Category Archives: Culture wars

Questions McAuliffe Will Never Be Asked… But Should Be

Photo credit: Steve Helber/AP.

by James A. Bacon

Aspiring Governor Terry McAuliffe has referred to concerns about Critical Race Theory in public schools as a “right-wing conspiracy.” Likewise, the media has downplayed the CRT controversy roiling many school systems by dismissing CRT as an obscure academic legal theory that is “not taught in schools.” That response, of course, is a rhetorical dodge. Radical social justice doctrines, however you label them, are being pushed by the Virginia Department of Education, Virginia’s education schools, many school districts, in staff and teacher training sessions. and sometimes even in classrooms.

Susan Page of USA Today, moderator of the gubernatorial debate between Democrat McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin last night, missed a chance to pin down exactly what McAuliffe thinks about what is happening in Virginia schools.

Page pressed Youngkin on matters that might put him at odds with elements of his Republican coalition. What is his stance on abortion? Does he think Democrats will steal the election this fall? What does he think about vaccine mandates? All fair questions, to be sure. But, based on media accounts (I did not watch the debate) she failed to query McAuliffe about his views on the most sweeping overhaul of Virginia public education system since the dismantling of Massive Resistance.

Here are some questions she could have asked the candidates. Continue reading

“You Have to…”

by Dr. A Schuhart

The indoctrinal push to impose Critical Race Theory across American society is centered in the verb phrase to have to. Its primary meaning states a requirement, but it is a requirement that also connotes a threat for failure to comply. In every training and in every managed discussion of DEI at the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) that I have to attend, the arguments used to “persuade” me have been prefaced by this troublesome helping verb.

I hear “you have to see that” and “you have to understand” and “you have to look at it this way” in every part of the structure of this vast toulminian hornswoggle known as CRT. Yes, it is true that if I see it your way, then I will agree with you. But it does not follow that because you think you are right, that I have to see it your way, or consequently, that you have the right to force to do so. This is an irrational claim, a fallacy at the core of CRT “reasoning.”

Further, this belief that I have to think, or see, your idea your way gives rise to a set of false deductions that end in conflict, rather than consensus. See, you who think I have to think about CRT and DEI a certain way fail, firstly, to declare your full logical claim. What you mean is I have to see it your way for it to be true because the only way CRT can be true is if everyone says it is true, for it is not logically true (as I am demonstrating here). Continue reading

Understanding the Jackson Statue Controversy

by Donald Smith

Perhaps you’ve noticed the discussion over the past year about the banishment… er, sorry, removal… of Stonewall Jackson’s statue from the Virginia Military Institute’s Main Post. Well, here’s another contribution. I will make the case that the powers-that-be behind the excision of Jackson’s memory from VMI weren’t trying to help the institute. They wanted to humiliate it.

The Barnes and Thornburgh analysts who studied the racial climate at VMI noted that many people attend VMI because they want a military experience.  Men and women who enroll at the academy are a lot like cadets or midshipmen at West Point, Annapolis, the Air Force Academy, the Citadel and Norwich.

Military schools, and military men and women, honor leaders who showed courage, determination and excellence in battle. Military schools are normally proud of the great generals and admirals they produced. Continue reading

9/11 Flags Vandalized

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, Young America’s Foundation, a conservative student group, planted 2,977 flags in the University of Virginia’s Amphitheater. Vandals knocked down the flags and flipped a table with a banner. Expressing solidarity with the perpetrators, Twitter users equated the memorial service to the white supremacist torch march of the infamous United the Right rally and said falsely that YAF has “ties to the neo-Nazi movement.” See the full story here. — JAB

What We Want the Future to Know About 2020

Janice Underwood and First Lady Pam Northern place items in new time capsule Photo credit: Bob Brown/Richmond Times Dispatch

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Several  commenters to the previous post on the removal of the Lee Monument expressed interest in the items that were placed in the new time capsule that was to be placed in the base of the former Lee Monument.

