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Sat Dec 12, 2015, 08:53 AM

The Value of Fusion Friendships

This is an extended version of an op-ed by Rev. William J. Barber, leader of Moral Mondays, and Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove that should run in the News & Observer today.

They call out the cynical bigotry of politicians who wish to use legitimate fear of ISIS as a tool for racist political manipulation.

They also covers the history of fusion politics in NC, where black and white working people have historically been able to find common ground to fight political battles against entrenched political powers.

NC has a solid history of standing up to racist manipulation. It scares the crap out of the politicians, and there is always huge backlash. But we rise again. We keep fighting the good fight while trying to love our neighbors. The arch of history in NC is slooooowly bending toward justice.

A Southern strategy was developed in the late 1960s to pit us against each other, creating a “solid South” for the Republican Party by dividing poor and working people according to their worst fears about their neighbors. Black and white have a long history in this place, but political strategists worked carefully to “color” immigrants, members of the LQBTQ community, and religious minorities, casting them as un-American rather than non-white. The rise of ISIS as a real and credible threat means that this racist form of political manipulation can take the form of calling Muslims un-American.


The unquestioned consensus in America’s public square is that we can only be safe by figuring out who the un-American terrorists are and getting rid of them.

But where we're from in North Carolina, we should not be so naïve. We have a disproportionate share of homegrown terrorists.


When we look closely at the acts of terror that rend our communities and make everyone feel less safe, the common denominator is not a particular religion or culture. It is, instead, a violence that is perpetuated by those who use fear to gain political power. We cannot combat this violence by naming an enemy to eliminate. Instead, we must illuminate the sort of friendships that make fusion politics possible. - See more

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