Category Archives: Culture wars

GMU Race-Based Discrimination Is Unconstitutional

Gregory Washington, president of George Mason University

by Hans Bader

As part of a new “anti-racism” push, George Mason University plans to discriminate based on race in favor of faculty of color. On July 23, Dr. Gregory Washington, the president of GMU, announced that “We will develop specific mechanisms in the promotion and tenure process that recognize the invisible and uncredited emotional labor that people of color expend to learn, teach, discover, and work on campus.”

Dr. Washington announced these proposals in the context of the “national conversation” about race following “the murder of George Floyd.” His goal is “establishing George Mason University as a national exemplar of anti-racism,” with a “metric-driven,” mandatory “vision” of “anti-racism” to be pursued by each “college and school,” incorporated into the “university’s planning and budgeting process.”

That includes a “Task Force on Anti-Racism,” “systems and standards of anti-racism,” “required diversity, inclusion, and well-being coursework,” and the mandatory inclusion of an “anti-racism statement on all syllabi.” An initial $5 million is pledged for campus initiatives promoting anti-racism and diversity.

But legally speaking, the changes he proposes to the promotion and tenure process are themselves racially discriminatory. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: And in More Riot-and-Protest News…

Image credit: Progress-Index

Support the blue. Here’s a story covered by the (Petersburg) Progress-Index but ignored by the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia’s newspaper of record for left-wing causes): Several hundred people gathered in Chesterfield County to support the blue. Remarkably, no rocks were thrown, no windows broken, no cars or buildings torched, and no one was arrested.

Crying Wolf. Up in Alexandria, a group of about 30 assembled Sunday morning assembled in front of the house of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to protest the detention and removal of demonstrators in Portland, Ore., by federal officers, reports the Washington Post. The peaceful protesters — these actually were peaceful — were joined by some of Wolf’s neighbors. Wolf himself was nowhere to be seen, but another group of neighbors lined his lawn with tiny American flags and planted handmade signs saying, “Thank you for your service.”

Wokeness won’t save you from the mob. Meanwhile, Virginia Commonwealth University administrators have learned that no matter how woke you are, you can’t buy off the mob. VCU has gone further than any other higher-ed institution in Virginia to embrace social justice principles, but the university suffered more than $100,000 in damage from 80 windows broken by a predominantly white mob bent on protesting the police and creating mayhem Saturday night. Continue reading

Yeah, Antifa in Richmond Is Real. Even the Mayor Admits It.

by James A. Bacon

Conservatives have been mocked for suggesting that “Antifa” members have numbered among protesters roiling Virginia the past two months, but yesterday Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith, with Mayor Levar Stoney at his side, said the police believe that Antifa and individuals influenced by Antifa participated in the predominantly white mob action that led to vandalism, arson and assaults on police Saturday.

To be sure, Stoney contended that white supremacist “boogaloo boys” were spearheading the event with the intent of discrediting peaceful protesters, according to this Blue Virginia summary. But he did not contradict Smith’s assessment that Antifa was involved.

Smith said he believes that the flyer promoting the demonstration (displayed above) originated from outside the Richmond region, as did some of the protesters arrested during the mayhem. Richmond police are conducting an investigation into the origins of the event.

Stoney’s reaction to the event is interesting in two ways. Continue reading

The Bravest Woman in Richmond

Kim Gray. Photo credit: Style Weekly.

by James A. Bacon

Kimberly Gray, a Richmond City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate, espouses a philosophy that some people in the era of Black Lives Matter find offensive. “I’ve been verbal about protecting all citizens,” she tells Bacon’s Rebellion. “This is my city. I love my city. I want it to be a place where everybody feels safe in their own homes, from Gilpin Court to Monument Avenue.”

That outlook has put her at odds with the social-justice protests sweeping the city that erupt episodically in looting, arson, vandalism, and confrontations with police. As an African-American, Gray is sympathetic with some of the protest movement’s aims, such as removing the Confederate statues from Monument Avenue. She also supports peoples’ Constitutional right to peaceful protest. But she has a problem with demonstrators toting semi-automatic weapons on her doorstep. And she is one of the few public figures in Richmond to forthrightly criticize the systemic use of low-level violence to intimidate and silence opponents.

