Category Archives: Race and race relations

Vitamin D and COVID-19

by Carol J. Bova

Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a higher  likelihood of contracting the coronavirus. In combination with other Vitamin D research, the results may point the way to a quick and inexpensive way to reduce COVID-19 deaths among African-Americans and Hispanics.

David Meltzer, MD, Ph.D, lead author of the article published September 3rd in JAMA Network Open, discussed their findings on a University of Chicago Medicine website. “Vitamin D is important to the function of the immune system and vitamin D supplements have previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections. Our statistical analysis suggests this may be true for the COVID-19 infection.”

Another study from Spain, published August 29, had test and control groups well-matched for age, sex, comorbidities and clinical indications of COVID-19 severity. In the control group, 50% were admitted to ICU and two died. In addition to the same drugs given to the control group, the test group was given calcifediol, a vitamin D analog, which increases vitamin D levels in the body. The test group had no deaths and only 2% had to be admitted to the ICU. Continue reading

Institutionalizing the Leftist Dogma on Race

by James A. Bacon

Last month Governor Ralph Northam announced the roll-out of a high school elective course on African American history. Sixteen school divisions are offering the course this fall.

Last year, the governor had directed the Virginia Department of Education, Virtual Virginia, WHRO Public Media, and a committee of historians to develop the course. Now complete, the course surveys African American history from precolonial Africa, the transatlantic slave trade, and American slavery through the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights era to the present. States the Governor’s press release. “Students will learn about African American voices, including many not traditionally highlighted, and their contributions to the story of Virginia and America.”

That sounds anodyne enough. But this quote from Secretary of Education Atif Qarni hints at the ideological underpinnings of the course: “We can expect young Virginians to understand the enduring impacts of systemic racism only when they fully understand both the oppression experienced by African Americans and their significant contributions to STEM, the arts, education, law, and advocacy.” Continue reading

Race Still Unknown in One of Five COVID Cases

by Carol J. Bova

On July 27th, Bacon’s Rebellion asked the question, “Why is VDH Stockpiling Cases as Unknown Race”? The Northam administration had expressed concerns since March about the disparity of racial impacts from COVID-19. Yet 24% of confirmed cases at that time still had not been classified by race or ethnicity.

More than a month later, that percentage has barely budged. Between Aug. 1 and Sept. 5, 19% of COVID-19 cases had no racial or ethnic identifier.

On August 26, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) discussed on its COVID-19 blog why the missing information is important and announced a new method to address the problem.

Good information on disparities in disease incidence, outcomes, and social and economic consequences, is necessary to guide and develop an appropriate response. However, efforts to study these disparities have been hampered by missing data. Almost a quarter of confirmed cases are missing race and ethnicity data. Accounting for this missing data is essential to understanding COVID-19 and to facilitate research into health disparities. Social Epidemiologists from the Office of Health Equity used imputation techniques to estimate race and ethnicity for cases missing that data.

The blog post described the process used to estimate the racial composition of COVID-19 cases that were not originally reported and showed the results. Although VDH will continue to use unimputed data on the Daily Dashboard, staff from VDH Surveillance and Investigations will post new results of the imputed numbers for research purposes as they are calculated. Continue reading

“A People’s History” and its Role in Progressive Rage

by James C. Sherlock

A People’s History of the United States

In pursuit of an understanding of the sources of so much nihilistic rage by some of America’s young people in the streets, I recently read Howard Zinn’s book, ‘A People’s History of the United States’, originally published in 1980. It has sold more than 2.5 million copies. At 729 pages it is a heavy lift.  

It’s genre is specified as non-fiction – history. We’ll see.

It is assigned in high school and college classrooms to teach students that American history is an endless rosary of oppression, slavery, and exploitation, hoping to establish truth by early and repeated assertion, after which the case is closed.

Zinn’s book, first published in 1980, is perhaps the most famous American history textbook ever written, and certainly the most pessimistic. His goal was to change the way Americans saw their own history by writing his interpretation of the perspective of those not discussed in most histories.  

Remember that in 1980, the type of proud Marxist that Zinn represented could still see in the Soviet Union and Cuba models they admired and thought most surely would succeed.  

