Category Archives: Race and race relations

Virginia’s First Anti-Racists

Maybe it’s not so surprising that Black students in Wise County schools out-perform their racial counterparts in Loudoun County (see previous post) when you consider that far Southwest Virginia was the first region of the Old Dominion to integrate — years before Civil Rights legislation was enacted. Frank Kilgore, a long-time coalfields booster, sent two photos as evidence. The first, above, shows the first integrated Little League team in the South — Norton, Va., 1951. Continue reading

VMI Officer Commissions Among Minorities

Amazon Donates CRT Book to Arlington Schools

Ibram Kendi

by Hans Bader

Amazon donated hundreds of copies of a racist, error-filled book by a critical race theorist to Arlington County public schools. In doing so, the Seattle-based company helped poison young minds and taught high-school students falsehoods about America’s history and politics. It did this at the urging of a school official in Arlington.

The Free Beacon reports that “Amazon spent $5,000 to distribute hundreds of copies” of “Ibram X. Kendi’s book ‘Stamped’ to Virginia public school students.”  The “key concept” Kendi teaches is that society needs to discriminate against whites to make up for past discrimination against blacks. Kendi says, “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” Kendi once wrote an op-ed suggesting that white people are aliens from outer space.

Amazon, which is building its East Coast headquarters in Arlington, donated the copies of Kendi’s book after “Amazon employees reached out to Arlington Public Schools as part of ‘NeighborGood,’ a program to donate $100,000 to schools and other institutions that ’empower black voices and serve black communities.’” Continue reading

More Jumbled Thinking about Healthcare and Race

by James A. Bacon

The lead story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch today focuses on the findings from a new Virginia Commonwealth University study: “Life expectancy in the U.S. sees largest drop since 1943, ‘jolting’ decline for Black people and Latinos.”

The average life of Blacks fell 3.25 years and of Latinos by almost four years. The reasons? COVID was a contributing factor, of course. But according to the RTD article the underlying cause is systemic racism.

The article is an incoherent jumble of factoids and non sequiturs. Black mothers are more likely to die in pregnancy-related deaths…. Black infants have the highest mortality rates in the U.S…. Segregation from Jim Crow housing policies… Housing and job insecurity… Accidental overdoses and homicides… Actor Chadwick Boseman’s death from colon cancer at age 43… “In [Richmond’s] Mosby Court, a public housing community, the average life span is 68. Less than 6 miles away, a person born in the primarily white and affluent Windsor Farms neighborhood will live an average of 84 years.”

Not explained is how those factors, which are persistent through time, made disparities worse during the COVID epidemic. Not mentioned is the fact that a person born in a predominantly Hispanic or Asian neighborhood is likely to live longer than Whites and Blacks alike! Continue reading

Social Engineers Notch a Big Win at TJ High School

by James A. Bacon

The racial bean counters won the battle over admissions to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Revisions to the admissions policy at the elite high school, one of the highest-rated public schools in the country, have boosted the percentage of offers to Hispanic and Black students in the fall — largely at the expense of Asian students.

Of the 550 slots available at TJ, 11% will go to Hispanic students and 7% to Black students. In previous years, the percentage of Hispanic students receiving offers varied between 1% and 2%, while the percentage for Blacks was typically 1% or 2%.

White students received 22% of the offers, compared to 17% and 22% over the past four years, essentially unchanged. Asian students, who previously accounted for 65% to 75% of offers, received only 54%.

“These kids are going to be more equipped, with their diverse backgrounds and stories, to really bring a holistic look at the power of science and technology to improve our country and our world,” said Fairfax County Schools Superintendent Scott Braband, as reported by The Washington Post.

Fairfax has “broken the hearts of many deserving students,” the Coalition for TJ, an organization of parents defending the old standards, countered on Twitter. “We lament the war on Asians launched by Fairfax County Public Schools.” Continue reading

Yes, Virginia, There Is Critical Race Theory In Our Schools

by Elizabeth Schultz

School districts across Virginia have been expending resources, directing staff time, and hiring consultants to address “equity” in curriculum delivery and for professional development of teachers and other employees. Fairfax and Loudoun County, the two largest counties in the Commonwealth, have set the lead in driving the changes in education and embracing critical race theory and “anti-bias” in their respective divisions.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) pushes the distorted concept that the most important thing about a person is his or her race. It divides people by those who are “minoritized” and those who are “privileged” and “oppressors,” advancing Marxist ideology that, by default, all interactions are derived from racism, our history and nation is built on racism, and all inequities are, yes, ascribed to racism. The color of one’s skin defines whether they are racist, not their beliefs or actions.

As a result, to undo the professed mantle of inherent racism in all aspects of society, CRT demands “diversity, equity, and inclusion”, addressing “justice”, and, according to activists like Ibrahm X. Kendi, the Center for Antiracist Research director at Boston University, requires people to become “anti-racist.” Continue reading

Charlottesville: Where All the Children Are Above Average

by James A. Bacon

Virginia has its very own Lake Wobegon, Garrison Keiller’s fictional Minnesota community where “all the children are above average.” According to a presentation made to the Charlottesville School Board last week, students in the City of Charlottesville aren’t just “above average” — they’re way above average. Indeed, the city’s public school system has identified 86% of the city’s students as “gifted,” according to the Daily Progress.