Gray’s willingness to stand up to the mob has put her in the cross-hairs of the anarchic left-wing movement that has kept the City of Richmond on edge for more than two months. She was subjected to low-level harassment for weeks even before a crowd of roughly 200 descended upon her house in Jackson Ward last week, banged pots and pans, blew air horns, hurled insults, brandished guns, and shouted threats. That incident generated brief media attention when she complained that the Richmond Department of Police never dispatched officers to her residence.

In the Richmond mayoral race this year, Gray has been thrust into the position of defending law and order. Continue reading

Philanthropist James Dooley Soon to Be Canceled by VCU

The Dooley Hospital for Infectious Diseases at Virginia Commonwealth University no longer stands. But the portico/entrance of the original building has been retained as a free-standing memorial on VCU’s medical campus. The name of the Dooley Hospital is etched in limestone.

The Virginia Commonwealth University’s Committee on Commemoration and Memorials has targeted the Dooley Hospital name for the memory-hole treatment. A wealthy Richmond businessman by the name of James H. Dooley donated the funds during the Influenza epidemic of 1919 for the construction of the hospital. The son of an Irish immigrant, Dooley contributed to the rebirth of Richmond after the Civil War through his investments in real estate and railroads. He was a leading philanthropist, he supported the arts, and he advocated universal public education — which made him pretty progressive for his era. He and his wife also left bequests to establish the Richmond Public Library, St. Joseph’s Villa, and the Crippled Children’s Hospital. Their mansion and grounds, Maymount, is open to the public today as a popular family destination.

Dooley’s unpardonable sin? He enlisted in the Confederate Army as a private. He was wounded, taken prisoner, released in a prisoner exchange, and discharged due to his disability.

Unlike the Richmond statues to Lee, Jackson and Stuart, the memorial to Dooley glorified not his service to the Confederacy but his benefaction to the community. The naming of the hospital was not connected in any way to the Lost Cause narrative, the imposition of the Jim Crow regime, or massive resistance to desegregation, the usual explanations for taking down the Monument Avenue statues or other emblems of the Confederacy. Continue reading

Stop Walking on Eggshells

R.K. Rowling

by Kerry Dougherty

A new study from the libertarian CATO institute supports something I’ve believed for a long time, which – let’s be honest – is why I’m sharing it with you.

It found that the cancel culture is stifling speech. The result: A growing number of Americans on both sides of the political divide and all races and ethnicities are afraid to share their political opinions.

“There have been shifts across the board, where more people among all political groups feel they are walking on eggshells,” the CATO survey found, adding, “majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) who all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share.­­”

There is only one group that feel free to bloviate freely. Care to guess which?

If you said extreme liberals, you’d be right. The far left is anything but shy. Continue reading

Who Wants to Visit New York Anyway?

by Kerry Dougherty

This is rich.

One of the worst governors in the country — Andrew Cuomo — announced yesterday that Virginians are not welcome in New York and neither are folks from 30 other states. Unless we quarantine and show a clean bill of health, that is.

He’s afraid we’ll infect New Yorkers with COVID-19.

Hilarious. Is there anyone left in New York who hasn’t been infected?

Someone needs to remind the governor that it was New Yorkers who spread the virus to the rest of the country. According to The New York Times:

New York City’s coronavirus outbreak grew so large by early March that the city became the primary source of new infections in the United States, new research reveals, as thousands of infected people traveled from the city and seeded outbreaks around the country.

The research indicates that a wave of infections swept from New York City through much of the country before the city began setting social distancing limits to stop the growth. That helped to fuel outbreaks in Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and as far away as the West Coast.

Continue reading

Private Immigrant Prison Has Virus Crisis

By Peter Galuszka

A private prison for undocumented immigrants in Farmville is having its own COVID-19 crisis after 90% of its detainees tested positive for the virus.

Court papers have shown that 267 inmates at the prison run by Richmond-based Immigration Centers of America have tested positive for the virus and another 80 were still awaiting results as of last week.

What seems to be an increasingly dire situation at the Farmville Detention Center on the outskirts of town has been highlighted by WRIC, the Daily Beast and HuffPost.

Officials at the prison are the target of a lawsuit by the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR) and the facility was the scene of a disturbance earlier this month when inmates refused to assemble one morning early this month and guards used pepper spray in the ensuing fracas.

