Role reversal

by | Mar 20, 2017 | Editor's Blog, HB2 | 16 comments

This weekend, Greenville, South Carolina reaped the benefits of North Carolina’s notorious HB2. The NCAA banned North Carolina from hosting tournament games and our neighbor to the south picked up the contests. It’s a dramatic reversal from the traditional roles the two Carolinas have played.

South Carolina has always been the one that the rest of the country questioned. From their fateful decision to secede from the union in 1861 to their reluctance to abandon fealty to the Lost Cause, the state has had pariah status with much of the rest of the nation. In particular, its obsession with flying the Confederate battle flag at the state Capitol held it back.

For years, the NCAA banned games in South Carolina because of their insistence on keeping the flag on state grounds. That changed in the wake of the massacre in Charleston. The legislature, led by Republican Governor Nikki Haley, took the flag down, acknowledging its divisive and hurtful legacy.

So when a photos of a Confederate flag apparently flying above the Greenville arena showed up on social media, people understandably questioned what was going on. It turns out that pro-flag protesters flew the flag from from the top of a parking deck next to the arena. The state can disavow the symbol of division but it can’t stop free speech. The NCAA also released a statement that they “are committed to assuring that our events are safe and accessible to all.”

Now, it’s North Carolina that’s become the pariah state. Prominent sporting events, entertainers and conventions are all boycotting the state because of HB2. Republican legislators are behaving like the ones in South Carolina did fifteen years ago when the NCAA first instituted their ban. They would rather stand on principle and proudly tout their discriminatory policies than attract revenue and jobs to the state.

There’s one big difference, though. When South Carolina defiantly stood by the flag instead of economic development, they were just reinforcing the negative perception the rest of the country already held. They were already seen as a backward state stubbornly holding onto discriminatory history.

When North Carolina Republicans started promoting discriminatory policies like HB2, voter suppression laws or allowing public employees to opt out of performing gay marriages, they upended a carefully cultivated reputation. Since the 1960s, North Carolina has worked hard to present itself as an open and welcoming state, particularly in contrast to our neighbors to the south. In just a few short years of Republican governance, we’ve lost a reputation that took decades to build.

South Carolina is quickly becoming the sane Carolina. They’ve got a ways to go to catch up after a century of regressive policies but they’re making strides. They’ve rejected the Confederate flag as a defining symbol. Led by the Governor and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, they fought off an attempt to implement a law like HB2.

The flag incident at the NCAA shows there are plenty of people in South Carolina who would prefer their old reactionary reputation to their new open one. The state government, though, is controlled by people more interested in making money than continuing to be the butt of jokes. In North Carolina, the majority of people want to put HB2 and other discriminatory legislation behind us, but leaders like Lt. Governor Dan Forest are content to take South Carolina’s place as the backward Carolina.


  1. Ebrun

    Here’s an interesting article on how tourism is flourishing in NC and how the NC economy outpaced all other states in the SE and most other states in the Nation in 2016 and 2015 , despite all the negative hype over HB2. But you won’t read about these positive trends in our local big city newspapers, which are committed to promoting the agenda of the radical left.

    • Jay Ligon

      The estimated losses are already more than $500,000,000 and 2,400 jobs.

    • Apply Liberally

      Ebrun is in over his head on travel/tourism statistics and thus is easy prey for a biased and poorly reported article in the Washington Times.
      The 2016 data compiled by the US Travel Association used by that newspaper is based on 2015 calendar year data—NOT 2016 calendar year data. HB2 was enacted in March 2016, and thus none of data or conclusions in the 2016 USTA tourism report relates to what happened within the tourism industry in NC in 2016 nor after HB2 was signed into law.

      Not to worry though. Ebrun may still yet learn how to critically research and question things once he graduates from high school and can take college-level courses in logic, statistics, sociology, journalism, and communications.

      • Apply Liberally

        Apologies. Wish this board had an EDIT function.

