Category Archives: Race and race relations

Free Speech Discredited Racism Better Than Cancel Culture Ever Could

Photo credit: Cavalier Daily

by James A. Bacon

The attacks on Bert Ellis, newly appointed member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, continue without letup. The Cavalier Daily, the UVa student newspaper, has published an article resurrecting an event from the 1974-75 academic year in which Ellis, who led the University Union at the time, invited IQ theorist and eugenicist William Shockley to speak at the university.

The article follows a call by Student Council for Ellis’ resignation from the Board of Visitors for the offense in 2020 of thinking about using a razor blade to remove the infamous “F— UVA” sign from the door of a room on the Lawn.

The CD piece does not call Ellis a racist outright, but it invites readers to draw such a conclusion by recounting how he was instrumental in bringing a prominent racist to the university despite the vehement opposition of some African-American students.

What the CD article overlooks is that Shockley, who won the Nobel Prize for his contributions to the invention of the transistor, was giving numerous speeches and garnering widespread media attention at the time for his view that Blacks are genetically inferior to Whites. It also neglected to report that the Student Union also recruited Richard Goldsby, an African-American biologist who argued that race is a social construct, to debate Shockley.

“We wanted the issues thrashed out,” says Ellis. “It was a true debate that was a sold out event. Richard Goldsby took him to task.” Continue reading

Systemic Racism Lives

Nathan Connolly and Shani Mott in front of their Baltimore home Photo credit: New York Times

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

For those folks on this blog who keep denying that systemic racism either ever existed or is still a factor in today’s society, I offer an incident reported in today’s New York Times as evidence that systemic racism is still alive and operating to discriminate against Blacks.

Last summer, a Black couple in Baltimore, Nathan Connolly and Shani Mott, decided to take advantage of low mortgage rates and refinance their home. They found a lender willing to lend them the money. However, the appraisal for the house came in at $472,000, only $22,000 more than what they had paid for the house five years ago. Keep in mind that home values had been escalating significantly over the past few years.

Dr. Connolly, who is a history professor at Johns Hopkins University, and whose special area of research has been the role of race in the housing market, thought he knew why the appraisal came in much lower that they had anticipated. Continue reading

Race As a Political Construct

by James A. Bacon

Race is a social construct, as the Wokesters endlessly remind us. It’s one of the few observations from the left that I mostly agree with… or, at least, I did agree with until reading, Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America, by George Mason University law school professor David E. Bernstein.

Now I’m more inclined to say that in the United States race is a political construct.

According to the U.S. Census, here’s the breakdown of Virginia’s 2020 population by race:

  • White (non-Hispanic): 60.3%
  • Black (non-Hispanic): 18.6%
  • Asian: 7.1%
  • Two or more races: 8.2%
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.5%
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.1%
  • Some other race alone: 5.2%
  • Hispanic/Latino origin: 10.5%. (When categorized by race, Hispanic individuals generally are designated either White or Black.)

What does it mean to be “White”? What does it mean to be Black or African American? Or Asian? Or Hispanic? Who defines these racial/ethnic classifications anyway, and who decides how to classify individuals when disagreements arise?

Unelected federal bureaucrats and unelected judges make the decisions based upon a combination of evolving ideology, case law, and political pressure from racial/ethnic advocacy groups. The resulting classification system influences the allocation of billions of government dollars, and in so doing reinforces racial/ethnic constructs of how Americans think of themselves. Continue reading

Sorry, Can You Please Explain Again How Systemic Racism in Healthcare Works?

by James A. Bacon

The U.S. healthcare system, we hear with increasing frequency, is systemically racist. Here in Virginia, for instance, we hear that Black women suffer a higher rate of complications in childbirth than White women. But any theory of systemic racism in healthcare needs to explain certain inconvenient facts that I stumbled across recently when reviewing the Kaiser Family Foundation “Virginia Health Care Landscape.”

Perhaps the most meaningful statistic on healthcare status is longevity. The Kaiser numbers floored me. Hispanics — people of color who are widely thought to suffer from less access to healthcare — have the longest life expectancy of any racial/ethnic group in Virginia: 88 years. They are followed by Asians, who live on average 87 years. Whites live 79 years on average, and Blacks 75 years. If the system is racist, why do Asians and Hispanics live so much longer than Whites?

