Category Archives: Race and race relations

The Anti-Racist History of Vouchers in Virginia

by James A. Bacon

The school choice movement — and vouchers in particular — are portrayed by proponents of public school monopolies as elitist and racist in origin. According to historian Nancy MacLean, the idea for vouchers came out of Virginia’s Massive Resistance to school integration as a way to transfer white children from integrated schools into private “segregation academies.” This widely accepted view is has been little disputed.

Until now. Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, Phillip W. Magness with the American Enterprise Institute says the critics of vouchers have their history backward. The voucher idea originated with economist Milton Friedman as a way to advance integration. Writes Magness: “Virginia’s segregationist hard-liners recognized the likely outcomes and began attacking school choice as an existential threat to their white-supremacist order.”

That’s right, integrationists proposed vouchers as a way to integrate schools, and segregationists opposed them for precisely the same reason. Continue reading

Shootings Are Spiking? Let’s Blame COVID!

U.S. Senator Mark Warner. Photo credit: WTVR

by James A. Bacon

It came as a big surprise to U.S. Senator Mark Warner to hear about the spike in violence occurring in the City of Richmond. The Senator, who last lived in the city when he was governor in 2006, met with what WTVR-TV describes as a gathering of government and community leaders.

During the meeting, VCU Medical trauma surgeon Michael Aboutanos said that VCU is experiencing a 121% increase in gunshot-wound victims from across the metro Richmond area. “This is a serious issue,” he said, “One we cannot ignore.”

“I didn’t think I realized the numbers were that astronomical,” Warner said.

The murder rate, which passed the 60 mark this month, has not yet reached levels seen during the crack-cocaine epidemic, when murders in the 1980s routinely exceeded 100, giving Richmond one of the highest homicide rates (as a percentage of population) in the United States. But it is more than double that of the low-water mark of 31 homicides achieved in the post-crack year of 2008. Continue reading

COVID, School Closings and the Real Racism

Click thumbnail for full image.

by James A. Bacon

If you’re looking for evidence of “systemic racism” in Virginia schools, you can find it in a table produced by Matt Hurt, executive director of the Comprehensive Instructional Program, and published in the previous post. The table shows the extraordinary decline in in-person instruction that took place in the 2020-21 school year.

The Code of Virginia requires 990 hours of instruction yearly. The statewide average of in-person learning for White students was 439 hours. The statewide average for Black students was 338 hours.

Put another way, Black students received 100 fewer hours of in-person instruction on average than White students, and 59 fewer hours than the statewide average for all students. By all accounts, distance learning was a massive failure for poor children, and hybrid learning not much better.

If you define “racism” by differential outcomes, that’s about as racist as it gets.

But the reason for this racial disparity has nothing to do with the usual left-wing bogeyman — ubiquitous white racism — and everything to do with “progressive” politics. The racial disparities in in-person learning were the direct outcome of school-closing policies driven by COVID hysteria and the teachers, teacher unions, parents and politicians most sensitive to that hysteria. Continue reading

Beating a Zombie Horse: Yes, Virginia, CRT Is Real

Image credit: PMSing Tiger at

by James A. Bacon

If these were normal times I could file this post under the “beating a dead horse” tab. Jim Sherlock and I have blogged repeated on the topic of Critical Race Theory in Virginia schools, providing abundant documentation along the way. But various parties — from the McAuliffe campaign to the Washington Post to commenters on this blog — insist upon revivifying the expired equine.

Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I’m beating a zombie horse — a dead horse that refuses to go down.

Hilariously, we are led to believe that Critical Race Theory is an arcane academic theory popular among legal scholars but is not, repeat not, taught in Virginia. Watch Terry McAuliffe dodge the question from a reporter about how he defines CRT. He doesn’t need to define it, he says. “It’s racist. It’s a dog whistle. It’s not taught here.”

The only interesting question here is whether McAuliffe is deliberately and knowingly deceiving the electorate, or if be actually believes his foolishness.

Two days ago legal blogger Scott Greenfield tweeted the following document in which Equity Leadership Coaching invoiced Loudoun County Public Schools $34,000 for coaching support, for developing a “culturally responsive teaching framework,” and for “equity committee planning,” all of which are ubiquitous buzz words in the educational establishment today. Continue reading

Changing Culture with the Other CRT

by Carol J. Bova

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) document, “Navigating EdEquityVa — Virginia’s Road Map to Equity” lays out a back-door strategy for changing traditional American values and culture.

