Discrimination Feature

Protesters gather at the intersection of Franklin St. and Columbia St. to call on Governor McCrory and the state legislature to repeal HB2. Last week, a portion of the bill was repealed but protests will continue until the bill is entirely scrapped. (Photo courtesy of the News and Observer)

Age. Race. Parental status. Disability. Gender identity. Political affiliation. Sexual orientation. Physical features. Religious beliefs. These simple ideas have become grounds for unrelenting discrimination in our daily lives.

There are two main questions everyone should ask themselves: who gives anyone the right to judge someone else? And what makes one person better than another?

It’s easy to ignore what we don’t want to see, and that’s the problem. Every person is guilty of brushing something under the rug to avoid having to deal with a situation. Many times we look the other way at small cases of discrimination until it builds up to something that can no longer be avoided, such as the HB2 bill. North Carolina has been the epicenter of a national controversy for over a week now mainly because transgender people who have not taken surgical and legal steps to change the gender noted on their birth certificates have no legal right under state law to use public restrooms of the gender with which they identify.

Many people, groups and businesses have been cutting off dealing with North Carolina to stand up for the rights of all people. Just to name a few negative effects of the bill: PayPal scrapped its plans to build its new global operation center in Charlotte, Bruce Springsteen cancelled his concert in Greensboro and mayors of New York, San Francisco, Seattle and West Palm Beach, Florida, have cited the law in banning non-essential travel to North Carolina.

Only after all these negatives, McCrory has called for a section of the HB2 bill known as the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act to be repealed. This section prevents North Carolina workers who believe they’ve been wrongfully fired due to sex, age, race or gender from suing in state court.

Although North Carolina is progressing, it is discouraging that change could only be the result of a negative impact on our state’s economy. Pat McCrory said in an interview with WRAL, “Simply put, I have listened to the people of North Carolina, and the people of North Carolina are entitled to both privacy and equality. We can and we must achieve both of these goals.”

But it is clear to see that if these outside businesses and individuals had not taken action against North Carolina, there would have been no change.

Moral Monday protests in downtown Raleigh have started up to challenge the bill. 54 arrests were made April 25 against protesters who refused to leave House chamber.

It is no secret that there have been improvements across the board dealing with discrimination over the years. It was a huge triumph to pass the legality of gay marriage, but now we are taking steps back. Is there a solution to this discrimination? The unfortunate truth is that there will always be one person who is misinformed about another group of people, but if enough of us make a daily, conscious effort not to discriminate, it is possible for real societal change to take place.


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