        In my precious post, I meant to write: “The 2016 REPORT ISSUED by the US Travel Association AND USED AS A SOURCE by that newspaper is based on 2015 calendar year data—and not 2016 calendar year data.”

  2. TbeT

    Square on, Thomas!

    It is sad that we are all on somewhat of a death watch with regard to HB2’s additional forthcoming impact. It is a near certainty that there will be no repeal of HB2 before the NCAA decides on the winning bids for hosting its championship college sports games and series (for up to six years into the future). The NCAA announcement will mean that regional NCAA post-season basketball games that likely would have been held in Greensboro or Raleigh or Charlotte will instead be hosted in other southern locales, maybe Greenville SC or Atlanta GA or Louisville KY or Knoxville/Memphis TN or Jacksonville/Miami/Tampa FL.

    And, once the NCAA decisions are made and those games cannot be planned for NC cities, the NCGOP will belittle the adverse economic impacts of losing such sporting events. Have y’all noticed the effort by some HB2 proponents to compare the hundreds of millions in losses to date to NC’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)? It’s as if they are trying to convince us all that those lost revenues, the foregone associated state sales taxes, and those lost service sector jobs are hardly worth the worry. Yet, I doubt that vendors (those going without business), workers (those going without jobs/income), and legislators (the more enlightened ones anyway, who understand that more state revenues are better than less state revenues when trying to address all the issues in NC) will feel the same way.

  3. Jay Ligon

    Well said, Thomas. Yesterday, absent HB2, Duke would have played its second-round game in Greensboro, NC, in front of Duke’s hometown crowd instead in Greenville, SC, in front of a Gamecocks’ crowd. South Carolina is winning the PR battle, as it moved past Duke in the tournament. Returning to the past is not a winner for the old North State.

    • Ebrun

      Didn’t Duke’s representatives to the NCAA support the NC boycott? If so, the team got what the University deserves.

      • Progressive Wing

        Dg: And to think that, when he first started posting on these threads, we though his all posts were worthy of responses. But, over time, we’ve all learned how he employs diversion and, in his diversions, can spin off into far-reaching regions of odd logic.

      • Ebrun

        It is no doubt difficult for a far left partisan to acknowledge the economic progress that has occurred in NC over the past four years of Republican control, D.g. But instead of resorting to disingenuous claims and Democrats’ spin, you’d fare much better just to grin and bear it. After all, your guy Cooper will be able to claim credit for the continuing economic growth that is resulting from policies the GOP has put into place.

        And with the GOP in full control of the state’s legislative process, there’s little Governor Cooper can do to screw up the substantial progress NC is enjoying as a result of Republican policies. Oh, and BTW, whatever happened to those court-ordered NC General Assembly elections that were to be held this fall?

        • Troy

          As well as it is for a far right partisan to admit, even lean over and shadow the line a little bit that all things conservative isn’t necessarily the right thing to do.

          To admit that Donald Trump was not the best choice which is indeed coming to fruition.

          To acknowledge that running government like a business is one of the most moronic concepts that has trickled over from the right side.

          To agree with the point, despite the fact that he doesn’t necessarily concur on the merits. But would instead rather dig and hunt for the facts, alternate or otherwise, in order to prove himself right, despite the evidence to the contrary.

      • Ebrun

        No D,g, for supporting an ill-advised boycott of their own home state. And now their fans are complaining about the result of an action the University supported. What delicious irony! It personifies the old adage “Don’t cut off your nose to—–“, well, no doubt you’re familiar with that one, right?.

  4. Arthur Dent

    “succeed?” Really?

    • Thomas Mills

      Sorry. I can’t afford an editor.

      • Arthur Dent

        You can delete my comment – just being your free editor.

        • Thomas Mills

          Thanks. I depend on my readers for corrections.

          • Jay Ligon

            Would it be possible for your website to add an edit function so that errors can be corrected by the writers?

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