In the Naming Rights Sweepstakes at UVa’s Ed School, A Sophie’s Choice for the Woke

Mao Zedong

by James C. Sherlock

“Sophie’s Choice” is centered on a scene in Auschwitz where Sophie has just arrived with her ten-year old son and her seven-year old daughter. She loves them both equally. A sadistic doctor tells her that she can only bring one of her children; one will be allowed to live while the other is to be killed.

A reader of an earlier post suggested with tongue in cheek that UVa’s School of Education and Human Development be renamed the Marx School of Re-education.

Three currents have reached “intersectionality” (see Wikipedia’s anti-racism glossary) in renaming Virginia’s Ed School: the theorists – Critical Theory, Critical Race Theory –  and the practitioners – the new Cultural Revolution.

It would insult the leadership of the Ed School to call them theorists.

Accused accurately and publicly of “shoddy scholarship” by the Rector of the University, those worthies may consider them elves street fighters leading a cultural revolution, not academics. If so, they will wear the label proudly. The T-shirts write themselves.

If given only two choices similar to those that faced Sophie, UVA’s Committee for Naming must let Marx go and put Mao’s name on the door.

Critical Theory

First let’s look very briefly at critical theory, product of the so-called “Western School” of Marxism that emerged in Frankfort School in the 1930’s.

Critical theory has been taught in American colleges and universities for decades. Critical theory has taken over schools of education, social sciences and the humanities in many universities.

Critical theory  is a social philosophy pertaining to the reflective assessment and critique of society and culture in order to reveal and challenge power structures. With origins in sociology, as well as in literary criticism, it argues that social problems are influenced and created more by societal structures and cultural assumptions than by individual and psychological factors. (It maintains) that ideology is the principal obstacle to human liberation”. …

“Postmodern critical theory analyzes the fragmentation of cultural identities in order to challenge modernist-era constructs such as metanarratives, rationality, and universal truths, while politicizing social problems “by situating them in historical and cultural contexts, to implicate themselves in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and to relativize their findings.”

Critical Theory is intensely pessimistic. It sees nothing worth saving. It rejects the concepts of free will, personal agency and individual rights. Societies must be torn down in order to build anew. And there is only one acceptable way to rebuild them. This profoundly destructive theory remained in the universities until the academics found a way to connect to individual interest groups.

Critical Race Theory

With the development of critical race theory, it has escaped from the academy into the real world and morphed from theory to religion with accompanying dogma.

Critical race theory has created what believers proclaim all right thinking African Americans must think and want.  They try to persuade Black Americans and shame non-black Americans to go along quietly while its most radical adherents create violence to do with fear what cannot be accomplished by persuasion or shame.

While that has been going on, critical race theorists have targeted K-12 education. The critical race theorists in the universities found that they could radicalize students there, but not enough in their view. They decided they had to get to kids before that had absorbed too much of the ideals and world view of their parents, starting in kindergarten. They are accomplishing that in Virginia at a breakneck pace.

The person on Horseback

Marxist communist regimes have been characterized by strong man leaders, includes Stalinism, Maoism, Sandinistaism, the lawless dictatorship of Maduro in Venezuela, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and the Castro dictatorship. Their governance style featured military and radicalized civilian gang units to prevent and break resistance.

Critical race theory currently lacks an acknowledged leader, but there will be no shortage of contenders for the role.

Atif Qarni and Critical Race Theory in Virginia

Consider Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. Qarni ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2013 at the age of 35, losing to incumbent Bob Marshall, and for the Virginia Senate in 2015, losing the Democratic nomination to Jeremy McPike.

At the end of his quest for elective office, he could not get nominated by Democrats. Yet Ralph Northam plucked him from teaching in Dale City and made him Secretary of Education.

Quari is a true believer in and a vocal supporter of critical race theory.

He is the voice behind changes in admissions to the Governors Schools to increase diversity == most famously the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Maggie Walker controversies. He puts our money where his mouth is.

Secretary Qarni accused the opponents of the changes of using “the same rhetoric that was used during ‘Massive Resistance.’” His is critical race theory in tear-down mode. More from that same interview:

If you can do this on your own, great; if not, the state’s coming and we’re going to make the change.”

“About your buy-in question, it’s not just white parents… If you look at it nationally, it’s happening…also with Asian-American parents as well… Because at TJ, the population is 70% Asian. At Maggie Walker, it’s only 25% Asian, but it’s growing.”

“We just have generation after generation after generation of built-up systemic racism; it comes in all different forms. We all are well aware of this, and we have to embrace that there’s a problem that exists. And we have to be proactive and all of us address it. It shouldn’t just fall on the shoulders of African Americans to talk about systemic racism that they’re facing – it’s everybody’s responsibility. So when I have conversations with my Asian-American friends, it’s like look, the very freedoms that you enjoy as immigrants or AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) families, they were done on the sacrifices of a lot of different social justice movements and civil rights movements, generation after generation, that were led by African Americans. And it’s easier for you to assimilate and your experience is very different. So you have to truly understand…what the problem is… it’s race and economics compounded and there’s an intersection of the two.

Systemic racism and intersectionality — the core of Critical Race theory.