Why aren’t Asians or Hispanics the racial/ethnic yardstick for health rather than Whites? Why is the small, 4-percentage-point disparity between Blacks and Whites played up while the large, 13-percentage-point disparity between Hispanics and Blacks is ignored? Continue reading

Windsor Traffic Cops Broke No State Laws

Joe Gutierrez

by James A. Bacon

Town of Windsor police officers won’t face state criminal charges for pepper-spraying a Black Army lieutenant during a traffic stop, but they aren’t off the hook yet. Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell, named as special prosecutor in the Isle of Wight case, has asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office to open a civil rights investigation.

Joe Gutierrez (no longer on the force) and Daniel Crocker pulled over 2nd Lieutenant Caron Nazario on U.S. Route 460 at night on suspicion of driving without a license plate. Nazario had a temporary New York plate in the rear window but the officers said they didn’t see it. Nazario drove a mile before finally pulling over in a BP gas station. When ordered repeatedly to get out of the car, Nazario refused. Gutierrez pepper-sprayed Nazario and then forced him to the ground. Much of the encounter was caught on police cameras.

Bell, an African-American, conducted what he described as an “exhaustive review” of Virginia state law, according to The Smithfield Times. “The traffic stop alone was not a violation of law,” he wrote. Gutierrez’s use of force “did not violate state law as he had given multiple commands for Nazario to exit the vehicle.” Continue reading

Audit Skewers Arlington’s Virtual Learning Fiasco

Photo Credit: Thomas Park on Unsplash by way of the Sun Gazette.

by James A. Bacon

An internal audit of Arlington Public Schools’ calamitous virtual-learning program during the 2021-22 school year cut school leaders no slack.

“There was insufficient or minimal ownership, leadership . . . stakeholder input, planning, risk assessment, pilot study and progress reports,” John Mickevice told School Board members, as reported by the Sun Gazette. Among the key findings:

  • The school system “lacked a formal project plan” to implement the program;
  • Those leading the program provided “no timely feedback” to upper-level school leaders when things began to go south;
  • There was not sufficient time given for staffing the program and training that staff.

Continue reading

Blacks Don’t Always Think the Way White Cultural Elites Think They Do

by James A. Bacon

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s popularity in Virginia was the top-line story from a new Virginia Commonwealth University poll. The survey, published yesterday, found that 49% of Virginians polled approve of his job as governor compared to 38% who disapprove. It’s not surprising to see his popularity holding up so well. Virginians tend to be favorably disposed toward governors not caught up in scandal, and Youngkin is no exception.

The more interesting data from the poll was buried in the VCU press release. Two points stand out: attitudes of Blacks toward taxes, and attitudes of Whites toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Leaving the plantation on taxes. Youngkin’s tax cut on gas is more popular among African-Americans than the electorate as a whole. The three-month elimination of the motor vehicles fuel tax garnered a 58% approval rating from all Virginians but 76% from Blacks. (Elimination of the state portion of the grocery tax was broadly popular across the partisan divide, with seven out of ten Virginians in favor. VCU did not break out the results for Blacks on that question.) Continue reading

Debunking Another Junk Study from the Left

Source: The Prison Policy Initiative

by James A. Bacon

The Prison Policy Initiative, a group dedicated to exposing “the broader harm of mass criminalization,” has published data detailing the incarceration rate of communities across Virginia. Among Virginia’s 95 counties and 38 cities, 26 are missing at least 1% of their population to incarceration, finds “The geography of mass incarceration in Virginia.

Among the more notable findings: while the cities of Norfolk and Richmond send the largest numbers of people to prison, less populous localities — Martinsville, Petersburg, Franklin, Buchanan, Lee, Dickenson and Brunswick — are missing a larger share of their populations. Moreover, within localities incarceration rates differ widely by neighborhood.

The data is interesting and potentially useful, but the analysis that accompanies it is atrocious. If the numbers prove anything, it’s that “mass incarceration” knows no racial boundaries. The poverty-ridden Appalachian counties of Lee, Buchanan and Dickenson are overwhelmingly White. But the authors slight that obvious fact in favor of linking incarceration with “systemic racism.”

This passage is typical: “Decades of systematic oppression and divestment from these poorer communities of color — which we know are overpoliced — have left these historically redlined communities particularly vulnerable to Virginia’s modern-day reliance on mass incarceration.”

