Thursday, June 13, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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How ‘woke’ does Mebane need to be?


We had hoped that much of the national nonsense on various issues, most recently and especially racial, would stay far away from Alamance County.

But, alas, those seeking to stir up racial strife are hard at work to find, or create, racial tensions close at home, most notably in Mebane.

We knew it was trouble, and warned as much, for Mebane’s city council to establish a so-called Racial and Equity Advisory Committee (REAC) back in 2021.

There was no basis for establishing such an “advisory committee,” no localized list of grievances or issues that needed to be studied or researched, and no real, or substantive, reasons for its existence.

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But council members apparently capitulated to one black resident who lobbied them all to establish such a committee.  It appeared to be done almost as a favor for his involvement and enthusiasm for the topic.

He was, of course, then appointed to the committee, whose meetings he rarely, if ever, attended.  And he ultimately resigned.

The committee’s membership from the outset has been almost entirely black, another clear indication of its internal moorings and biased composition from the outset.

Meanwhile, members have also come and gone, as they discover that the committee is really a rudderless exercise in political correctness.

Indeed, much of the Mebane committee’s time, we’ve been told by those who’ve attended, is spent discussing national issues far removed from any specific Mebane application.

(Oh, and just by the way, you won’t be able to judge for yourself. The committee’s “deliberations,” such as they are, are not posted on the city’s website; there are no readily-available minutes, no posted recordings, nothing to show for over two years of existence.)

Now, however, that so-called “advisory committee” has browbeat the city council into considering an expenditure of $1,000 for “membership” in a radical, racially-charged state advocacy group – the Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE), whose name underscores  its agenda that race is at the heart of all public policy, past, present, and future.

The alliance seeks to ferret out, or stir up (depending on one’s perspective), racial “inequities,” which we note are always very vaguely, if ever, defined.

Fortunately, the council did not buy the arguments made during this week’s foray into hearing about the group’s direction.

For some reason, the council agreed to waste some of its July meeting this week – almost a quarter of its two-hour meeting – hearing racialized summaries of life in general, North Carolina in particular, and Mebane theorectically, from Allison De Marco, a UNC “researcher” who is affiliated with the GARE advocacy group.

Again, the thrust of the group’s agenda can be readily determined by some of the stock phrases she used during her presentation to the city council: “racial equity,” “structural racism,” “systemic racism,” “economic justice,” and other vague and amorphous, but always racially-charged, descriptions.  Add in some of the group’s other descriptions: “white people must deconstruct their internalized racial superiority…and must develop a deeper awareness of the power, privilege, and property they have in a racialized society.”

Really? A “racialized” society.

But one exchange, in particular (although there were others), makes clear the explicit racial bias, and racist agenda, of the group.

Councilman Jonathan White, who often offers both basic and penetrating questions, asked the Chapel Hill advocate for the group whether the council might be “wading into the waters of [Critical Race Theory],” which views all of human and U.S. history through the prism of racism, if it “joined” and paid dues to the group.

“I hope so,” De Marco replied.

Ah, there you have it.

What’s really up is another effort to drag local officials into this “woke” ideology that has become such a liberal fad over the past few years.

For that reason, alone – although there are many others – Mebane’s city council should ditch this idea, permanently. And save the taxpayers’ dollars, time, and effort.

We also suggest that the council should either insist that its REAC committee provide some actual, concrete local advice (its alleged purpose), or the council should, more likely, allow the terms of its current members to expire – and let the whole thing collapse.

It wasn’t needed in the first place, hasn’t done anything useful or substantive in its first two years of existence, and probably won’t in the future – unless one counts stirring up racial tensions and trouble.

We’re quite frankly surprised and disappointed that the council member who felt obliged to go along with the expenditure, or at least opposed delaying a decision on it, was Montrena Hadley, the council’s only current black member.

But her presence on the council should be a prime example of the fact that Mebane doesn’t have a racial problem.  She owes her 2021 election to plenty of white voters, in addition to the black support she undoubtedly received.

A second example of the city’s exemplary track record on race was an earlier item on that night’s agenda, a recognition of the outstanding work and career of retiring police chief Terry Caldwell, another black leader for the city, who has served 17 years as chief and a 30-year career on the city’s police force.

Also, how ironic that Mebane’s consideration of the idea of funding a group with such racist underpinnings comes the week following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision banning of racial discrimination in higher education – in cases against Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The philosophy espoused by chief justice John Roberts in an earlier discrimination case was the simple, yet profound, statement:  “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Unfortunately groups like GARE, and to some extent even the REAC committee itself, seek to perpetuate racial identity policies, including discrimination for and against people based on the color of their skin. Some, such as GARE, because they make money from such divisions.

Neither Mebane’s city council, nor its taxpayers, should be forced to participate in that travesty.

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