Category Archives: Race and Race Relations

Raven Baxter Found Her Virginia Beach Dream Home. The Owner Didn’t Want To Sell To A Black Woman.

by Kerry Dougherty

I’m just going to say this: 84 is not THAT old.

Being born in 1940 is no excuse for behaving like a modern-day segregationist.

Guess who was born that year?

Al Pacino, Ringo Starr, Dionne Warwick, Chuck Norris, Cliff Richard, Mario Andretti, Nancy Pelosi and the late John Lennon and Bruce Lee.

Not exactly relics. (Except the dead guys, I guess.)

Virginians born 84 years ago are not products of the Antebellum South. They may remember the bad old days of segregation, but they certainly should have outgrown Jim Crow.

Not all have, apparently.

The New York Times recently published a story about an 84-year-old resident of Virginia Beach whom they say had agreed to sell her condo at the oceanfront to Raven Baxter, a 30-year-old molecular biologist from Northern Virginia. They agreed on a sales price long distance, contracts were signed, an inspection was underway and the real estate deal seemed to be sailing smoothly toward closing, according to The Times.

But The Times reports that when the seller discovered her buyer was African- American, she wanted to kill the deal.

In May of 2024. Unbelievable.

Dr. Baxter has a popular website, Dr. Raven The Science Maven, an X account and podcast. Check them out. She’s smart, vivacious and kids will love her experiments. Baxter went public with her story and let it be known she was not giving up the house of her dreams because a suddenly-recalcitrant seller with an appalling reason wanted to abort the deal.

Continue reading.

The Junk Science Behind a Property-Valuation Study

Junk science

by James A. Bacon

When you examine every issue through a racial lens, everything looks like racism. It’s even easier to find racism everywhere when you resort to junk science (or social science, as the case may be).

A case in point is a new study by Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia (Home), which purports to find that systemic bias in real estate appraisals results in under-valuation of properties in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in the City of Richmond. This bias harms African-American property owners, the report contends, despite the fact that if the bias actually exists it would mean African-American homeowners would be paying lower real estate taxes.

So, how does HOME demonstrate bias?

The story begins in 2022 when Dr. Andre Perry with the Brookings Institution make a presentation in Richmond showing that home values are much lower in majority-Black neighborhoods than in predominantly non-Black neighborhoods. While acknowledging that part of the difference arises from differences in the homes and opportunities available in the neighborhoods, his statistical analysis showed that different valuations occur even when comparing “identical homes in neighborhoods with identical (non-racial) characteristics.” Continue reading

Wait, I’m Confused. Are Rising Housing Valuations Good or Bad for Black Neighborhoods?

by James A. Bacon

It’s hard to keep up with the twists and turns of what progressives deem to be racist these days.

Once upon a time, gentrification was considered racist because the phenomenon of White people moving into a neighborhood increased local property values, which increased taxes on long-time African-American residents and pressured them to move out.

But that’s old think. Now the problem isn’t that property values in gentrifying neighborhoods are too high. In the City of Richmond, property values in majority Black neighborhoods are too low!

“An under-valued home limits the owner’s ability to access credit through home equity and limits potential profits when the owner decides to sell,” concludes a new report, “Policy Approaches to Racial Disparities in Neighborhood Home Values and Related Risks of Displacement,” published by a nonprofit group, Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia.

“The disparities are the result of a long history of racial discrimination that has adversely affected neighborhoods of color in Richmond,” the report says.

Got that? If appraised property values are too high, higher property taxes drive out Black residents. That’s racism in action. If property appraisals are too low, Black residents are deprived of credit, and they get less for their houses than they would have otherwise. That’s racist, too. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Everything’s racist, folks. Everything! Continue reading

UVA Report Finds No Pay Inequity for Black, Hispanic Profs

Adjusted salary differentials for tenure/tenure track faculty.

by James A. Bacon

The Racial Equity Task Force, a 2020 document that transformed governance at the University of Virginia, listed 12 top priorities for addressing the legacy of historical racism. One was to address “serious challenges to racial equity in staff hiring, wages, retention, promotion, and procurement” by auditing where policies and procedures might be “reinforcing entrenched inequities.”

