By Hans Bader
Virginia is apparently giving preference to certain clusters of minority residents in access to the COVID-19 vaccine, as Judicial Watch notes:
In the next few weeks, the state will give preference to black and Latino residents 65 and over while much older white seniors, many in their 80s, cannot secure an appointment to get inoculated. The plan was announced a few days ago by Dr. Danny Avula, who was appointed by Governor Ralph Northam this year to be the state’s vaccine coordinator…. In recent weeks, [a news] article says, roughly 10,000 vaccines were channeled specifically toward trusted clinics in neighborhoods with older black residents… the reporter cites “some experts” that have raised concern over age-based vaccine prioritization because it fails to account for lower expectancies among black and Latino communities, though it does concede that 75% of Virginia’s deaths are among those over 70….
by James A. Bacon
Almost every public university in Virginia has diversity office dedicated to increasing minority representation — in particular African-American and Hispanic representation — in the student body, faculty and staff. But the Northam administration deems those efforts inadequate. The Governor’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has just published a “Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence” in higher education, part of a broader ONE Virginia plan to advance “visible” diversity, equity and inclusion across state government.
Said Janice Underwood, Virginia’s Chief Diversity Office in a press release announcing the plan: “Using the Inclusive Excellence framework, ONE Virginia will help implement tangible reforms that interrupt long-held systems of structural inequity to create sustainable change, innovation, and productivity across state government, throughout Virginia, and around our country.”
As underscored by Underwood’s quote above, the strategic plan is built on the premise that Virginia’s institutions are systemically racist. The proposed remedy: Impose a politically correct regime on Virginia’s decentralized institutions that puts into place a machinery for indoctrinating faculty, staff and students and suppressing non-conforming views. Continue reading
by Hans Bader
George Mason University could start giving give minorities illegal racial preference in hiring until its mostly white faculty has the same racial balance as its more heavily non-white student body, which is more ethnically diverse than the average college.
Under GMU’s draft “ARIE Task Force Recommendations,” GMU will “recruit, hire, and retain faculty” and “staff to reflect” its “student population.” It will fund “diversity cluster hire initiatives” and mandate “search plans” and “diversity of applicant pool[s]” to eliminate “gaps” between “the demographic diversity” of its faculty and its student body.
That would be against the law. Institutions are not supposed to use race in hiring or promotions, to make their staff reflect the racial composition of the population they serve. For example, a federal appeals court ruled that a city could not consider race in promotions to make its police department better reflect “the racial composition of the city” or “remedy racial imbalances in the police department.” That violated the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. (See Police Association of New Orleans v. City of New Orleans, 100 F.3d 1159, 1169 (5th Cir. 1996)). Continue reading
By Peter Galuszka
Our esteemed Jim Bacon has been on a tear in recent months writing about media coverage of the problem of systemic racism at the Virginia Military Institute.
Of special interest to Jim is the reporting of Ian Shapira, a Washington Post reporter who has been digging into the VMI. After his stories were published, the superintendent of VMI retired and an inquiry was launched.
Jim doesn’t like what the Post and Shapira have done. Some of Jim’s headlines go right to the jugular including “VMI Update: The WaPo Makes Another Sleazy Insinuation” and “WaPo Ratchets Up Assault on VMI.”
At one point, Jim made this observation: “Polish up that Pulitzer. It looks like The Washington Post is vying again for the big prize in journalism”
Well, guess what happened? Shapira and the Post have won a George Polk award for their VMI coverage. The citation reads thusly: Continue reading
CACAGNY celebrating Chinese New Year in a Flushing, N.Y., parade in 2018.
by Asra Q. Nomani
This past weekend, I spoke at an online conference of CAPA-Fairfax County, a local chapter of Chinese-American parent groups mobilizing to defend merit-based education in the United States.
As some participants spoke in Chinese, I could make out some key phrases: “‘moral courage,” “public service,” and “Cultural Revolution.”
When it came my turn to speak, I told the Chinese-American parents: They can save America. After surviving the Cultural Revolution, they uniquely recognize the dangers to an ideology like critical race theory, the race-based philosophy that dismantles core principles in our society, such as the idea of the American Dream, replacing the idea of equality with the disingenuous notion of “equity,” and punishing Asian-American children for their advanced academics.
They cheered their potential role in the country that they love.
And now we see just that kind of moral leadership by another association, CACAGNY (紐約同源會), the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Greater, based in New York, which published a letter yesterday denouncing critical race theory as “a hateful, divisive, manipulative fraud.” A member @queens_parents published the letter on Twitter, and it can be found here online at their website www.cacagny.org. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
Last November 5, the Commonwealth of Virginia issued an RFP for a contract to investigate racism at the Virginia Military Institute. The document set an ambitious deadline. Responses were due November 17 — giving vendors less than two weeks to prepare submissions. Moreover, the document wanted the successful bidder to provide preliminary findings and recommendations by Dec. 31 and final recommendations by June 2021.