In a  related development, the Sacramento Bee reported that The Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center received 1,116 reports of anti-Asian discrimination in California between March and July this year.

Combine Quarni’s new Governor’s School open admission standards and racial quotas with Albemarle County’s new grading system, and every kid will get grades above 3.5 that must not consider doing homework, class participation or actual correct answers on tests, and every school will be a Governor’s School teaching critical race theory.

Everybody will get a trophy. Class size will not be a problem, because students and their parents will accelerate a long path of abandoning Virginia public schools for alternatives.

Until every child is mandated to attend a public school.

Mao’s Cultural Revolution and America’s

I find it useful to consider the similarities and (so far) differences between the Maoist cultural revolution and critical race theory in action. Critical race theorists are attempting with some success to organize a cultural revolution today.

The quotes below are from a short and very useful compendium of different historians’ assessments of Mao’s cultural revolution by Jennifer Dowland, “The Chinese Cultural Revolution: A Historiographical Study,” 2004, Cal Poly Pomona. These quotes from her work will illustrate the similarities between today and China’s Cultural Revolution.

“Mao called for a wave of criticism against “reactionary bourgeois ideology” in 1966. That began the decade-long Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Mao called on students to purge those that had betrayed the revolution. The student revolts that began in Beijing educational institutions quickly led to violence. Libraries were burned to the ground by Red Guards. Anything that was not in line with Marxist-Leninist Mao Zedong Thought was destroyed.”

“Widespread violence was the Cultural Revolution’s most unusual aspect and has become the main definition of this time.”

“… groups of young Chinese, often students as Red Guards, attack(ed) their fellow Chinese with violence and destruction.”

“During the Cultural Revolution, Mao attempted to reduce the gap between the elite and the masses by exploiting the existing social contradictions. … The mass organizations behaved according to their own interests because they had such a stake in the outcome of the Revolution.

“… the authoritarian personality characteristics that the activists learned were powerfully linked to a new system of political socialization that was based in the schools. The decline of the family as a socialization agent was replaced by the authority of the state, and school-learned socialization. The traits the children acquired at home led them to differing experiences.”

(The historian Anita) Chan chose four students (and) … then chronologically described their experiences, beginning with the activists as children in Primary School and concluding with their participation in the movement. She describes how in primary school character formation and political education was most important. As the children became adolescents, their political socialization became more demanding. Education shaped the behavior of teenage students through peer pressures and a strictly controlled social environment.”

In other key respects, Mao’s Cultural revolution was different than today’s, most prominently in:

  • The defied figure of Mao. Today’s cultural revolutionaries do not have a Great Leader;
  • America’s cultural revolutionaries are contending with a society based on individual liberty and personal agency that has been more successful in creating wealth than any history. America’s poor are defined as poor by the metrics of America’s bounty. By those metrics, 2019’s tremendous economic gains benefited the poorest Americans disproportionally to the rest of the nation;
  • COVID and George Floyd’s murder offered revolutionaries what they see as a once in a lifetime opportunity to gain control of the schools. They are making the most of it while Americans are part distracted and part sympathetic to African Americans. But most do not know the details of what is being done to their schools; and
  • Today’s revolutionaries do not control the military. They plan to get there once the new great leader is elected President – perhaps by acclamation of the woke.

The choice by acclamation

So, bottom line, Marx was a theorist and Mao a practitioner. As for renaming Curry, if those were the only two choices, I think they should go with Mao.

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67 responses to “In the Naming Rights Sweepstakes at UVa’s Ed School, A Sophie’s Choice for the Woke

  1. Excellent analysis and excellent choice – Mao reflects the true nature and ideology of today’s former Curry School.

  2. Ya know Captain, you’re going be labeled a curmudgeon if you aren’t careful. Here, let me send you a couple of ball bearings to roll in your hand. Worked for me. Now, where’s that can of strawberries?

    I think Steve has pegged me as a “whoopee we’re all gonna die” humorist. That’s not true. It’s “Oh crap, we might survive this.”

  3. Captain, sir. You are not dealing with a big point. Mao, for better or worse, was trying to build a country no longer dominated by imperialistic interests. His version of Communism was to expedite a poor, agrarian, disorganized country to a modern, industrialized one. Stalin did the same. Actually both were successful at the cost of dozens of millions of people. Your sense of totalitarian education was subservient to this goal. Fail to see what it has to do here and now.

  4. I’m doubtful as to the prospects of CRT spontaneously generating some sort of prophetic Great Leader role — true believers tend to be, like Qarni, overindulged civil servants with a taste of power, or else are downwardly mobile Millennials who keep critical theory in their quivers to play status games on Twitter.

    More likely we’ll see some sort of Business Roundtable-esque corporate politburo which works to coordinate F500 media relations regarding racial politics. Yearly tithing to think tanks and academic foundations has done wonders for corporate PR in an age dominated by nominally “leftist” media professionals, and I doubt that’ll stop anytime soon.


    Pic of the decade right here.

    There’s not an ounce of redemption or revolution in this — just the message that capital accumulation’s PR budget is money well spent. All the correct people agree!