According to a news release from the Governor’s office, these are the items: Continue reading

Lee Monument Removed

Photo Credit: Bob Brown/Times Dispatch

Yesterday morning the Lee Monument, the last major and most prominent celebration of the Lost Cause, was removed. Virginia and Richmond have now truly embraced the 21st Century.

Driving While Black Redux

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Some participants on this blog have voiced skepticism regarding the claim that Black drivers are more likely than white drivers to be pulled over by law enforcement. Jim Bacon even went to great lengths to demonstrate that it was difficult to determine the race of a driver in a moving vehicle. These skeptics have called for some data to support the claim, rather than relying on single egregious incidents such as the one that occurred in Windsor last year.

That data is now available and it supports the hypothesis that Black drivers are more likely than white ones to be stopped for traffic infractions.

Using recently available data from the Dept. of State Police, the Richmond Times Dispatch has calculated that “drivers who are Black are 1.6 times more likely to be stopped than white drivers based on their respective populations. And once stopped, Black drivers are 1.6 times more likely to have their car searched than white drivers and 1.3 times as likely to be arrested.” Continue reading

Robert E. Lee and the Race Obsession

by Phil Leigh

Richmond’s Monument Avenue is the latest consequence of a culture obsessed with imaginary systemic racism. Presently, the only legal systemic racism is fifty years of Affirmative Action, which benefits minority races. According to black Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Shelby Steele, Affirmative Action was the first of a long chain of futile initiatives prompted by white guilt to lift blacks out of poverty. All failed because their true motivation was to provide the ruling white elites the moral authority to continue governing.

Affirmative Action never closed the academic performance gap, and government housing forced black fathers out of the home. Instead of promoting self-reliance in the black community, these policies discouraged it. They were, however, habit forming bribes for black votes. Confederate statue destruction is merely the latest bribe. Although chiefly a symbolic gesture, it is vote and donor magnet for race-hustling politicians and “activists.” Razing Monument Avenue statues will do nothing to lift black self-esteem, but it may deepen the racial divide with those who admire Robert E. Lee’s leadership qualities. Continue reading

Is Anyone In Charge Over There?

The new rules for occupying a prestigious room on the University of Virginia’s Lawn allow students to post comments and materials on two message boards affixed to each door. An addendum to the “Terms and Conditions for Lawn and Range Residents, Housing and Residence Life” states:

“Any materials placed on the message boards must fit within the four corners of each message board and cannot extend beyond the outer edges of any such board.”

The addendum also provides this context: Continue reading

Wrestling Control of Schools from the Loony Left

by Kerry Dougherty

I’ve never been a fan of checkout charities.

You know how they work: The cashier loudly asks you if you want to round up to fight something like restless leg syndrome and you are shamed into contributing, even though you know this lets the Piggly Wiggly take credit for a fat check to charity.

Yesterday I was picking up notebooks at a Virginia Beach office supply store when the checkout clerk asked if I wanted to donate to “local schools.” He didn’t ask if I wanted to buy school supplies for needy kids, which I would have done in a heartbeat. He wanted to know if I’d like to lard something onto my bill for local schools.

“Nope,” I replied without hesitation.

Frankly, I don’t want to give one penny more to our Virginia Beach schools where the far-left majority on school board fought reopening classrooms last year. Where teachers are quietly being indoctrinated in critical race theory under euphemistic names. Or where the superintendent’s wife in 2020 posted a snuggly photo of herself and her husband to Facebook with an obscene message directed at then-President Donald Trump. Continue reading

A is for Activist

by James C. Sherlock

Sometimes the discussions about the ever increasing political content in Virginia K-5 classrooms is hard to visualize. Perhaps this will help.

The Daily Wire discovered the video below posted on a VDOE website by a couple of teachers in Chesapeake public schools as a resource for 3rd grade teachers.

The website is GoOpenVa.org, a site for sharing “digital resources with the end goals of providing equitable access to great learning materials throughout the state, and supporting new approaches to learning and teaching for all Virginians.”

The Daily Wire article explains.

To make it enticing to teachers looking to check off boxes, each lesson on the GoOpenVA platform is marketed as fulfilling certain state educational standards.