Part of the problem started on June 2, when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department sent along 74 immigrant detainees from Florida and Arizona. The Farmville facility could have refused, but the owners make profits on the per diem rates they are paid by the federal government. The City of Farmville gets a cut of the per diem as well.

According to WRIC, 90% of the inmates are infected. Continue reading

Creeping Totalitarianism: Now They’re Indoctrinating Kindergartners

“Confronting the Weaponization of Whiteness” — coming to a school near you. Image from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Tolerance” website

by James A. Bacon

Loudoun County Public Schools are adding “social justice” to the mission of teaching elementary school students. The County has teamed with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s education arm, Teaching Tolerance, to develop its new curriculum, reports the Washington Examiner.

“Sugarcoating or ignoring slavery until later grades makes students more upset by or even resistant to true stories about American history,” the curriculum reads. “Long before we teach algebra, we teach its component parts. We should structure history instruction the same way.”

Loudoun schools have always taught the ugly realities of slavery, typically beginning in the 4th grade in concert with the Standards of Learning. Continue reading

Law and Disorder in Richmond

Protest in front of Kim Gray’s house Wednesday night

When several dozen protesters assembled in front of Richmond City Councilwoman Kimberly Gray’s house around 10:30 Wednesday night, she feared for her safety. She called the Richmond Police Department, as did some of her neighbors. Gray says the police never responded. The RPD says it did.

“I didn’t see any uniformed officers, my neighbors didn’t see any uniformed officers, my professional security force did not see any uniformed officers, no blue lights, no marked police cars arrived,” Gray told WRIC News.

As it happens, Gray is a candidate for mayor, running against incumbent Levar Stoney and several lesser-known candidates. As a city councilwoman, she has been one of Stoney’s most vocal critics. An African-American, she voted for removal of the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue but has disapproved of law-breaking by protesters. Continue reading

The Return of the “Cooch”

By Peter Galuszka

Early this past Wednesday morning, Mark Pettibone and Connor O’Shead were walking on their way home after a peaceful protest in Portland, Ore.

Suddenly an unmarked van pulled in front of them. Men wearing green uniforms, tactical gear and generic signs reading “POLICE” hustled them into the vehicle. They were not told why they were being detained. After 90 minutes, the badly shaken men were released without being charged.

The episode might sound like the activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his “little green men” who have shown up in places like Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to intimidate and detain people.

But this was Portland, a progressive city that has seen protests for weeks. President Donald Trump has urged federal authorities to move in on cities to restore his sense of order even though city officials in Portland do not want his help and are investigating what is going on.

And, guess who is playing a role in what could be a growing national trend of federal law enforcement performing “snatch and grabs” of innocent protestors?

That would be Kenneth Cuccinelli, the former hard right, state attorney general and failed gubernatorial candidate. He is now acting deputy secretary of the Trump’s Department of Homeland Security. Continue reading

Richmond City Council Debates Police Defunding

by James A. Bacon

Richmond City Council has taken up discussion of the demand by social-justice protesters to “defund the police.” Richmond is not Minneapolis, or Portland, or Seattle, and the three-person finance committee charged with making funding recommendations for the full council has split the baby. Instead of full defunding, the committee supports asking the Richmond Police Department (RPD), in effect, to recommend how to partially de-fund itself.

If City Council approves the committee’s recommendations, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch, RPD will identify funding in its budget for mental health, substance abuse, and social service functions that could be reallocated to other departments, and submit a report by Oct. 1 on where the money would go.

The half-measure is unlikely to satisfy militant Black Lives Matter advocates, many of whom spoke at the virtual public hearing yesterday. “We demand that funds be reallocated from the Richmond city police department’s excessively large budget, and reinvested in our community,” said Princess Blanding, sister of Marcus-David Peters, a tragic figure who was killed when threatening police during a mental health crisis in May 2018. Militants occupying the Lee Circle on Monument Ave. have renamed it in Peters’ honor.

Neither will the committee’s half measure likely satisfy the city’s new police chief Gerald Smith, who said RPD would require more money, not less, to address the systemic changes called for during recent protests. It will be difficult to extract the funding for the specific areas in the resolution, he said, because they are “intertwined in other things.”

