Category Archives: Race and race relations

We’re Doctors. Implicit Bias Training Has No Place in Medicine.

by Martin Caplan, MD, and Kenneth Lipstock, MD

Apparently, Virginia’s doctors and nurses are racist.

This is the message of two bills that are moving through the state legislature. The bills would force medical professionals to take ongoing “implicit bias training” to get and keep their license. The problem is that such training is insulting, dangerous, and scientifically indefensible. It’s grounded in the false idea that people mistreat and even oppress others, especially those of a different race.

It’s a popular narrative, but there is no sound evidence to support it. What is clear is that if our lawmakers pass these bills, they’ll encourage racial division and tribalism, while undermining the medical profession and hurting patients who need our help. Continue reading

No More Legacy Admissions in Virginia

Out of luck

by James A. Bacon

Bills to ban preferential treatment for relatives of alumni at Virginia’s public universities flew through the 2024 session of the General Assembly in remarkable time. In a legislature marked by intense partisan divisions, companion bills passed subcommittees, committees, and the full Senate and the House of Delegates on unanimous votes. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Governor Glenn Youngkin has indicated he will sign the bill.

“If we’re going to have an even playing field, let’s have an even playing field,” said Democratic Sen. Schuyler VanValkenburg, D-Henrico, who sponsored the Senate bill.

VanValkenburg’s statement presumably alludes to last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling restricting preferential treatment in college and university admissions on the basis of race. Many Republicans and conservatives argued that policies should not tilt the playing field for or against members of a particular race or ethnic group. Admissions, they contend, should be based on merit.

In this case, Virginia Republicans appear to be true to their meritocratic principles. Attorney General Jason Miyares was among those backing the ban on legacies. The Times-Dispatch summarized his thinking this way: “Colleges should judge applications based on what a student can control — such as classes, grades and extracurriculars — not the color of their skin or their parents’ school.” Continue reading

“Enacting Racial Change by Design”

by James A. Bacon

The backlash against Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in higher-ed and the corporate world may be gathering momentum across the country, but the University of Virginia is rolling out a new DEI initiative oblivious to the shift in the national mood.

UVA’s College of Arts & Sciences has launched a program this semester entitled, “Enacting Racial Change by Design.” Participating faculty will discuss chapters from the book, From Equity Talk to Equity Walk to deepen understanding of “systematic racial inequity in higher education.” Participants will be able to apply for $1,000 grants to implement DEI-related projects.

The rhetoric of the memo announcing the initiative is disconnected from the national conversation now underway. The program shows not the slightest inkling that critics of DEI need be acknowledged much less engaged in dialogue. U.S. Supreme Court ruling on race in admissions? Resignation of the presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania? Helloooo? Anyone home?

This is what happens when an academic elite is captive to DEI dogma and there is not enough diversity of thought for anyone to push back.

Here follows the memo: Continue reading

Virginia Legislation Would Penalize Lack of Diversity in Firms Seeking Economic Development Aid

by Hans Bader

The Fighting Editor

Alexander, Ann Field. Race Man:  The Rise and Fall of the “Fighting Editor” John Mitchell Jr., University of Virginia Press, 2002

Review by Dick Hall-Sizemore

John Mitchell, Jr. was a major figure in Richmond and Virginia public affairs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Over the course of this career, he was a nationally known newspaper editor, a member of Richmond City Council, president of a bank, and a gubernatorial candidate.

In her well-researched biography, Ann Alexander tells Mitchell’s story in fascinating detail. In the course of following the life of Mitchell, the book provides insight into the political and social lives of middle-class Blacks in Richmond’s Jackson Ward in the late 19th century. There is also a discussion of the effects of the Readjuster movement and the subsequent defeat of the Readjusters and rise of the Democratic party in the city and state.

John Mitchell, Jr., the child of slaves, was born July 11, 1863, at Laburnum, an estate in Henrico County on the outskirts of Richmond. His parents were house servants of James Lyons, a prominent Richmond attorney. After Laburnum burned to the ground less than a year after Mitchell’s birth (the result of suspected arson by a disgruntled slave), the Lyons family eventually relocated to one of Richmond’s finest houses, a Greek Revival mansion on Grace Street near Capitol Square. Continue reading

Virginia Child Victims in the Left’s War on the Enlightenment and Science

Richard Bernstein, a founder of American critical theory.

by James C. Sherlock

Modern progressivism is religion, defined by Webster as “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”

The critical theory progressive, that is to say the modern American progressive, rejects proudly and publicly, root and branch, both the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolutions of the 16th through 18th centuries in Europe.