By instructing students to liken Black Lives Matter to Martin Luther King (after learning about him from a tumblr account), (this) lesson says teachers can take credit for fulfilling the “Learning Domain: History and Social Science” Standard: “The student will compare and contrast ideas and perspectives to better understand people or events in world cultures.”

Digital content for the students in this lesson plan includes the YouTube video above.

“Great learning materials” indeed.

Coming to a third grade classroom near you.

It’s Baaaack!

Photo credit: The Schilling Show

Hira Azher, the fourth-year student who posted a large “FUCK UVA” sign on the door of her Lawn residence last year, may have graduated, and the University of Virginia may have implemented measures to ensure that messages and displays on Lawn doors comported with the dignity of the Lawn and Rotunda as a World Heritage site, but the “FUCK UVA” sentiment is alive and well. Hector Terrazas Valencia, resident of room 49, has painted the words, “FUCK UVA !!! (respectfully)” on a panel of his door.

To prevent the ugly proliferation of leaflets and profanely expressed political sentiments in an architectural gem that attracts many visitors, UVa officials are requiring Lawn residents to confine their verbiage to message boards fitting in the door panels.

Hat tip: The Schilling Show.

2020-21 SOLs: the Racial Gap Widens

Here is a pro forma breakdown of Standards of Learning pass rates by race and subject. I say “pro forma” because these numbers do not reflect the fact that one-fifth to one-quarter of public school students failed to take the test in the 2020-21 school year. Adjusted numbers might prove to be even more dismal, although I am too early in my analysis to suggest that is, in fact, the case.

Two things are abundantly clear. First, test scores fell across the board — all races and all subjects. Second, the racial gap widened. As anyone could have predicted, test scores among Asians fell the least of any racial/ethnic group — although the decline was big enough to be profoundly discouraging. Pass rates for whites fell significantly more, while pass rates for Blacks and Hispanics went into free-fall.

A 34% pass rate in math SOLs for Blacks is nothing less than catastrophic. It is difficult to imagine how thousands of Black students can ever recover from this setback. Continue reading

UVa’s Ideological Litmus Test — “Diversity Statements”

by James A. Bacon

In the fall convocation ceremonies at the University of Virginia this week, President Jim Ryan said many things that once upon a time would have been considered unremarkable. The purpose of a UVa education, he said, is to pursue the truth. The search for truth is unending, and progress toward the truth is predicated upon free speech and open inquiry. UVa is a place for honest and respectful conversations between those who disagree, Ryan said. UVa is a place where civil dialogues can take place.

An alumnus in the audience, Bert Ellis, was reassured by Ryan’s words. Ellis is president of The Jefferson Council, a group dedicated to upholding the Jeffersonian legacy at UVa that has catalogued the suppression of free speech and expression and the drift toward intellectual conformity, and he was primed to be skeptical.

“All in all, I liked his remarks,” says Ellis. “I was pleasantly surprised by his references to and respect for Mr. Jefferson and his legacy and with his very strong support for open dialogue and for the Honor System. I hope his actions over the upcoming school year will be as strong as his words.”

Indeed, words are one thing, and actions are another. While Ryan supports free speech and expression in the abstract, deans and department heads are enforcing a social justice dogma under the banner of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in their hiring policies. Job prospects are subject to what can only be called a DE&I litmus test. Continue reading

COVID Bringing Out the Ugly in Americans

by Kerry Dougherty

You know what America needs right now? A little less schadenfreude.

A little less rejoicing over the misfortunes of others. A little less wishing death on the unvaccinated. A little less fist pumping when an unvaccinated person gets sick.

This unattractive character trait was on display last fall when a group of mostly Republicans gathered at the White House Rose Garden to celebrate Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Headline writers sneered that this was an outdoor “super-spreader” event and applauded each report of an attendee falling ill with COVID.

There was absolute glee when former GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain fell ill with COVID and died not long after attending a Trump rally in July of 2020. The scornful mob dancing on his grave took no notice that Cain was a Stage 4 colon cancer survivor with several comorbidities. Continue reading