Fair enough. He is entitled to his ideals. And certainly America historically has struggled to achieve the goals so clearly laid out in founding documents. Slavery will always be a stain. But those truths were explored by historians long before 1980.  

Any objective historian when discussing the shortfalls in 500 years of American history must explain why America has lasted so long, accomplished so much, is the freest land on the planet and is still the place where the world’s strivers want to come and stay. 

So what does Mr. Zinn’s book do, how does it do it and why?

Continue reading

Voters Oppose Contracts That Protect Bad Cops

By Steve Haner

As yet another bitter conflict over a police officer’s use of deadly force divides America, this time a case in Wisconsin, Virginia’s General Assembly forges ahead with opening up the state to the police unions that usually rush to protect their members from discipline or dismissal.

The Kenosha Professional Police Association was quick with its call for everybody to step back and let that investigation proceed. That is a fairly balanced statement, but then it put out a statement defending the officers’ behavior that ended with an entire clip emptied into somebody’s back.  Unions advocate for their members.

Among all the bills introduced in the General Assembly’s special session response to these cases are a handful seeking to prevent some of the worst problems seen when unions stand up for bad cops. One is already defeated, but two are languishing in a House committee, where they may or may not be heard. All three have Republican sponsors.

A poll conducted for the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy two weeks ago indicates they would have public and bipartisan support. The poll over-sampled Black Virginians, to be sure enough were called to give credence to that cross tabulation. Their support was in line with all Virginians.

To be specific:

Continue reading

Reform K-12 Education to Increase Diversity in Virginia’s Colleges — and in Life

by James C. Sherlock

Much is appropriately made of the relative lack of diversity in Virginia’s state-supported colleges and universities. Some trace that exclusively to racial discrimination. My research indicates it may also reflect the educational disadvantages of being poor.  

Here I will offer a path to begin to fix both.

I have researched and written a good bit about the wide variations in K-12 student SOL pass rates among Virginia’s poorest school districts. See Rev 1 Reading and Math Virginia 2018-2019 SOL results by State and Division by Subject by Subgroup.

Some students, parents and school districts in Virginia’s poorest communities exhibit extraordinary success in those standardized tests across all races and among economically disadvantaged students. That success is measured not against other poor districts, but among districts statewide.  

Continue reading

Trees, Temperatures and Racism

by James A. Bacon

The New York Times has drawn a straight-line linkage between the redlining of neighborhoods in Richmond nearly a hundred years ago and the fact that African-American neighborhoods have higher average temperatures than mostly white neighborhoods. Black neighborhoods, often comprised of public housing, have fewer trees “to shield people from the sun’s relentless glare.” Writes the NYT of Richmond’s Gilpin Court housing project:

More than 2,000 residents, mostly Black, live in low-income public housing that lacks central air conditioning. Many front yards are paved with concrete, which absorbs and traps heat. The ZIP code has among the highest rates of hear-related ambulance calls in the country.

There are places like Gilpin Court all over the United States where neighborhoods can be 5 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter in summer than wealthier, white parts of the city, the Times says.

And there’s growing evidence that this is no coincidence. In the 20th century, local and federal officials, usually white, enacted policies that reinforced racial segregation in cities and diverted investment away from minority neighborhoods in ways that created large disparities in the urban heat environment.

It’s certainly true that there was redlining in the 1930s, and the NYTimes makes a good case that many of the redlined neighborhoods remain predominantly African-American today. Trouble is, when you interpret everything through the lens of race, every disparity looks like a racial inequity. Continue reading

Virginia Educational Reform – Place, Class, Race — Or All Three?

by James C. Sherlock

I am an optimist by nature. Optimism wins elections, and optimism can bring about democratic change.  

Governments at their most basic level are created by people to protect themselves from outsiders and to minimize conflicts within their own ranks. From a condo association to Congress, that is a core role.   

I believe that representative government is the only form of democracy that scales and the form most likely to protect the weak. I believe in the rule of law and in traditions and institutions as stabilizing forces. I defend the individual rights embedded in our constitution.

I believe our republic needs to help Americans ensure they and theirs are secure in the basic necessities of life and their are children educated. Call me a class theorist. People of good character can and do get in fierce arguments about what constitute the basic necessities of life and whether assistance should be couched as a helping hand or a new bill of rights.  