Where do I begin? Continue reading

Crime, Asians, and “Whiteness”

Source: Crime in Virginia 2021

by James A. Bacon

In his classic treatise on race in America, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Thomas Sowell advanced the argument that African-Americans inherited a cultural propensity to violence from the rural Southern, White-dominated culture in which they were immersed. When Blacks migrated to northern cities to escape Jim Crow and pursue jobs in the booming manufacturing centers, they brought that undesirable proclivity with them. So did the hillbillies of Appalachia, says Sowell. Locals looked down upon both groups with scorn and prejudice.

Southern Whites and African-Americans, traditionally at odds with one another, are far more alike than they commonly recognize. I am reminded of this every time I watch football, an enjoyable but indisputably violent sport, on television. I see a lot of Black football players and a lot of White football players. I rarely see a single Hispanic or Asian on the field, even though those two groups now comprise a quarter of the U.S. population.

Sadly, we can see this cultural brothers-by-a-different-mother phenomenon in the Virginia crime statistics. Yes, as many observers point out, Blacks commit a disproportionate number of homicides and aggravated assaults. But criminal behavior is rampant in Virginia’s White population, too. Though drowned out in all the discussion of systemic racism and White privilege, there is a large White underclass in Virginia in which broken families, substance abuse, and criminal behavior are widespread. Whites commit a majority of violent crimes in Virginia. Continue reading

College Admissions and the Legacy Dilemma

The Williams family — Wahoos all. Photo credit: The New York Times

by James A. Bacon

The issue of legacy admissions to prestigious colleges and universities poses a ticklish problem for conservatives who support meritocratic criteria and oppose racial preferences. There is nothing meritocratic about giving preferential treatment to family members of alumni who, by virtue of having graduated from a prestigious institution, already enjoy a leg up on life.

Stereotypically, one thinks of White youngsters named Biff or Muffy benefiting from the legacy system, but that’s changing now that African-Americans and other minorities have begun graduating from America’s top institutions in large numbers.

Such is the case of Anastasia and Sanford Williams and their children, all of whom have graduated from the University of Virginia. Pictured in a New York Times article about admissions, they feel conflicted. Sanford wants to open up opportunities for other African-Americans. Yet he supports legacy preferences, reports the NYTimes, “as long as they are a small part of the admissions process.”

In America today, the top tier of universities give preference to two groups in admissions: the offspring of alumni (mostly but decreasingly White) and favored racial/ethnic minorities (namely Blacks and Hispanics but not Asians). Everyone else suffers a significantly diminished chance of being selected. Continue reading

The Only Thing “Systemic” About VMI Is the WaPo’s Cherry Picking of Data

by James A. Bacon

Washington Post reporter Ian Shapira was up to his old tricks in an article published over the weekend about Governor Glenn Youngkin’s appointments to the Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors. Predictably, he portrayed the divisions at VMI as between rival camps of those who “support change” and “those resisting it” — a vacuous description of the controversies dogging the military academy. It is more accurate today to characterize the rival camps as those who believe VMI needs a good dose of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion to redress past racial wrongs versus those who regard DEI’s raising of racial consciousness as antithetical to VMI’s socially egalitarian culture.

Be that as it may, Shapira frets that Youngkin’s appointment of four Republicans to the 17-person board “would roll back some of the efforts designed to make VMI more inclusive and diverse.” Only 6% of the Institute’s 1,650 cadets are Black, he notes, and only 14% are women.

Let’s set aside the obvious facts that women are far less interested in pursuing military careers than men, that they comprise only 16.5% of Americans in uniform, and that few college-bound women are interested in undergoing the rigors of the Rat Line.

Let us focus instead upon Shapira’s discussion of race at VMI. Youngkin’s board selections, he wrote, made VMI “slightly less racially diverse” by replacing one Black member, Sean Lanier, whose term had expired. “The new makeup of the VMI board includes nine White men, four Black men, two White women, one Hispanic man and one Native American woman.” Continue reading

UVa’s Invasive, Ubiquitous DEI Program, Its President and the New Board of Visitors

UVa President James Ryan Courtesy of the University

by James C. Sherlock

As a public service and a primer for new UVa Board of Visitors members, I will offer here a brief summary of the extent and costs in dollars, time, distraction and suppression of debate by the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program.

Put briefly, they are everywhere, overseeing everything at the University.

On that subject, Victor David Hanson has written:

At a time of impending recession, runaway inflation, and climbing interest rates, universities are charging students thousands of dollars in increased tuition and fees to subsidize an unproductive diversity, equity, and inclusion industry. And like all good commissariats, the DEI apparatchiks produce no research, do no teaching, and bully and repress those who do.

