Herring Still Campaigning on Racial Justice Issues

Attorney General Mark Herring wants to be the next governor of Virginia, which means he first must win the Democratic Party nomination. Despite confessing several months ago that he once wore blackface as a college student, he has put race front and center in his bid for the state’s top office. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Last year Herring launched his gubernatorial bid on the proposition that a crescendo of white supremacist hate crimes warranted new hate crime legislation. The bills he favored got nowhere in the General Assembly. But he’s back, participating yesterday in a Loudoun County forum on how to counter racial inequities such as the lack of judicial diversity, offensive highway names, and how to quickly remove Confederate monuments, according to WJLA.

Are those really the top concerns of Virginia’s African-Americans? Not jobs? Not education? Not health care? I guess we’ll find out whether a white man cranking up the volume on symbolic but inflammatory racial issues is a winning political formula in today’s Democratic Party.

On matters of substance, Herring raised the point that of the 410 judges on Virginia circuit court, 50 are African American. That’s 12% compared to 20% of the population. What is to be done? If he had any remedies, WJLA did not report them.

Here’s a figure that Herring did not mention: Only 5% of attorneys nationally are African-American, according to the American Bar Association. (I could not find figures for the Virginia bar.) Relative to the number of African-Americans in the pool of potential judges, one could say that African-Americans are over represented in Virginia. The problem is that the legal profession is predominantly white and has been more or less forever, and given the predominantly white supply of new lawyers, the percentages are not likely to change anytime soon.

Raising the percentage of African-American jurists in Virginia confronts what is known as the “pipeline” problem. African-Americans are under-represented in the legal profession because they are under-represented in the law school population. African-Americans are under-represented in the law school population because they are under-represented in the college population. They are under-represented in the college population because they are under-represented among high school graduates. They are under-represented among high school graduates because… well, there it starts getting complicated. We can argue endlessly over how to apportion blame between institutional racism, dysfunctional schools, social pathologies arising from poverty, and a multitude of other possible causes.

If Herring has something serious to say about the pipeline issue or the high African-American dropout rate, I’m all ears. Personally, I believe that we need to address the problem at the source, and that the “source” of the problem precedes high school. Ultimately, if we want to improve cognitive development and educational achievement in all races, we must address how children are raised and enculturated in the family as infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Unless Herring is willing to endorse the idea of race-based quotas for the judiciary, law schools, and/or colleges — which, as far as I know, he has not — kvetching about the racial imbalance in the judiciary accomplishes nothing,

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14 responses to “Herring Still Campaigning on Racial Justice Issues

  1. Hell, Herring would gladly support a tax increase to pay high school teachers more and to have smaller class sizes. Fairfax County residents, open your wallet.

    The Asshat was the one who wore blackface. He’s the one who needs to wear sackcloth and ashes. Why doesn’t he announce that he needs to make amends for his earlier behavior and will spend the next six year years doing so, at which time, he may run for governor? There are plenty of Democrats who didn’t wear blackface and could run for governor in 2021. And even if some did wear blackface, the Washington Post will endorse them anyway. Heck, you can commit rape and be endorsed for President twice, so long as you are a Democrat. Ask Bill Clinton.

    This all about saving Herring’s own career.

  2. “Ultimately, if we want to improve cognitive development and educational achievement in all races, we must address how children are raised and enculturated in the family as infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.”

    Jim here raises one of the great questions, and failings, of our times.

    We can delve deeply into this question here on Bacon’s Rebellion, and hence contribute to the solving of this long chronic problem.

    Along the way too we counter Virginia Attorney General Herring’s continuing efforts to demagogue the problem, inflame and distort of the problem for cheap votes, instead of solving problems for kids.

  3. Hey, I’d vote for the GOP in a heartbeat if I felt they actually had real ideas and solutions to deal with racial injustice, the “pipeline”, jobs, education and health care.

    So what would the GOP actually propose to do in response to racial injustice, health care, education and “pipeline”?

    It’s not like these issues suddenly popped-up or that the GOP has not been around long enough to do something besides blame the Dems and the Washington Post, et al.

    Vote for us – We won’t do a damn thing other than make it much worse – that’s why all we could offer was Corey Stewart!

  4. And my question remains: Don’t the Democrats have a better candidate than one who wore blackface in college? I bet Chap Petersen never wore blackface period. Why is it apparently critical for the Democratic Party to participate in the “rehabilitation” of Herring, rather than try to push him aside?

    • “Why is it apparently critical for the Democratic Party to participate in the “rehabilitation” of Herring, rather than try to push him aside?”

      From what I’ve observed, the main person in the Democratic Party trying to rehabilitate Herring… is Herring.

    • I’m content to let the Dems put forth who they think the voters will accept (or not) but in terms of basic ideas like health care – I look at the Dems overall (blackface or not) and I look at the GOP – and I see nothing from the GOP to REALLY HELP folks on health care. The GOP, quite clearly, if they are unfettered, will wipe out preexisting conditions protections as their “solution” to the cost of health care. In other words, only the young and healthy will get affordable health care, Anyone who is older are sicker will not and will be abandoned.

      That seems to be the GOPs basic premise absent anything else I’ve heard from them like the blather about requiring transparency of prices – none of that will help if you cannot get insurance .. if would be like saying cars are cheap – but you can get insurance for them.

  5. “Herring raised the point that of the 410 judges on Virginia circuit court, 50 are African American. That’s 12% compared to 20% of the population.”
    Which proves nothing!!!!
    Blacks make up a huge proportion of top athletes in some sports. Think football and basketball… which also btw pay way better than judgeships.
    Read some of Thomas Sowell’s books if you want to see all sorts of statistics on disparities of representation in various activities by various races.

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  8. I think when blacks are under-represented in the Criminal Justice system as judges at the same time they are over-represented in prisons – is not the same issue as them being “over-represented” in sports – ESPECIALLY if we look back to the time where they were not even allowed in white guy sports… that got “fixed” but there are other things like judges and prisons that have not been “fixed” .

    It’s not that some race or group is over or under “represented” – it’s by how much and whether government policies have played a role in it – that matters more.

  9. just to add to the issue – this from Pew Polling – conflicting views?

  10. and this one:

  11. Way back when I was a law student, one of my more left-wing friends made an eloquent speech in a class about the need for more law students for under-represented groups to the point of requiring quotas. The professor, no conservative, asked my friend to explain how, under her preferred system of quotas for under-represented groups would she propose to handle applicants of groups that were over-represented in law schools and in the bar. Should a quota be placed on those groups to prevent over-representation was the question? And absent caps, wouldn’t other groups be underrepresented in law schools and the bar?

    After a bit of hemming and hawing (which most of us would have done), my friend argued that there should be no caps on any groups but only floors. She did not address the impact on other groups.

    I write this not to be critical of my classmate but rather, simply to show how, like Northam and Herring, the elite often want others to pay the costs of creating the desired result.

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