That made no sense to Carter Melton, VMI class of ’67, two-term VMI board member, and retired president of Rockingham Memorial Hospital. During his 30 years with the hospital, he had developed dozens of RFPs. He had never seen such ambitious deadlines for such a complex project. When he read the document, he was astonished — so astonished that he took out a full-page ad in the Sunday Richmond Times-Dispatch to get his views in front of Governor Ralph Northam.
First, he wrote, the scope of this project was vast and boundless. The RFP called for extensive document review, focus groups, anonymous questionnaires, a cross mapping of relevant VMI policies with those of every other college and university in the Commonwealth, and numerous legal opinions. “This is a huge piece of work; it asks for everything but the kitchen sink.” Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
In the early stages of the Barnes & Thornburg investigation into racism at the Virginia Military Institute, there was some contention over how the inquiry should be handled. Initially, VMI administrators asked for its lawyers to observe investigators’ interviews of faculty, staff and students. Barnes & Thornburg pushed back, saying the lawyers’ presence would be intimidating. The disagreement erupted into public view when the investigative team published its interim findings earlier this month.
VMI has since backed off, and in its latest article on the racism controversy the Washington Post quotes anonymous faculty sources as saying that they have spoken to Barnes & Thornburg and felt no pressure from school officials.
So, the question arises: Why did VMI officials back off? Did they do so voluntarily, or did they feel coerced? Here’s what the Washington Post had to say:
After one state lawmaker suggested that VMI could lose some of its $19.3 million of state funding if it did not cooperate, the college’s interim superintendent, retired Army Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, released a statement encouraging students and teachers to come forward. He shared a designated email and phone number for the firm’s investigators. Pledging the college’s commitment to confidentiality, he promised that all members of the VMI community “will be treated equitably and without fear of retaliation at every stage of this vital process.” Continue reading
Sen. Chap Petersen speaking on senate floor last year. Credit: Virginia Mercury
by James A. Bacon
A Senate committee voted Thursday to spike a bill aimed at “expanding diversity” in Virginia’s governor’s schools, reports The Virginia Mercury. While it is encouraging to know that admittance into the governor’s schools will continue to be based on merit-based tests, the vote has a broader significance, which is even more heartening. It hints that a significant number of Democratic Party legislators are not entirely on board with Governor Ralph Northam’s policy of implementing policies informed by critical race theory throughout Virginia schools.
The stumbling point for several Democratic legislators is that they have many Asian-American constituents. Asian-Americans are disproportionately admitted into Virginia’s elite public high schools, most notably into Northern Virginia’s nationally recognized Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology where they comprise 73% of the incoming freshmen. Asian-Americans have the most to lose from Northam’s definition of “diversity,” which requires admitting more African-Americans and Hispanics and fewer Asians. Whites would be far less affected by the changes. Continue reading
If there is the slightest doubt in your mind of what the Northam administration has in mind for Virginia’s public schools, just register for the latest #EdEquityVa Webinar on the topic, “Schools as Racial Justice Engines.”
Here’s the description of the Virginia Department of Education-sponsored webinar:
Trauma Informed Care for Racial Trauma and Strategies to Support the Unique Needs of Black Students in Schools
Corresponding Equity 5 C(s): Compassionate Family and Student Engagement, Culturally Responsive
Speakers include Charles A Barrett, the lead school psychologist with Loudoun County Public Schools, and Danielle Apugo, an education professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Personally, I think that schools best fulfill their role as “social justice engines” by actually providing an education, as in, ensuring that kids are literate and numerate enough to function in society. But that’s just me.
Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Officer for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
by James A. Bacon
Shortly after his blackface scandal, Governor Ralph Northam took a deep dive into the literature of critical race theory, determined to reinvent himself as a champion of African-Americans and foe of racism in Virginia. One of his most consequential actions was appointing Janice Underwood, director of diversity initiatives at Old Dominion University, to fill a newly created cabinet-level position — the first in the nation — as chief of diversity equity and inclusion.
Underwood has gotten sporadic mention in the media when giving speeches or addressing legislation, but the mainstream media, as woke as it purports to be, has not paid her much attention. Whether that’s due to media oversight or her desire to keep a low profile, I don’t know, but she consented recently to give an interview to Virginia Business, and the public should be very interested to know her view of the world.