The report cited no actual evidence of disparities in pay, and the authors did not assert that they existed. In a report that lambasted UVA as “an inaccessible, rich, ‘white’ institution,” pay inequities were just assumed to occur and needed to be documented.

Well, last year the Ryan administration hired the DCI Consulting Group to evaluate “pay equity” for UVA faculty based on gender and race. The results, based on 2022 compensation, were made available to UVA January 5 and, sure enough, pay inequities were found…. for non-tenured Asian-American faculty.

Remarkably, adjusted for their level in the academic hierarchy, seniority and other variables affecting compensation, Black professors who are tenured or on the tenure track were f0und to earn 3% more than their peers, Hispanic professors 3.4% more, and Whites 1.6% less — although DCI did not deem the differences to be “statistically significant.” Continue reading

UVA As a “Maze of Predatory Systems”

by James A. Bacon

If you visit the latest exhibit at the University of Virginia’s Ruffin Gallery, “EscapeRoom,” it takes no more than five or ten seconds for the artists’ message to sink in — the amount of time it takes to read the signage at the entrance:

The University of Virginia (UVA) is a site of reckoning. The legacies of slavery and white supremacy reverberate throughout its built environment. EscapeRoom confronts the frameworks of injustice that contemporary audiences inhabit and inherit in relation to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. … EscapeRoom charts critical routes through a maze of predatory systems.

Inside, the exhibits contributed by multiple artists elaborate upon the white-supremacy theme. Five 3D-printed pieces of porcelain, for instance, are described as giving “materiality, scale and dimension to the many ‘tools’ that mediate state violence visited upon Black victims: horses, batons, guns, tear gas, and more.”

A mobile made of steel sheet metal “examines violence visited upon Black people at the hands of the American state. It attends to the paradoxes of Black life and death in this anti-Black world.”

To set foot in the EscapeRoom is to enter a world of victimhood that would have been entirely justified a century or two ago but seems tragically out of date 60 years after the passage of Civil Rights legislation, the enactment of the Great Society’s war on poverty, and the dramatic transformation of attitudes toward race in America — not to mention the implementation of Racial Equity Task Force recommendations at UVA itself that made the exhibit possible in the first place. Continue reading

In Their Own Words: Jefferson, Whiteness, and Dicks in the Sky

Meet Marisa Williamson. The Harvard-educated assistant professor in the University of Virginia art department works in video, image-making, installation and performance art around themes of “history, race, feminism, and technology,” according to her UVA faculty page. Most recently, she co-curated the EscapeRoom exhibition at the Ruffin Gallery, which we highlight in a companion article.

Williamson, who has worked at UVA since 2018, was one of the first faculty members hired under the “Race, Justice and Equity” initiative made possible by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

She described her approach to art in a 2021 conversation with Tori Cherry, a Charlottesville artist and UVA Grad, hosted by Charlottesville’s New City Arts.

“One of my big goals is to unsettle and to figure out how to haunt, how to keep things moving, how to agitate through these various forms of performance and monument,” Williamson said. Continue reading

University of Virginia Spends $20 Million On 235 DEI Employees, With Some Making $587,340 Per Year

It takes tuition payments from nearly 1,000 undergraduates just to pay their base salaries!

Bacon’s Rebellion is reposting this article published by Open the Books, a nonprofit group dedicated to transparency in government spending, and republished on the Jefferson Council blog. Open the Books CEO Adam Andrzejewski will speak at the Jefferson Council 3rd annual meeting April 9. Register now to attend. — JAB

The University of Virginia (UVA) has at least 235 employees under its “diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)” banner — including 82 students — whose total cost of employment is estimated at $20 million. That’s $15 million in cash compensation plus an additional 30 percent for the annual cost of their benefits.

In contrast, last Friday, the University of Florida dismissed its DEI bureaucracy, saving students and taxpayers $5 million per year. The university terminated 13 full-time DEI positions and 15 administrative faculty appointments. Those funds have been re-programmed into a “faculty recruitment fund” to attract better people who actually teach students.

No such luck for learning at Virginia’s flagship university – founded by Thomas Jefferson no less. UVA has a much deeper DEI infrastructure. Continue reading

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