The 86%-gifted finding is all the more remarkable when you consider the fact that only half (50%) of Charlottesville public school students passed their English Standards of Learnings (SOL) exams in the 2018-19 school year, and only 20% qualified as “advanced.”

The state requires school systems to screen, refer and identify students for gifted education. The gifted label allows students to to attend summer residential governor’s schools. Gifted students also are given enrichment lessons and activities. Continue reading

Do Fatal Police Shootings Indicate Racism?

Sources: “Crime in Virginia 2020” and The Washington Post.

by James A. Bacon

As protesters marched in many Virginia cities last year in protest of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., many Virginia politicians suggested that the kind of police abuses occurring in other states were endemic here in Virginia. The General Assembly enacted numerous laws to reduce mass incarceration and curtail perceived police abuses. All the protests and lawmaking occurred in a factual vacuum, however. Was there any truth to the proposition that Blacks were more likely than Whites to be killed by police here in Virginia? Is law enforcement in Virginia “systemically racist”? No one provided any data to confirm or falsify the proposition.

Data does exist. The Virginia State Police published Monday its “Crime in Virginia 2020” report. The report devotes a section to officer-involved shootings, of which there were 13 resulting in fatalities and 19 in injuries. The report does not identify the race of the police shooting victims, but by cross-referencing the published information with the Washington Post police shootings database, I was able to identify the race/ethnicity of 12 of the 13 men (they were all men) killed by police. Six were White, four Black, one Hispanic, and one Asian.

Do those numbers support the conclusion that police are more likely to resort to deadly violence against Blacks than Whites? It depends on what you use as your yardstick for comparison. Continue reading

Stop Asian Hate? What Hate?

Mark Herring: “The rise in violence and hate against Asian-Americans has to stop.”

by James A. Bacon

Asian Americans living in Virginia have been able to rest easier since March knowing that Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring has entered the the battle against anti-Asian hate crimes. Not only did he set up a website, NoHateVa, in which he proclaimed, “The rise in violence and hate against Asian Americans has to stop,” he even led a discussion with attorneys general from other states on how to halt the epidemic.

Asian Americans might derive even more comfort from the fact that the Stop-Asian-Hate meme is a figment of Herring’s fevered imagination.

The Crime in Virginia 2020 report, published by the Virginia State Police, indicates that Virginians of Asian ancestry are far less likely to be crime victims than Whites or Blacks. Only six Asians were victims of hate crimes based on their race last year in Virginia — out of a population of roughly 440,000. I suppose Herring could claim that that represents a 20% increase!!!! from 2019, when there were only five such victims, but when the odds of being the victim of a hate crime are one out of 70,000, an increase of one additional incident won’t keep many Asians hiding in their basements. (Five other Asians were victims of hate crimes, but not because of their race.) Continue reading

The Fix Was In: Burying the Athlete Issue

VMI heroes. (Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch)

by James A. Bacon

Ascertaining the state of race relations is a tricky task in these politically polarized times. The job is made all the more difficult at the Virginia Military Institute by a factor that exists few other places: tension between athletes and other students. Athletes enjoy exemptions from participation in parades, inspections and the rigors of the infamous Rat Line that other cadets do not. As it happens, 60% of all African American cadets at VMI are athletes. Does the animus that athletes sometimes feel from their peers stem from racism, a resentment of their privileged status, their perceived lack of commitment to the VMI system, or perhaps all of the above?

VMI rats

The difficulty of disentangling race and athletics emerged as a key issue in the Barnes & Thornburg investigation into racism at VMI. A cadet quoted in the Final Report explained the tension this way: “There is a divide in this school. However, it is not a race divide but a divide between athletes and nonathletes. The athletes do not experience the ratline the way we do, and they get special treatment throughout their cadetship. This leads to them never really becoming a true part of the corp[s] unless they actively seek to do so.” Continue reading

The Fix Was In: Use and Abuse of Survey Data

by James A. Bacon

The Barnes & Thornburg final report into racism at the Virginia Military Institute has done its job of generating loads of negative headlines about the military academy. “Run by White men, for White men,” seems to be the most quotable quote. Predictably, there is no evidence that a single reporter read past the executive summary, which, as I explained yesterday, was a politicized, agenda-driven distillation of the extensive research conducted by investigators who, though not without their biases, painted a complex and nuanced picture of race relations.

The B&T summary conclusion that “racial and gender disparities exist” is based entirely upon the perceptions of a handful of Black VMI cadets. The report cites no documentary evidence of racism on the part of the VMI administration. The problem is alleged to be rooted in “the culture.” Accordingly, the perception of Black cadets, as gleaned in personal interviews and a lengthy anonymous survey, form the basis of B&T’s conclusions.