The debate occurs against the backdrop of continued demonstrations as well as the effective takeover by activists of the Lee Circle, where the Robert E. Lee statue still stands while legal challenges to its removal work through the courts. The site is placid during the day, occupied by two or three dozen people who are mostly chatting and milling around. When I visited recently around 6 p.m., there were a couple of tents where vendors were selling trinkets, and a couple of men were shooting hoops in a portable basketball net. Families with children were walking and riding bicycles through the streets of the Fan neighborhood a block or two away. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: Purges, Clickbait, and Drunkenness

Pushing back against the New York Slimes. Liberty University is suing the New York Times for defamation, accusing the paper of crafting a “clickbait” story intended to create the erroneous impression that there was a COVID-19 outbreak on the school’s campus this spring, reports the News & Advance. The lawsuit says that reporter Elizabeth Williamson misrepresented the statement of a university-affiliated physician, who said that twelve students showed signs of “upper respiratory infection,” which can refer to the common cold, as evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak. “We’re not looking for money,” said Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. “We want to expose the New York Times for the liars and Buzzfeed clickbait organization they’ve become.”

VCU’s purge of the past reaches logical conclusion. Having completed its review of buildings, names, plaques and places, the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Committee on Commemoration and Memorials has targeted 16 memorials on the campus for removal. Regardless of life-long accomplishments and contributions to the community, any individual who served in the Confederate army in any capacity is being stuffed down the memory hole.

One memorial identified for removal a plaque honoring Simon Baruch. In 1939 philanthropist Bernard Baruch gave $100,000 to the Medical College of Virginia to renovate a building in honor of his father, Simon. The elder Baruch graduated from MCV in 1862 and served as a surgeon in the Confederate army. The plaque outside the auditorium lists his accomplishments and mentions his Confederate service. Similarly, the committee recommends de-commemoration and deletion of all references to the university’s Ginter House on the grounds that Lewis Ginter, one of Richmond’s great business leaders and philanthropists of the late 19th century, served in the Confederate army.

Drunken revelry and the COVID epidemic. If you wonder what’s contributing to the uptick in COVID-19 in Virginia, here’s a hypothesis: Drunken young people are dispensing with their masks and infecting one another. Continue reading

What Passes for Logic These Days….

by James A. Bacon

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said yesterday he supports changing the name of the city of Lynchburg because of its embarrassing association with the word “lynch.” He said the perceived racist connotations were an “embarrassment to Liberty University ever since we started,” reports Virginia Business magazine.

Falwell is not alone. Two weeks ago, Lynchburg resident Daisy Howard posted a petition on calling for a name change. The petition, addressed to Lynchburg City Council, has gathered more than 5,300 signatures. “I cringe having to say the name Lynchburg because ‘lynch’ is in the name,” said Howard in the petition. “The name of a city should not have such violent, racist and horrifying connotations.”

How insane is this?

Lynchburg was named after its Quaker John Lynch, who freed his slaves during his lifetime and supported the antislavery movement. One would think city residents would be proud to be associated with a guy like that. Continue reading

Mayor Stoney Panders to the Mob, Lawsuit Says

by James A. Bacon

Two elderly residents of Monument Avenue have filed a lawsuit charging that Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney pandered to mob rule by ignoring proper legal procedures to remove Civil War statues and by failing to arrest protesters who assaulted homeowners living near the Lee statue and vandalized their houses.

Stoney justified the taking down of several statues by citing the need to preserve public safety, and he argued that the existence of a local emergency due to the COVID-19 virus gave him the authority to act. “That justification was pretextual and arbitrary,” stated the lawsuit, which was filed yesterday. “Mayor Stoney had encouraged protests and participated in protests during the weeks before the removal of the monuments at issue involving hundreds of people who were not required to observe distancing protocols or wear masks or face coverings.”

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Patrick M. McSweeney, named as plaintiffs two Monument Avenue residents: 93-year-old E. Morgan Massey and 96-year-old Helen Marie Taylor. Massey is remembered as former CEO of the now-defunct A.T. Massey Coal Co. Ms. Taylor is best known for her activism decades ago in the cause of Monument Avenue conservation. 

In a reference to Ms. Taylor, the lawsuit states that police officers responded to a call for assistance “after demonstrators assaulted members of the household, destroyed gates, [and] threw objects at a bedroom window of the 96-year-old owner.” Refusing to leave their vehicles, police officers stated “they were instructed not to go where they perceived a threat to their safety.” Not mentioned explicitly in the lawsuit, protesters also vandalized Massey’s house by spray-painting graffiti on his front door. Continue reading