Category Archives: Culture wars

Making Money from Cultural Cleansing

This imagery was in preparation of the $430,000 contract with the University of Virginia to remove the George Rogers Clark bronze sculpture located at the UVa Corner Park.

by Carol J. Bova

Richmond business owner Devon Henry is best known for his role as owner of NAH, LLC, for procuring a $1.8 million contract from Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney to take down Richmond’s Confederate statues. While Stoney’s handling of the contract outside the normal procurement process became a political liability — a special prosecutor and the Virginia State Police are still investigating the deal — Henry has become the go-to guy for taking down monuments to Confederate generals and other symbols out of fashion with Virginia’s political class.

Henry built a construction company, Team Henry Enterprises, winning bids as a minority contractor, primarily from the federal government. In 2018, Team Henry broke into the state/local contracting business with a contract to erect the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia, which after eleven revisions totaled $5.5 million. Continue reading

Confederate Statues and Judicial Fiats

by James A. Bacon

The Roanoke County Courthouse is located, oddly enough, in the independent city of Salem. Nearby, within the sight of the courthouse, there stands a statue of a Confederate soldier in front of a building owned by Roanoke College. The college would like to remove it, but the statue is situated on a scrap of land owned by Roanoke County, and only the Board of Supervisors is empowered to make the decision. The County has not been moving on the matter as expeditiously as some would like, and now Roanoke County Circuit Court judge Charles Dorsey has determined that the statue “obstructs the proper administration of justice in the Roanoke County Courthouse.”

The arguments in favor of keeping the Confederate statues are familiar to us all, and I will not re-hash them here other than to note that this particular statue, raised in 1909, does not glorify the Confederacy, the ante-bellum era, or the mythology of the Lost Cause. The placard says simply that it was erected “in memory of the Confederate soldiers of Roanoke County. … Love makes memory eternal.”

My interest here is not to re-litigate the propriety of maintaining a statue that honors nameless Confederate soldiers but to highlight Dorsey’s judicial activism. Impatient with the processes of representative democracy — the county board will not take any formal action until January 2022 — he has issued an order:

Either the Court must be removed to an appropriate location or the monument must be removed during the operation of the Court, the Court so finds, and the same is ORDERED.

Continue reading

“Let Them Die” Redux

“Let them die” — words and applause heard around the world.

by Asra Nomani

Harry Jackson, the first Black president-elect of the PTSA at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, stood before a crowd of parents here at Luther Jackson Middle School last week to oppose the divisive ideology of critical race theory that has put forward flawed policies in K-12 schools across the country, including separating students into racial “affinity spaces” and eliminating merit admissions to TJ, America’s No. 1 high school.

Across the circular driveway, outside the front doors of the school, the first vice president of the Fairfax NAACP, Michelle Leete, stood in a counter protest, extolling the crowd of about 100 people gathered before her with a very different message.

Reading from a speech printed out on papers in her hand, Leete declared, “Let’s deny this off-key band of people that are anti-education, anti-teacher, anti-equity, anti-history, anti-racial reckoning, anti-opportunities, anti-help people, anti-diversity, anti-platform, anti-science, anti-change agent, anti-social justice, anti-healthcare, anti-worker, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-children, anti-healthcare, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-admissions policy change, anti-inclusion, anti-live-and-let live people.”

Then she punctuated her protest with this proclamation: “Let them die!” Continue reading

It’s Official: Patrick Henry Has Been Canceled

by James A. Bacon

Under intense pressure from the Virginia State Board of Community Colleges, the board of the Patrick Henry Community College, named after the founding father, has changed its name to Patrick & Henry Community College. The new name reflects the college’s commitment to Patrick County and Henry County, two of the localities in its service territory… which happened to be named after Patrick Henry.

The issue: Although Henry was renowned as an orator who helped spark the American Revolution, served as Virginia’s first post-colonial governor, and championed individual liberties, he owned slaves.

The Northam administration policy has led to the renaming of other community colleges named after prominent early Virginians whose ownership of slaves or views toward race transgressed the new morality — Lord Fairfax Community College, John Tyler Community College, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, and Thomas Nelson Community College.

Henry was the only one of the lot who was nationally known and revered. Continue reading

Hmmm… Implementing DE&I Might Be Trickier Than It Sounds

Here follows the transcript of an entirely fictional videoconference between University of Virginia President Jim Ryan and his Executive Cabinet. The author is not intending to be satirical. He is illuminating the issues that any honest effort to implement a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion agenda will encounter. — JAB

 by Jon Jewett

President Ryan: I have called this meeting to address the most important problem facing the University today — systemic racism. It is imperative that we make significant progress towards a solution during the 2021-22 academic year. In view of their critical roles in determining how we as a university address this problem, I have asked Greg Roberts, Dean of Admissions, Ian Baucom, Dean of Arts and Sciences. Risa Goluboff, Dean of the Law School, and David Wilkes, Dean of the School of Medicine, to join us.