Here’s what the B&T summary doesn’t tell you: Of the 540 survey responses from cadets, only twelve came from African Americans. (That fact appears only in the appendix.) For most questions, the African-American responses split down the middle — six agreed (strongly or somewhat) with statements supportive of the racism allegations while six disagreed (strongly or somewhat).

Thus, when the B&T executive summary makes statements like this — “according to survey results of current cadets, half of African American cadets strongly or somewhat agree that there is a culture of racial intolerance at VMI” — the finding was based on the responses of six cadets who felt that way — six of 102 African American cadets (2021 enrollment). Continue reading

VMI Investigation Provides Thin Gruel for Racism Allegations

by James A. Bacon

Barnes & Thornburg (B&T), the law firm hand-picked by the Northam administration as an “independent” investigator, has delivered its final report on racism and sexism at the Virginia Military Institute. The report concluded that racial and gender disparities persist in how cadets are treated at the military academy.

VMI’s “culture” reinforces barriers to addressing those disparities, the report says, and as a state-funded institution, VMI must be held accountable to taxpayers and the General Assembly and prove that it is “implementing its diversity, equity, and inclusions (DE&I) proposals.”

Painting a picture based largely on an anonymous survey of cadets, faculty, staff and alumni, supplemented by in-person interviews, Barnes & Thornburg said that racial slurs and jokes are “not uncommon” on post, and that roughly half of the African-Americans cadets feel there is a “culture of racial intolerance” at VMI. Only a small percentage of Whites agreed, but B&T said White responses only point out that “where African Americans experienced racism … Caucasian cadets do not or choose not to see it.”

The VMI investigation highlighted statistical disparities in attitudes, enrollment, and  Honor Code convictions, but the report offers almost no concrete instances of racism. It publishes numerous quotes alleging racism but makes no effort to to investigate those allegations. On the other hand, the report made several major concessions that undercut Governor Ralph Northam’s statement last year in ordering the investigation, based on Washington Post reporting, that racism at VMI was “systemic” and “appalling.” Continue reading

Critical Race Theory in Virginia Beach Schools

The Virginia Beach School Board. Photo credit: The Virginian-Pilot

by Victoria Manning

Critical Race Theorists reject colorblindness and equality and they center their goals on equal outcomes (equity) rather than equal opportunity. Merit-based individualism is replaced with group-think collectivism and the dominant white culture is a privileged oppressor.

What the public doesn’t understand is that CRT is already here in Virginia Beach.

Teachers won’t speak on the record but I have spoken to them about what is really happening in their professional development meetings.

In February, more than 50 elementary school teachers in Virginia Beach participated in a mandatory meeting entitled “Advancing Equity Through Continuous Reflection.” In the meeting, a video told the teachers that “One of the most freeing things that white people can do or any human being on the planet can do right now is to say ‘of course I’m racist’. Our society speaks racism. It has spoken racism since we were born. OF COURSE YOU ARE RACIST.” Continue reading

The One-Sided Decision in the Reversion of Martinsville – the Start of a Trend?

by James C. Sherlock

The Martinsville Bulletin, perhaps the best remaining newspaper in the state for local coverage, published a must-read article on the reversion of Martinsville from city to town and joining Henry County.

Overview

Martinsville’s current city logo, above, was perhaps prescient. Martinsville has been hemorrhaging population, losing more than 18% in the past 10 years, and was financially stressed before that loss.

Reversion in Virginia is a one-handed game. The small cities hold all of the cards.

Henry County is vocally opposed but feels helpless to stop it. The Henry County Supervisors voted to skip the legal process to avoid the costs. They called the reversion MOU “the best we could hope for and voted for it to avoid years of court battles”.

They are right  What they avoided was the special court that would have overseen the reversion under Virginia law had they not come to an agreement. The county would have been a defendant in a trial.

The rules for that court specified in that law give the small cities every advantage in a trial. That same special court would have overseen the transition for a decade. Every decision.

The changes reversion portends for city and county residents are massive. Now that his has happened, does anyone think this will be the last reversion? Continue reading

Fredericksburg Incident Exposes Tactical Divide Between Black Activists

Moe Petway. Photo credit: Free Lance-Star

by James A. Bacon

Back in April, Isiah Brown made a 911 call to the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office concerning a domestic dispute. Brown told the dispatcher that he was going to kill his brother but also said he was unarmed. When a deputy arrived, Brown was walking down the street away from his house with an object in his hand. According to body-cam footage, the deputy yelled at Brown to “show me your hands” and to “drop the gun.” He then shot Brown seven times. As it turned out, the object was not a gun but a cordless house phone.

Brown survived the shooting but was hospitalized and has undergone multiple surgeries. A special prosecutor has been assigned to the case, which is still under investigation.

The incident has done more than open up the divide between Black Lives Matter and defenders of the police, it has revealed a divide in the African-American community.

Moe Petway, president of the Spotsylvania Branch of the NAACP, jumped on the case. The NAACP negotiated the release of the video and 911 recording of the shooting and pressed for the investigation and special prosecutor. He has established a working relationship with local law enforcement authorities, he says, that allows the NAACP to accomplish things that street protests cannot. Continue reading