Critical Theory developed into a synthesis of Marx and Freud. The Frankfurt School which birthed it studied the sources of authoritarianism. Their followers, as in much of human experience, wound up as practitioners.

By contrast, the leading lights of Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution awakenings, bravely in their time, stressed the belief that science and logic give people more understanding. And with understanding came freedom and the rights of man.

Logic is the principles of reasoning; science provides the principles of investigation and proof.

They led much of Europe, and the American colonies, to develop more successful systems of governance, economics, mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry, and education than did tradition and religion.

One development, capitalism, has raised more people out of poverty than any economic system ever.

Some of the rest of the world followed. Some did not. Those that did, prospered, and improved the lives of billions of people.

But success in those twin intellectual revolutions came too slow for some.

To that table came two prominent 19th and 20th century experiments in rejecting the Enlightenment: communism and national socialism.

They proved the deadliest political movements in human history. Continue reading

Racism Comes in All Colors

by Kerry Dougherty 

What follows here is fiction. Totally imaginary. Still, picture this with me:

The mayor of Virginia’s largest city — that would be Virginia Beach, population 458,000 — decides to hold a holiday party for city council members on city property.

The mayor — and let me remind you this is hypothetical, it did not happen — sent out invitations characterizing this in some kind of strange pidgin English as a party for “white electeds,” which meant that the four black members of council were not welcome.

Because of their skin color.

What would the reaction be when the whites-only party became public?

I can tell you.

There would be loud cries of “racism”! Calls for the mayor’s immediate resignation. There would be  protests in the streets, with both whites and blacks denouncing the mayor’s shocking behavior. The local newspaper would call for the mayor to be removed from office and the editorialists would lament that Virginia hadn’t progressed from the days of Jim Crow.

The news would make national headlines and no doubt state and federal prosecutors would be looking at the civil rights violations in an exclusive, all-white Christmas party for elected officials.

It would be — pardon the expression — a poopstorm.

Odd then, that when something similar actually happened, not in Virginia, but in the largest city in Massachusetts, Boston — there is just a mild outcry. And lots of folks defending the move.

Could it be because the Boston mayor excluded whites, not blacks? Continue reading

Charlottesville, Its Public Schools and UVa – Part One – Bad things Happen

Charlottesville neighborhoods.  Courtesy Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition

by James C. Sherlock

In the relationship between Charlottesville and the University of Virginia, very bad things have happened to Charlottesville and continue to do so.

I have developed a working thesis on that relationship.

The city is at the mercy of the University by virtue of the latter’s wealth, influence, and power in Charlottesville elections.

It is, driven by University community voters, the bluest voting district in the Commonwealth.

Unfailingly progressive Charlottesville city council, school board and Commonwealth’s Attorney candidates are elected by the dominant votes of the University, its employees and its students.

Charlottesville City Schools (CCS) are to a large degree creatures of the University.

Many CCS teachers have their bachelors and/or advanced degrees from UVa’s School of Education and Human Development. Many University ed school students do their student teaching in Charlottesville.

Every progressive educational policy and virtually every experiment the University’s ed school can dream up are visited on those students.  The University’s ed school Research Centers and Labs find the proximity convenient and a pliant school board welcoming.

The University can’t bear to leave anything in CCS alone.

As Charlottesville High School faces the aftermath of rising rates of violence at the school and three canceled days of school due to alack of personnel, teachers at the University and other community groups have assisted in the school’s response. Faculty from the University’s School of Education and Human Development were present at development sessions with Charlottesville High School teachers aiming to address underlying issues….

“Dr. Stephanie Rowley, dean of the University’s Education School, said faculty from Education’s counselor education and educational psychology programs were particularly involved with the efforts because of the relevance of their expertise.”

There is no record of their being invited.

“Lack of personnel”.  The teachers walked out because of runaway violence.

The University “lent a hand”.

“In light of the University’s recent push to bolster its impact in Charlottesville, some members of the University who specialize in education attended the teacher work day meetings at Charlottesville High School.”

Seriously.  To “bolster (the University’s) impact in Charlottesville”.

For Black children in CCS schools, that influence, long-running and well-meaning though it has been, has turned out to have been a disaster unparalleled in the Commonwealth.

