiracy in the growing list of HB2-inspired boycotts. On Tuesday, McCrory struck a somewhat neutral tone, saying gender and privacy issues will be resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court and urging everyone to hold off on further action for now. But his campaign ads are not waiting, and neither is the NCAA schedule. Time waits for no one, not even the Supreme Court. How will North Carolina look when this moment is played back to us 20 years from now?

Comments

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business