Flashpoint: Racism in U.S., Branson's thoughts on Detroit

DETROIT – This Father's Day edition of Flashpoint began with a discussion about race in the United States. Devin Scillian asked the panel about the strange case of Rachel Dolezal, the former president of the NAACP who said she identifies herself as a black woman.

Portia Roberson, from the Detroit Ethics & Civil Rights Division, says people need to be willing to have difficult conversations regarding race in the country. She doesn't think Dolezal's story is one that should represent the start of those conversations.

"I think it raises the question about whether race is, in fact, an artificial construct," said Bankole Thompson, Senior Editor of the Michigan Chronicle. "And is this an issue of black identity or color consciousness?"

He said there's a history here of white people who have stood side-by-side with African Americans and taken ownership of the "black struggle."

Sheila Cockrel, a former Detroit City Councilwoman, said the more pressing issue is tackling racism and accepting people as Martin Luther King, Jr. preached.

Nolan Finley of the Detroit News talked about the racist attacks in Charleston, South Carolina and how mental health also played a role in the incident.

The whole panel discussed the attack and further delved into the issue of racism in the U.S. You can watch the entire conversation in the video posted above.

In the second segment, Devin sat down with Richard Branson, who last week brought Virgin Atlantic flights to Detroit to connect the city with London.

Branson said it was important to bring a British flight to metro Detroit because now people have a choice when flying to London. He said he started his airline because he thought the quality of flight had fallen with the major airlines.

He talked about the Virgin brand and how it specializes in many different products and services. He said he likes doing things better than the major companies.

Branson also talked specifically about his time in Detroit.

"We've had a magical two days," he said. "I Detroit as a bit like an underdog company, which Virgin has been over the years. Fighting to become a great city again. And I think it will become a great city. I know Detroiters have heard this, I suspect quite often, but there are a lot of people I've met who are really determined to make your city great again. "

Branson said he has tremendous hope for the city's future and thinks Mayor Mike Duggan is on the right track.

Click on the video below to see the whole conversation with Branson.


In the final segment, Devin previewed Monday's Ford Fireworks, which will be live on Local 4 at 8 p.m.