Continue reading

Race, Disparities, and Reality

##### sponsored content #####

Heather Mac Donald

by James A. Bacon

Statistical disparities between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics and Asians are at the root of the debate about race in America today. Other than a few powerless voices on the fringe of society, no one questions that racism is evil. With no one admitting to being racist, leftists have redefined racism. One strain of thought asserts that many White Americans are unconsciously biased, which affects their behavior in subtle yet malign ways. Another strand insists that America’s institutions are racist, which means that racism supposedly abounds even in the absence of discernible bias. The evidence for such propositions supposedly can be found in the wide differences between Whites and Blacks in income, education, health and other metrics of wellbeing. The existence of such disparities is proffered as proof of systemic bias and/or ineradicable flaws in our institutions.

The effect of this line of thinking is pernicious in so many ways. Perhaps the most devastating to American society and to allegedly marginalized minorities themselves is the corrosive impact it has on standards of merit and excellence.

Heather Mac Donald, a Manhattan Institute fellow, is perhaps best known for her takedown of racialist thinking on crime. But she has written extensively about the perils of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as well. And in her most recent book, “When Race Trumps Merit: How the Pursuit of Equity Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives,” she explores how a monomaniacal focus on statistical disparities corrupts science, the arts, and public policy.

In an event co-sponsored by The Jefferson Council, Mac Donald will address the University of Virginia community 7:00 p.m. Nov. 9 in Charlottesville on the topic, “DEI and the Death of Merit.” You can register here. Continue reading

What the Heck Does “a Historical Connection to Slavery” Mean?

by James A. Bacon

Project Gabriel, an initiative of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, discussed ideas this summer on how to circumvent the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling restricting the role of race in college admissions, Do No Harm has found through a public records request.

“VCU and other medical schools are trying their utmost to circumvent the Supreme Court decision striking down affirmative action,” Do No Harm Chairman Stanley Goldfarb told The College Fix. Do No Harm, a national organization headquartered in Henrico County, combats identity politics in medicine.

Project Gabriel scholarships, writes the College Fix, “would be available for ‘those with a historic connection to slavery.’ A list of challenges included questions such as ‘How do you determine someone’s historic connection to slavery?’ and ‘Restriction of affirmative action in college admission – how does this affect race-based scholarships?'”

“Work around the ruling on affirmative action and find ways we can still help give scholarships to those students in need,” say Project Gabriel notes. Continue reading

Revisiting the Intellectual Foundations of Conservatism — One Book at a Time

by Suzanne Munson

From time to time, members of every great movement such as American Conservatism need to stop, take a breath, and see where the movement is going. Great movements, founded by great individuals, can sometimes be hijacked by lesser minds.

Many of the founders of modern conservatism were intellectuals. William F. Buckley was able to criticize liberalism articulately from the foundation of a fine education, intellectual curiosity, and deep reading.

While there are knowledgeable thought-leaders in today’s conservative movement, there are others who call themselves conservatives who may be giving the movement an unfortunate image.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines conservatism as “a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change.” Much more can be added to this definition, such as limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a belief in traditional, wholesome values.

It is interesting to examine a recent incident in Florida to see where some who term themselves “conservatives” have created an embarrassing situation. Members of a book club, reported to consist of conservative members, rescinded an invitation to a respected author to speak to their group.

The program was a book and author event at $100 a plate, so one would assume some level of education and sophistication. Rachel Beanland, a well-regarded Richmond, Virginia author and teacher, was invited to speak about her new novel, The House Is on Fire.

She had spent hundreds of hours researching the tragic theater fire of 1811 in which some of Virginia’s most prominent citizens perished. The book features individuals, real and imagined, who resided in Richmond at that time–tradesmen, theater workers, politicians, slaves, doctors, widows.

Yes, there are slaves in the book and yes, their lives were difficult, and yes, some white characters in the book treated them poorly. What else is new? There were white characters in the story who also had poor treatment at the hands of other whites. There is always plenty of trouble to go around in an interesting novel. Continue reading

How Many UVa Students Feel Sense of “Belonging”?

by James A. Bacon

As the University of Virginia Board of Visitors grapples with contentious issues such as equity, inclusion and racial preferences, it could benefit by knowing how well the policies of the Ryan administration have succeeded or failed in making UVa a more welcoming place for students across “every possible dimension” of diversity, to use President Jim Ryan’s words.