“The mission of the Virginia Department of Education,” says the Road Map, “is to advance equitable and innovative learning.” The document acknowledges senior staff, four departments and ten “organizations and thought leaders” for their research and scholarship contributions to EdEquityVA for Culturally Relevant/Responsive Teaching (CRT) — not to be confused with Critical Race Theory (also referred to as CRT).

While educators deny they teach Critical Race Theory in schools, they are up front about their commitment to Culturally Relevant/Responsive Teaching. What they seem unwilling to admit is that culturally relevant teaching is an outgrowth of Critical Race Theory. Continue reading

A Racially Divisive Disaster


by Marilyn Rainville

As a retired teacher and mother of two raising a school-aged grandson, I am concerned about what is being taught in the Virginia’s public schools. Two weeks ago, I spoke at a Mathews County School Board meeting to voice my concerns about Critical Race Theory.

The school Superintendent declared that our county does not teach CRT. However, she told me that Virginia does require faculty professional development in the area of “Culturally Responsive Teaching” and “Equitable Practices,” which it links to teacher licensing and annual evaluations. Culturally Responsive Teaching is derived from Critical Race Theory!

A February teacher-training workshop on Equity and Culturally Responsive Teaching in Virginia Beach was leaked to the internet on Several Black presenters were indoctrinating White teachers about racism. Each one repeatedly told the White teachers that they were racist and that all White people are racist. One woman continually tried to persuade the audience to admit they were racist. “One of the most freeing things that White people can do,” she said, “is say ‘of course I’m racist.'” Continue reading

Black Voter Monolith Looking Less Monolithic

Unidentified member of the Hampton Roads Black Caucus announces group’s support for Youngkin. First hint to Youngkin campaign: when someone announces their support, include their name! Second hint: Give us more than 20 seconds. Let them explain why they endorse you! 

by James A. Bacon

Last week Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin received the endorsement of the Hampton Roads Black Caucus (HRBC). It was the first time that the civil rights organization, which had endorsed Democrat Terry McAuliffe eight years ago, has backed a Republican for governor since it was founded in 2012, according to the Youngkin campaign.

The poll generated no local media interest other than a predictable story from Fox News, as well as a brief story on WTOP-TV.

Equally predictably, the McAuliffe campaign downplayed the significance. “I love it when the Youngkin team tweets HUGE NEWS about a Republican group endorsing their Republican candidate,” scoffed McAuliffe campaign spokeswoman Christina Freundlich. Continue reading

VDH Still Can’t Count

by Carol J. Bova

In a blog post published yesterday, I noted that the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVID-19 dashboard breaks down vaccination status by racial/ethnic group and by age, but not by racial/ethnic groups and age.

Thinking that VDH might possess the data, even if it had chosen not to publish it, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request. The answer can be seen in the screen grab above: “The record does not exist.” Continue reading

VDH Should Show Vaccinations for Age and Race Together

by Carol J. Bova

Jim Bacon used an infographic from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) in his recent post, God, COVID and the Rage Against the Unvaccinated showing the percent of the eligible population in Virginia with at least one dose.

What the infographic doesn’t say is the numbers are based on Virginians age 12 and up. When you look at another VDH chart by age, you see some pretty impressive numbers from age 35 and up, ranging from 71.0 to 89.9 percent. Continue reading

God, COVID and the Rage Against the Unvaccinated

by James A. Bacon

“There is a growing rage among the people who are vaccinated about the people who have refused a free and effective vaccine,” Stephen Farnsworth, an oft-quoted political science professor at the University of Mary Washington, said recently. “We’re all going back toward lockdowns because of the selfishness of a few.”

As Farnsworth notes, there may be political fallout from the rage against the unvaccinated. The people who feel this righteous anger carry an image of the unvaccinated as White don’t-tread-on-me Donald Trump voters putting their personal liberties ahead of the common good… Except when they acknowledge that a few of the unvaccinated are Black. They view Black vaccination resistance more charitably as an understandable, if misguided, response to the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study that ended a half century ago.