I trust that by now you have all read Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist. If not, you should. Make that “must.’ Kendi’s basic message can be summed up as “No More Excuses.” We all know that all races are equal. Yet there are huge disparities between whites and blacks in this country, and in this University. Supposedly we have been working to eliminate those disparities at least since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, but they have barely changed over the last 50 years. What we have been doing has simply not worked, and it is time to recognize that reality. Kevin McDonald, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Partnerships, will first explain what our goals must be if we are to have an anti-racist university, and then I will call on others to explain how we will achieve those goals. Kevin? Continue reading

Libraries, Drag Queens and Culture Wars

by James A. Bacon

As a conservative with libertarian leanings, I have no quarrel with drag queens. If men want to dress like women… that’s not my thing, but it’s a free country. If men like to dress like women and sing in night clubs, that’s fine, too. Some are very entertaining — and they aren’t hurting anybody. But I draw the line at normalizing cross dressers with children. And I do have a problem with public, tax-funded libraries hosting drag queen storybook hours for kids.

Hunter Hollar, a resident of Crozet in Albemarle County, has similar reservations. When the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library hosted a virtual program, “Drag Makeup for Teens,” he objected. He finds it amazing that the library, instead of promoting great books and artistic material, would “see fit to involve teens in drag make-up.”

He wrote the library to express his concerns. R. Timothy Carrier, young adult services manager, wrote him back. The library’s mission, he said, is to foster “personal growth and life-long learning for all by connecting people with ideas, information, and each other.” Continue reading

VMI, Character and the Blessings of God

by Carmen Villani

At the conclusion of sporting events, the Corps of Cadets, players, and alumni join as one in singing the VMI Doxology. It ends with – “God Bless our team and V-M-I!”

During its nearly 182-year history, the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) has aligned itself with Judeo-Christian values, emphasizing character and servant leadership.

God calls upon us to not be of this world, yet the VMI leadership is making changes to align VMI with the world. Driven by the mantra of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” “Don’t do ordinary” is on the verge of becoming “We do ordinary.” Continue reading

Yes, CRT Is Being Taught in Schools

Ibram Kendi

by Hans Bader

On July 15, a Reuters fact-check claimed that “many Americans embrace falsehoods about Critical Race Theory.” But it is Reuters that embraced a falsehood, not the American people.

Reuters denied that Critical Race Theory teaches that “discriminating against white people is the only way to achieve equality,” saying that was a “misconception” promoted by “conservative media outlets.”

It’s not a misconception. It’s the explicit position of the most famous exponent of critical race theory, Boston University’s Ibram X. Kendi. The “key concept” in Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist is that discrimination against whites is the only way to achieve equality: “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination,” writes Kendi in that book, a New York Times bestseller touted by many progressive journalists. Continue reading

Will Pregnant Women Go the Way of the Gypsy Moth?

by Kerry Dougherty

When I want to know what’s going on in Virginia, I usually turn to The Richmond-Times Dispatch.

Despite cutbacks that have plagued the entire newspaper industry, the TD continues a tradition of good journalism without a glaring agenda or obvious slant on its news pages.

The paper’s coverage of the parole board scandal has been excellent. And it has always been the gold standard for political news out of the capital.

But a story on Tuesday pushed all of my buttons, because I cling to the quaint notion that language matters and it should retain some of its grace, color and accuracy.

Here’s the headline:

Continue reading

A Compromise for Confederate Statues

I was visiting Berryville this weekend to attend my niece’s wedding when I happened upon this statue at the Clarke County courthouse. My thought: That’s one way to handle the Confederate statue conundrum. Don’t take it down. But never prune the tree growing all around it. In a couple more years, the statue still will be there — it just won’t be visible.

I do say, the sight of that branch protruding between the fellow’s legs makes me a tad uncomfortable. The branch may explain the odd expression on his face!

— JAB

Constitutionality of Vaccination Mandate

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

There has been much opposition expressed on this blog regarding UVa, and, by extension, other higher education institutions, requiring students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID as a requirement for attending class in the fall.  The policy has been said to be, among other things, unconstitutional.

Not surprisingly, a judge has spoken. Today, a federal district judge ruled in favor of Indiana University in a suit brought challenging that university’s vaccination mandate. The court said, “The Fourteenth Amendment permits Indiana University to pursue a reasonable and due process of vaccination in the legitimate interest of public health for its students, faculty and staff.”