The administration possesses considerable data to answer the question. During the final year of the Sullivan administration, 2018, the university conducted a comprehensive, in-depth “campus climate” survey. Since then, the university has participated in biennial surveys conducted under the auspices of the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) consortium, which, th0ugh less comprehensive than the 2018 effort and fraught with discontinuities in the questions asked, does contain useful information.

The university’s Office of Institutional Research & Analysis posted results for 2022 for public viewing in August. The graphic below summarizes student responses to the statement, “I feel I belong at university.”

Three of five (60%) students agreed or strongly agreed with the sentiment that they belonged at UVa. Seventeen percent expressed various degrees of disagreement. 

Is that a good finding or a bad finding? It depends on context. Continue reading

Tech to End Racial and Legacy Preferences in Admissions

by James A. Bacon

In the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Virginia Tech has announced that it will eliminate race and legacy status as factors in admissions. Information about an individual’s race/ethnicity will no longer be visible during the application process.

“Much of our recent success in attracting and graduating students from underrepresented minority and underserved backgrounds (including low-income, first generation and veteran students) has been achieved by lowering barriers to admissions, creating effective pre-college programs, and supporting our students while on campus,” said President Tim Sands. “We will increase our emphasis on those programs and support mechanisms going forward.”

These changes strike me as a reasonable compromise in response to the Supreme Court ruling. Dropping race and ethnicity as factors in admissions ends the invidious practice of explicit discrimination on the basis of race. It represents a huge defeat for “anti-racists” who believe that the only antidote to past discrimination against minorities is reverse discrimination in their favor.

Tech has coupled that decision with a formal end to favoring legacies. Given the fact that legacies are disproportionately White, the symbolic value is huge. Continue reading

Setting the Stage for the Great Race-in-Admissions Debate

Should admissions be color blind?

by James A. Bacon

People have been asking me what I think about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting colleges and universities from using race as a specific basis for admitting students. I’m not a legal scholar, so I won’t offer any opinions on the legal or constitutional merits of the decision. I speak as a citizen.

My sense is that the Court has made a huge step forward in the generations-long campaign to build a color-blind society. If you share the ideal that a man should be judged by the content of his character, not the color of his skin, you will applaud the ruling regardless of its legalities. And if you believe that the condition of Blacks and Hispanics can be elevated in American society only through preferential treatment of their race and ethnicity, you will see it as a blow in furtherance of White supremacy.

The immediate impact will be to generate waves of punditry on how colleges and universities should implement the ruling — or evade it. Prevailing commentary seems to hold that most university administrators will “take a hard look” at their admissions policies, then tweak them to accomplish what they want — higher percentages of Blacks and Hispanics — without triggering lawsuits.

That certainly seems to be the case at the University of Virginia, where President Jim Ryan and Provost Ian Baucom have said in a statement to the university community that they will follow the law but also “continue to do everything within our legal authority to recruit and admit a class of students who are diverse across every possible dimension and to make every student feel welcome and included here at UVA.” Continue reading

What Hath Wokeness Wrought?

by James A. Bacon

The surge in homicides in Virginia continued unabated for the third straight year in 2022, with number of deaths from homicide and non-negligent manslaughter reaching 621.

The homicide epidemic in Virginia disproportionately affected Blacks. Blacks accounted for 90% of the increase in the number of murder victims since 2019, the year before the George Floyd protests sparked an outbreak of lawlessness, a crescendo of anti-police rhetoric, and a wave of legislation designed to reduce Black incarceration rates.

The toll in Black bodies has increased from 253 in 2019 to 436 last year, a three-year increase of 183 victims and a one-year increase of 54. By contrast, the number of White murder victims climbed from 157 in 2019 to 173 the following year and has plateaued at that level since.

The latest data from the Virginia State Police compiled in the 2022 Crime in Virginia Report demolishes the argument proffered by many on the left a year or two ago that the spike in homicides could be attributed to COVID-related lockdowns rather than the wave of leftist rhetoric and public policy changes.

The COVID hypothesis was never credible to begin with — the lockdowns affected everyone, but the jump in homicides occurred overwhelmingly in the Black community, was muted among Whites, and was invisible among Asians. (The report did not break out Hispanics as a separate racial category.) But the continued increase in homicides among Blacks in 2022 after the lockdowns ended indicates that something besides COVID was responsible. Continue reading