But I wonder. How many unvaccinated Blacks cite the Tuskegee study? How many are wary of “systemic racism” in the healthcare system? Are such tropes widely shared view among Blacks — or a construct of journalists, academics and other members of America’s clerisy?

After a lengthy conversation with an African-American tradesman who is active in my neighborhood, I have come to question the Tuskegee talking point. And I suspect that vaccination resistance among many Blacks likely arises from their religious faith. Viewing the world through a secular lens, America’s clerisy may be downplaying the influence of religious thinking among the unvaccinated. Continue reading

A Closer Look at Those “Driving While Black” Statistics

by James A. Bacon

When the Commonwealth published its Virginia Community Policing Act traffic-stop database last week, the Richmond Times-Dispatch spun the data this way:

Black drivers are disproportionately stopped and arrested, and they have their cars searched at higher rates than any other race statewide.

Here’s what the RTD could have written:

Black drivers stopped for traffic violations were disproportionately likely to be let go with warnings — or subject to no law enforcement actions at all.

Any fair-minded story would have provided both conclusions and conveyed the complexities and uncertainties in analyzing the data. Instead, the newspaper settled for cherry picking data that supports its ongoing Oppression Narrative. The reporters did not come right out and say that the statistical disparities are attributable to “racism” or “discrimination,” but the implication is clear enough. In contemporary society, statistical disparities are widely deemed to constitute proof. Continue reading

What We Want the Future to Know About 2020

Janice Underwood and First Lady Pam Northern place items in new time capsule Photo credit: Bob Brown/Richmond Times Dispatch

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Several  commenters to the previous post on the removal of the Lee Monument expressed interest in the items that were placed in the new time capsule that was to be placed in the base of the former Lee Monument.

According to a news release from the Governor’s office, these are the items: Continue reading

Lee Monument Removed

Photo Credit: Bob Brown/Times Dispatch

Yesterday morning the Lee Monument, the last major and most prominent celebration of the Lost Cause, was removed. Virginia and Richmond have now truly embraced the 21st Century.

Driving While Black Redux

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Some participants on this blog have voiced skepticism regarding the claim that Black drivers are more likely than white drivers to be pulled over by law enforcement. Jim Bacon even went to great lengths to demonstrate that it was difficult to determine the race of a driver in a moving vehicle. These skeptics have called for some data to support the claim, rather than relying on single egregious incidents such as the one that occurred in Windsor last year.

That data is now available and it supports the hypothesis that Black drivers are more likely than white ones to be stopped for traffic infractions.

Using recently available data from the Dept. of State Police, the Richmond Times Dispatch has calculated that “drivers who are Black are 1.6 times more likely to be stopped than white drivers based on their respective populations. And once stopped, Black drivers are 1.6 times more likely to have their car searched than white drivers and 1.3 times as likely to be arrested.” Continue reading

Nine Years Later, Bon Secours Still Hasn’t Made Good on Promises

With help from Redskins cheerleaders, then-Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones announces the $40 million Redskins training camp deal. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

by James A. Bacon

In October 2012, the City of Richmond negotiated a $40 million deal with the Washington Redskins and the Bon Secours Virginia Health System to build a Redskins training camp in the city. The complex deal had many moving parts. To make it happen, the city gave Bon Secours a long-term lease on the property of the old Westhampton School site so it could build a medical facility in the city’s prosperous West End. In exchange for favorable lease terms and the right to sponsor the training camp, the Richmond-based health system agreed to construct a medical office and fitness center in the poor, inner-city East End where it also operated the Richmond Community Hospital.

“This agreement will allow Bon Secours to significantly expand upon our effort to build healthier communities across Richmond,” CEO Peter J. Bernard said in a news release at the time.

Bon Secours did build the fitness center. But nearly a decade later, no ground has broken for the medical office.

Time is running out for the company to make good on its agreement, warn Michael Schewel, former executive vice president of Tredegar Corp., who served as Secretary of Commerce and Trade under Governor Mark Warner, and Steve Markel, chairman of the Markel Corp.

“They’ve gotten an extension from the EDA (Economic Development Authority) and they’re absolutely at the end of their time,” says Schewel. They’ve got to get a building permit, build a building, hire people, and get it done within a year of Jan. 1. It takes six months just to get a building permit from the city!” Continue reading