Of course, this is only one judge and it is not unusual for judges in different parts of the country to rule differently on similar points of law. Also, a district court’s ruling is generally applicable only in that district, but the case is likely to have some precedential value elsewhere.

The challengers have vowed to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Some Peoples’ Pain Matters More than Others’

Robert E. Lee statue on Richmond’s Monument Ave. Photo credit: Jay Paul/Reuters.

by Catesby Leigh

After George Floyd’s fatally brutal arrest, dozens of Confederate monuments were banished from civic settings throughout the South. And their ranks were further thinned last weekend, when Charlottesville’s equestrian statues to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were finally hoisted off their pedestals after a prolonged legal battle.

But the fate of what may be the most important Confederate statue of all has yet to be determined. The magnificent equestrian tribute to Lee on Richmond’s Monument Avenue — the old Confederate capital’s principal venue for Lost Cause commemoration — is still standing. Its majestically rusticated granite pedestal, 40 feet tall, was hideously defaced with obscenity-laced graffiti during last year’s Black Lives Matter–Antifa agitation. Rings of graffitied jersey barriers and chain-link fencing eight feet high now gird the monument, situated on a turfed circle 200 feet wide. Despite some splashes of paint, the bronze statue itself appears undamaged, and its handsome silhouette, when viewed from a distance, is unimpaired. Continue reading

Only the Courts Are Protecting Virginians – Again

by James C. Sherlock

Barton Swain explores a topic in the Wall Street Journal that bears examination in Virginia. He makes a profound observation:

“The sheer illogic of (the Texas election laws) controversy captures something essential about culture-war progressives. They are able to embrace a cause, condemn dissenters and doubters as monsters, and experience no cognitive dissonance despite having themselves held the contrary view a short time ago.”

It is evidence of a rejection by many of their own personal and political histories — of positions they once claimed on moral grounds. They dismiss citizens as beneath contempt for beliefs that until recently they held themselves. 

Sackcloth and ashes are not often in evidence, unless you count black face. Continue reading

The Authoritarian Nature of DE&I Training

Stay in step…. Or else.

TO: The President, the College Board, the Faculty, the Staff, and the Constituents of Northern Virginia Community College

FROM: Dr. A Schuhart (DACCE), Professor of English, NVCC-Annandale

DATE: 04/19/2021

RE:  Letter of Dissent

After completing the required DEI training, it is clear to me that the claims of this training are a direct expression of Critical Race Theory (CRT). There is also absolutely no question that CRT is a scholarly claim, not an objective truth; therefore, it is a tentative, constructed truth about which individual Faculty may rightly and legally have professional disagreement, and whose construction and communication is governed by principles of academic discourse; and, that among these principles are:

  • the individual scholar’s right to determine the truth of any scholarly claim independently,
  • and, that truth is created through democratic consensus, and it cannot be imposed through process or force or law without invalidating the claim itself, nor can a scholar be required to enact such a truth against individual belief or conscience without infringing on that right of independent evaluation;
  • and, that the majority opinion cannot impose its view upon the minority using institutional process or force or law, and that the principle of Academic Freedom specifically and intentionally protects minority opinion in every scholarly claim;
  • and, that these rights are asserted not for the scholar alone, but also for the Citizens in our classes. Continue reading

The Left’s Plan to Drive a Huge Shortage of K-12 Teachers

Becky Pringle, NEA President

by James C. Sherlock

The left has designed Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL) in no small part to drive current K-12 teachers with traditional values out of the profession.

Leftists hope to have set in motion a five-step process:

  1. It will be clear in a couple of years that the plan has worked. With Virginia already facing a teacher shortage, VDOE continues to push CRT, SEL and other progressive ideals such as the colossal overreach of a transgender child policy that converts appropriate accommodations into recruitment.
  2. Working conditions will continue to worsen for those:
    • who want to teach kids reading, writing, mathematics, science and the other academic disciplines without being forced into service in loco parentis to train social justice warriors in violation of their personal standards and those of most parents;
    • who wish to protect their personal values and dignity in their chosen profession.
  3. The state will be shocked — shocked —  that there are not nearly enough teachers to staff the schools.
  4. Virginia will continue its ongoing reductions in the qualifications for licensure. (Example:  For the Middle School Science Praxis test, the Educational Testing Service, after exhaustive research, recommended a cut score of 152 corresponding to a raw score of 61 out of 100. The Virginia Board of Education recently authorized a cut score of 147, corresponding to a raw score of 57 out of 100.)
  5. Nothing will stem the tide. President Biden will be asked to declare a national emergency and ask for a trillion dollars to increase the numbers of teachers without, this time, looking for root causes.

This is an easy assessment of what the left wants, not the least because they admit it. Most radical progressives are not stupid, just wrong. Those five steps are exactly what they seek.

Continue reading