I believe that self reliance is a core value of America. So is compassion. I support a policy of writing checks to help the disadvantaged in a crisis, but long-term policies that help them pull themselves up. There is dignity in that. People need dignity.

I oppose a distorted rationalism that seeks to put every responsibility on government and a rationalist government that inevitably settles on picking favorites and attacking religion. 

I regret the cascading failure of the regional newspapers as perhaps the biggest internal threat to representative government in my lifetime.

On June 17, 2020 in Areo magazine , Gabriel Scorgie wrote: Continue reading

Will “Racial Healing” at GMU Foster More Racial Division?

by James A. Bacon

The progressives’ imposition of identity politics on Virginia’s public universities continues apace. Hans Bader has already called attention to a July announcement by George Mason University’s new president, Gregory Washington, of a “Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence.”

None of Virginia’s media outlets seem to have paid attention. Your humble correspondent decided to take a closer look at what is going on at GMU.

As Washington acknowledged in announcing the task force, GMU “enters this national conversation with an admirable track record as a pace-setter of action for racial justice and truth-telling about our own past.” He cited the establishment of the Trust, Racial Healing and Transformation campus center, the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution (“one of the nation’s very few schools dedicated to social justice and peace”) and the Enslaved People project to “fell the full truth of our university’s namesake.” He also noted that GMU hosts “Virginia’s largest and most diverse university student body.”

But that’s not enough. The new task force will dig deeper, addressing: Continue reading

The Tell Tale Heart: Racism in Richmond Medicine

By Peter Galuszka

On Saturday, May 25, 1968, the Medical College of Virginia, now part of Virginia Commonwealth University, made medical history.  A surgeon recruited from Stanford University a couple of years before successfully transplanted the heart from one middle-aged man to another.

MCV officials in Richmond officials were ecstatic. Organ transplants were a hot, fairly new surgical procedure. Once stuck in the junior varsity leagues of medical training and research, MCV was basking in glory from media coverage.

There was one peculiarity that no one seemed to notice. The name of the heart donor was missing. As it turned out, the donor was Bruce Tucker, a Richmond Tucker happened to be African-American.

Tucker had suffered a serious brain injury from a fall the day before. He was taken to MCV. Hospital officials made a perfunctory search for his relatives. Tucker’s brother was desperately looking for him and his business card was in Bruce’s pocket. No one found it.

So, after Bruce was pronounced dead, his heart was removed and placed in the chest of Richard G. Klett, a white business executive from Orange. This shocking story is well documented in a highly readable book by Richmond author and journalist Chip Jones that has been just published by an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Tucker’s brother finally located hospital officials who started talking about an autopsy and that he needed to find a funeral director. Continue reading

Woke War on America’s No. 1 High School

by Asra Q. Nomani

Last month, Suparna Dutta spent countless hours researching how her son could safely return to school this fall as a rising sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a sprawling campus of classrooms, laboratories and open spaces with names like “Gandhi Commons” and “Einstein Commons,” outside the nation’s capital here off Braddock Road. Little did she know that a secretive “task force” assembled by orders of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was quietly meeting to discuss legislating radical changes to the school that would threaten the very future of the school.

Unbeknownst to Dutta — and me, also a TJ mother — Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni, a former teacher, met remotely on Friday, July 24, with a carefully curated list of Democratic lawmakers, state education officials and others in a “Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Group” to make recommendations to the Virginia State Legislature on how to increase the number of Black, Hispanic and low-income students at the state’s 19 Governor’s Schools, specialized public school programs with admissions requirements. The group met again on Friday, July 31, and last week on Friday, August 7, and is expected to issue its recommendations in the coming days.

In its final meeting last week, the group weighed several options that would gut TJ’s merit-based, race-blind admissions process and replace it with standards that they even admitted in their private meetings would essentially be race-based. They are expected this week to issue several recommendations to the Virginia General Assembly before it convenes in special session next week, including: quotas from every middle school in the county (to boost acceptance from certain middle schools with underrepresented minorities); a second-step lottery in the admissions process; and an admissions bump for students with “socioeconomic disadvantage” (also a backdoor way to increase underrepresented minorities). Continue reading

Northam’s “Anti-Asian, Anti-Immigrant” School Initiative

Thomas Jefferson High School

by James A. Bacon

More than 1,500 parents, students and alumni of the prestigious Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology have petitioned Governor Ralph Northam to halt the “secretive and bigoted, anti-Asian, anti-immigrant effort” to substitute race-based admissions for the meritocratic admissions criteria now in place.