Their chief legacy is the millions of opportunistic mediocrities emerging from the shadows to mouth wokester shibboleths about climate change, diversity, equity, and inclusion, identity politics, and transgenderism, while damning the customs, traditions, history, and values of a prior society that alone is responsible for their very affluence and leisure.

A harsh critique, certainly. Perhaps it does not apply to the DEI program at the University of Virginia.

It is up to the Board of Visitors to examine whether Mr. Hanson’s description accurately describes that program and, if so, to make changes.

I will offer here a brief and assuredly incomplete accounting of that DEI bureaucracy and its hold on UVa’s President to let readers get an idea of both its scope and its penetration of the University. Continue reading

African-Americans the Main Victims of Virginia Crime Wave

by James A. Bacon

The Virginia State Police has published its 2021 Crime in Virginia report, and the big news — that homicides and violent crime continued their two-year surge — seemed not to pique much interest in the mainstream media. To be sure, the television stations, where crime news is a staple, and the Virginia Mercury did give the report perfunctory notice, so give those outlets some credit. But the majors — The Washington Post, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Virginian-Pilot, and Virginia Public Media — ignored it altogether.

Here is the data released yesterday that Virginia’s organs of “social justice” propaganda have not deemed important enough for same-day coverage:

  • 562 homicides were reported in 2021, up from 528 the previous year, and 428 the year before that.
  • 17,993 violent crimes of all types were reported in 2021, up from 16,823 the previous year, and 15,713 the year before that.

Virginia, like the nation, is in the grip of a violent crime wave, even as changes in laws and law-enforcement policy have cut the number of drug-related arrests by half over two years. Remarkably, despite the media’s obsession with finding racial disparities in all walks of life, no outlet — not one — has taken note of the disparities in the race of the assault and homicide victims. Continue reading

Virginia’s New Race-and-Healthcare Dogma

Colin Greene. Photo credit:

by James A. Bacon

It is now outside the bounds of acceptable discourse in Virginia to question the proposition that “structural” racism accounts for health disparities between racial/ethnic groups.

Virginia’s new health commissioner, Colin Greene, has been called on the carpet for expressing the view that racism is not a public health crisis and, in particular, as The Washington Post summarizes his views, for saying that he was not convinced that structural racism causes higher rates of maternal and infant mortality among African Americans.

Members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus have declared themselves “outraged,” and members of the Virginia Board of Health have reprimanded him for publicly questioning “basic scientific facts regarding disparities.”

It did not take long for the Youngkin administration to cave. In a letter to Department of Health employees, Greene issued a groveling apology: “I am fully aware that racism at many levels is a factor in a wide range of public health outcomes and disparities across the Commonwealth and the United States.”

The science, it appears, is settled. Virginia’s political-pundit class — in this case, Black legislators, political appointees to the Board of Health, and a Washington Post essayist masquerading as a reporter — now arbitrates what the “science” says. No one is allowed to question it. With Greene’s capitulation, structural racism as a cause of health disparities  now can be considered Old Dominion dogma. Continue reading

Chinese, Hindu, Jewish Groups File Brief Supporting TJ families

Editor’s note: This column was published June 21.

by Asra Q. Nomani

Today, a diverse coalition of seven organizations representing parents and students from the Hindu, Jewish and Chinese communities, as well as others, filed an amicus brief — aptly named a brief by friends — supporting the families of Coalition for TJ as they fight to end the anti-Asian racism in Fairfax County Public Schools’ new admissions process to one of America’s top high schools, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, or TJ.

In February, in a lawsuit, Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board, U.S. federal judge Claude Hilton ruled the new admissions policy is “patently unconstitutional” because it discriminates against Asian students in an obvious effort to increase the number of Black and Hispanic students at the school. The school board removed a race-blind, merit-based exam to the school in December 2020 and replaced it, in a “rushed” process, the judge ruled, with a subjective admissions process.

Fairfax County Public Schools, dubbed #UnFairfax by parents, is filing an appeal in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Pacific Legal Foundation, representing the Coalition for TJ, has filed its arguments why the ruling is correct. Oral arguments are expected in September. Fourth Circuit judges already indicated they are biased toward the school system, allowing them to continue the unconstitutional admissions process this past spring. If the Coalition for TJ loses the appeal, it will likely appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will next fall hear a similar case alleging anti-Asian bias by Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Why does all of this matter? This case raises questions about whether Asian families can expect equality under the law in America, as school systems pursue “equity” plans that discriminate against Asian students. Continue reading