Underwood’s portfolio gives her license to get involved in race-related issues across the entire scope of state government — not just government personnel policy but as far afield as predatory lending to minorities, the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic upon black health, and the racism investigation at the Virginia Military Institute. With Northam’s sanction to intervene anywhere in state government, she just may be the most powerful member of his cabinet — without question the most powerful woman in the administration. Continue reading
Richmond homelessness. Credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch
by James A. Bacon
Homelessness spiked in the Richmond area over the past year — more than 50%, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The increase from 549 to 838 people in 2020 was the largest single-year jump since anyone began tracking the number in the 1990s. Given the fact that hundreds of thousands of Virginians are at risk of eviction, homelessness likely will get much worse before it gets better.
Clearly, Virginia has a social crisis on its hands. The burning question is what to do about it. Do we treat the symptoms? Do we enact remedies that backfire and make things worse? Or do we address underlying problems?
We can get a glimpse of Virginia’s likely course of action by scrutinizing the plan to tackle the commonwealth’s housing crisis proffered by gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. Dominating the field of Democratic Party candidates, the former governor is the odds-on favorite to win the party nomination. Facing the survivor of the Republicans’ circular firing squad, that makes him the odds-on favorite to become Virginia’s next governor.
McAuliffe announced he has a plan — a “big bold” plan — in a Feb. 8 press release. In McAuliffe’s assessment, more than 260,000 Virginia households face the risk of eviction in the fall. Continue reading
By Peter Galuszka
With excellent timing, the former head of the history department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has come out with a book about the mythology of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and much of the White “Southern” culture.
Retired U.S. Army Gen. Ty Seidule, a former paratrooper, has deep Virginia roots and his analysis goes right to the heart of the problems plaguing Virginia, Civil War memorabilia, Richmond, Charlottesville, the Virginia Military Institute and more.
He grew up in Alexandria and had ties to the Episcopal prep school where he expanded his desire to be a “Southern” gentleman while worshipping the likes of Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
Here’s a link to my review of his book in Richmond’s Style Weekly. The Post also reviewed the book this past Sunday.
by Hans Bader
The General Assembly is moving toward requiring history teachers to study black history. SB 1196, passed by the state senate, would mandate teachers seeking a license or license renewal to have training in “cultural competency” and complete board-approved instruction in African American history.
I worry about these “cultural competency” requirements, and whether schools will teach bizarre racial stereotypes under the guise of cultural competency. For example, the Seattle Schools, under the guise of teaching cultural competence, made bizarre claims, such as that individualism is racism, that only whites can be racists, and that “future time orientation” – planning ahead – is a stereotypically white characteristic that minorities shouldn’t be expected to exhibit. As a black Supreme Court Justice disapprovingly noted in a 2007 ruling, “The Seattle school district’s Website formerly contained the following” examples of what it called “cultural racism’: “emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology” and “defining one form of English as standard.”
These disturbing claims came from Pacific Education Group, one of America’s most famous diversity-training firms, which has been hired by school districts in Virginia, Maryland, and many other states. It has promoted some of the crudest imaginable racial stereotypes, such as claiming that “white talk” is “verbal, impersonal, intellectual” and “task-oriented,” while black talk is “emotional.”
Let’s hope that the Pacific Education Group is not involved in designing Virginia’s Black History curriculum. In the meantime, it is now Black History Month and Virginians should consider inoculating themselves against Critical Race Theory-infused thinking by reading about one of America’s great thinkers and orators, Frederick Douglass. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
The Washington Post has taken notice of a bill, HB 1980, which would require the five public Virginia universities founded in the ante-bellum era to document their ties to slavery and establish scholarships or economic development programs to benefit communities descended from slaves.
I gave my take on that bill some three weeks ago in this post. In a nutshell, I argued that you can’t rectify the effects of past racism with reverse racism.
My focus today is the Post, whose story bears all the tics and tropes of contemporary progressivism. In particular, the newspaper appears to have adopted, as standard practice, use of the terms “enslaved” and “enslaver” in place of “slave” and “slaveowner.” Here are two examples in this article: Continue reading
by Asra Q. Nomani
Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge John Tran denied a request by 15 local parents to force Fairfax County Public Schools to reinstate race-blind, merit-based admissions tests to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, America’s No. 1 high school, but clearly stood on the side of the parents in their noble defense of gifted education and the value of merit-based admissions.
The decision is a blow to the future of the school as a place that nurtures the area’s top science. technology, engineering and math students, as local educrats replace the test with an essential popularity contest, complete with scoring for students who best match a subjective “Portrait of a Graduate,” complete with race-based quotas and biases for life “experiences.”
But hundreds of local parents — most of them immigrant — scored a huge win for America in waging a months-long battle, complete with school board speeches, petitions, letters and direct action protests, in an effort that is not over. They overcame fear of retaliation and cultural traumas of coming from societies where speaking out is punishable by death.
Theirs is a victory for standing up for their belief in the American Dream. The judicial setback just proves that the war for America and its future will be a long one. Continue reading