The petitioners accuse Secretary of Education Atif Qarni of using Thomas Jefferson and other elite Governor’s schools around the state as a “Petri dish for experiments in social engineering.” They share the goal of increasing the number of black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students at “TJ,” as the Fairfax-based science and technology school is known, but not through the use of “short-sighted race-based solutions.”

The school created a furor this summer when it publicly released the admissions statistics for the entering class. Seventy-three percent were classified as Asian, 18% as white, 6% as multiracial and other (including black) and 3% Hispanic. Continue reading

UVa Task Force Doubles Down on “Anti-Racism”

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia’s Racial Equity Task Force has released its final report, recommending 12 initiatives to promote “systemic change” and racial equity, and it’s everything you’d expect it to be. Reflecting the blinkered thinking of the academic Left, the report provides a lot of navel-gazing, virtue-signaling and window dressing while doing nothing to change the power structure at UVa or address the underlying causes of racial disparities in Virginia.

The task force proposes investing hundreds of millions of dollars toward equity initiatives, committing to “represent Virginia” in its study body demographics, hiring more minority faculty, and providing “anti-racism education” to all members of the University community. In contemporary academic parlance, “anti-racism” ideology insists that white privilege and white fragility underlie a system of white supremacy and must be extirpated. In other words, adopting these recommendations would place UVa among the institutions that replace critical thinking about race, poverty and justice with Leftist dogma.

Nothing in the report, “Audacious Future: Commitment Required,” alludes to the high and increasing cost of attending UVa, the practices driving the increasing costs, or the burden those costs impose upon all lower-income students of whatever color. Nothing in the recommendations would threaten the mechanisms by which UVa transfers wealth from tuition-paying students to faculty and staff in the form of greater pay, perks and prestige. The proffered solution is to paper over the high costs by steering more academic aid to minority students. Continue reading

Law School Deans Ask for Mandated Anti-Racism Training

University of Virginia law school dean Risa Goluboff

by Hans Bader

As lawyers like Barack Obama have noted, law school is already a year too long, with lots of nonessential classes. As a result, law students often graduate with over $150,000 in student-loan debt. Yet law students may soon be required to take more unnecessary classes.

One hundred and fifty law school deans have asked the American Bar Association to require that “every law school provide training and education around bias, cultural competence, and anti-racism.” These include the deans at the University of Virginia, the University of Richmond, and the College of William & Mary.

In their letter, the deans argue that “preparing law students to be lawyers requires that they should be educated with respect to bias, cultural awareness, and anti-racism. Such skills are essential parts of professional competence, legal practice, and being a lawyer. … We are in a unique moment in our history to confront racism that is deeply embedded in our institutions, including in the legal profession.” Continue reading

Everyone Has the Capacity to Be Great

The following post republishes an excerpt from B.K. Fulton’s new book, “The Tale of the Tee: Be Kind and Just Believe.” Fulton, an African-American Christian,  entrepreneur and philanthropist, co-wrote the book with Jonathan Blank, who is Jewish, a lawyer and an activist. The two men did not know each other prior to June 14, 2020. A single act of kindness began an e-mail thread that provides the basis of this book. — JAB

by B.K. Fulton

What can we learn from [the] people who change the world for the better in spite of the obstacles? What their work tells me is that the real genius in the world is in recognizing the genius in others. My hypothesis is that we all have the capacity to be great. God distributes talent generously throughout our species and all of us get to have the life we are willing to work for. It is in our naked self-interest to invest in everyone – every girl and every boy on the planet – because we have no idea where the cure for ALS is coming from. We have no idea where the cure for cancer is coming from. We have no idea where the cure for Alzheimer’s is coming from. What we do know for sure is that the cures that will help your family and mine are randomly distributed somewhere out there in the world. What we do know for sure is that the cure we need right now might just be [reading this message]. What we do know for sure is that the antidote for all that ails us is YOU. I challenge you to decide to be GREAT. Because if a person on the margins can achieve at the highest levels, what is our excuse for dabbling in mediocrity? Continue reading