Politics & Government

North Carolina legislator regrets 'reply all,' but not the message

North Carolina state Rep. Bill Current didn't think much of his invitation to a celebration of women's history at the state Museum of History.

Gov. Bev Perdue is scheduled to speak at the March 22 event, which is being held by the state Council for Women, state Museum of History and Wake County Commission for Women.

"Thanks for your kind invitation. However, I must regret for I have promised to be at the organizational meeting of the 'White male' history society. Sincerely, WAC," he wrote in an e-mail that he thought was only going to the event organizers.

Actually, the message was copied to what appears to be the entire state House.

"Uh oh," Current said, upon learning that he hit "Reply All."

Jill Dinwiddie, executive director of the state Council for Women, said Current's comment "smacks of racism and chauvinism."

"The woman who sent (the invitation) out is an African-American female. That was the first thing she thought was that it was a racist comment," said Dinwiddie, whose group is co-sponsoring the event. "It's ironic since white men have been running things all these years."

Current said that he believes organizations, events and caucuses based on race or gender are unnecessary in 2010.

"I was just trying to be funny, if you really want to know the truth," said Current, a Gastonia Republican. "I'm a little weary about all the division in this country about race and gender. I'm tired of hearing it and I'm tired of seeing it. We need to be working together as Americans."

Mayor Jennie Stultz, of Current's hometown of Gastonia, said she admires and respects Current and considers him a friend, but said women have only become part of the leadership in local and state government in recent years.

"I agree with him that we need to look beyond race and creed and gender," said Stultz, who is registered as unaffiliated, "but women have had a farther road to travel."

Read more of this story at CharlotteObserver.com