In 2009, 40.6 percent of single-parent families with children in North Carolina lived in poverty, while only 7.2 percent of married couples with children were poor. Seventy-two percent of black children in North Carolina are born to single mothers, compared to 26.5 percent of white children. The best weapon against black child poverty in North Carolina is strong black marriages.
The issues UNC law professor Gene Nichol raises around criminal justice reform “What is the N.C. Republican Party’s agenda on race?” (June 30) are very complicated, and I cannot do them full justice in this short response. But it is worth pointing out that a third of the murderers who have used The Racial Justice Act to challenge the death penalty were white. Because the law is so ambiguously written, white men, convicted by white juries, have been able to log-jam the justice system by arguing that they were victims of discrimination, based on minute differences between themselves and their jurors. So clearly the “systemic racial subordination” Nichol feels Republicans promote is a little more complicated than he is letting on.
Republicans gained control of both houses of the North Carolina legislature in 2010 for the first time since 1896. Would Nichol really have us believe that life for blacks in North Carolina was a blissful paradise before the “evil” Republicans began oppressing them? Or perhaps he feels we would be better off back in the hands of the party that subjected us to Jim Crow? Democrats have long been professionals at rehearsing grievances and acting like they care. The black residents of North Carolina don’t need the pity of academics. They need policy changes that will strengthen black marriages and families, encourage economic growth and allow them to choose the schools their children attend.
President, The Frederick Douglass Foundation of NC
Stop seismic testing
I am grateful for “Be heard on seismic testing in the Atlantic” (July 6) and how it asked people to speak up for public comments. My friends, family and I have responded to the call, emailing the National Marine Fisheries Service before the July 21 deadline.
This issue will surely continue to be debated fervently in North Carolina if it moves forward. Blasting the ocean floors several times a minute at levels around 250 decibels for months would create an uninhabitable environment for sea creatures including turtles, dolphins, whales and lesser-known species that are vital to the ocean ecosystem. Also, we are already awash with natural gas from hydraulic fracturing, and everyone needs to wean off all fossil fuels as soon as possible to avoid more severe overheating of the Earth and especially the potent methane leaks from fracking.