  5. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Captain Sherlock. You ought to watch this video. Former student Victoria Spiotto and current UVA education major gave this speech at the White House today. You can find her remarks at the 31:00 mark. She met the President of the United States and Ben Carson. She was offered 4 different jobs at the White House. The speech is so good and puts the rest of the panel celebrating the Constitution to shame. There are many Victoria’s on the campus of UVA. They have been silenced. You ought to watch this too Mr. Peter. It would be good for you.

  6. If John Calvin was correct about Double Predestination, it’s not hard to figure out what’s in store for Northam.

  7. Since you are discussing totalitarianism and education, why ignore Hitler and the Nazism? They burned books.

    • Just a guess, but I’ll bet that the first book they burned was the Manifesto, too. Ya know, people really need to look at those who are standing next them sometimes.

      “But if you’ve been carrying pictures of Chair….”. Uh wait…

    • Agreed. Socialism and totalitarianism is bad no matter who is forcing it on a populace.

    • Speaking of Nazis…. YEAH VIRGINIA!!

      “More than 8,000 Virginians were operated on between the 1920s and 1970s.
      The state’s programme was said to be the model for the Nazi eugenics policies introduced by Adolf Hitler when he aspired to create a master race.”

      • Yes. All praise to Margaret Sanger!

      • Typical behavior from the plantation elite – asshats like Ralph Northam and his kin.

      • Your article made claims not backed by facts.

        The Nazi eugenics program was inspired by California which by 1933 had conducted more forced sterilizations than all other states combined.

        Your article was about paying restitution yet jumped into something that isn’t fact based, which you dutifully parroted.

        Read the follow text:

        Justice and the Human Genome Project

        Furthermore, you know who was a eugenicist? W.E. B Du Bois

        • And the inning ends tied at 0-0.

          “it remains difficult to establish direct American influence on Nazi legislation. German experts of race hygiene who advised the Nazi government in drafting the sterilization law were well informed about the experiences with similar laws in American states, most importantly in California and Virginia, but there is little evidence to suggest they depended on American knowledge and expertise to draft their own sterilization law. Rather, they adapted a body of thought that was transnational by nature: suggesting that the Nazis’ racial policies can be traced back to American origins over-simplifies the historical record”

          • Oh look you finally found a publication to cite, I’m impressed you figure out how to Google.

            However, it appears you didn’t read passed the word “Virginia”.

            You should also cite the entire abstract when citing a book:

            “This article assesses interactions between American and German eugenicists in the interwar period. It shows the shifting importance and leading roles of German and American eugenicists: while interactions and exchanges between German and American eugenicists in the interwar period were important and significant, it remains difficult to establish direct American influence on Nazi legislation. German experts of race hygiene who advised the Nazi government in drafting the sterilization law were well informed about the experiences with similar laws in American states, most importantly in California and Virginia, but there is little evidence to suggest they depended on American knowledge and expertise to draft their own sterilization law. Rather, they adapted a body of thought that was transnational by nature: suggesting that the Nazis’ racial policies can be traced back to American origins over-simplifies the historical record. Still, the ‘American connection’ of the German racial hygiene movement is a significant aspect of the general history of eugenics into which it needs to be integrated. The similarities in eugenic thinking and practice in the USA and Germany force us to re-evaluate the peculiarity of Nazi racial policies.”

          • Right. So not Virginia NOR California, hence after one inning 0-0 tie game.

            Of course, I defer to your superior Google skills.

          • You mean desire to not look for an echo chamber and articles that play to my own personal beliefs? That’s called learning, and obviously something that you aren’t very good at.

    • You mean Hitler’s National SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY? Why does everybody forget that part? Oh, yeah, that’s why…..

      • But weren’t they “far right”? I would have assumed you were smart enough not to be fooled by the printing on the wrapper.

        • Political ideology isn’t one dimensional. The terminology you’re using dates to the French Revolution.

          The NAZI’s utilized concepts deriving from both sides of the spectrum. The term is also used to demonize an opponent and cease debate, which is explained in Godwin’s Law.

          • And a swing and a miss… count 1 and1

            “Hitler allied himself with leaders of German conservative and nationalist movements, and in January 1933 German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed him chancellor. Hitler’s Third Reich had been born, and it was entirely fascist in character. Within two months Hitler achieved full dictatorial power through the Enabling Act. In April 1933 communists, socialists, democrats, and Jews were purged from the German civil service, and trade unions were outlawed the following month.”


          • Not really you don’t seem to understand the concept you’re trying to discuss (typical).

            The Nazi party had the following views:

            1. Opposed Communist and Social-Democrats, although Hitler’s writings on the matter indicate he wasn’t apposed to Communism and or Stalin.

            “It is now clear beyond all reasonable doubt that Hitler and his associates believed they were socialists, and that others, including democratic socialists, thought so too. The title of National Socialism was not hypocritical. The evidence before 1945 was more private than public, which is perhaps significant in itself. In public Hitler was always anti-Marxist, and in an age in which the Soviet Union was the only socialist state on earth, and with anti-Bolshevism a large part of his popular appeal, he may have been understandably reluctant to speak openly of his sources. His megalomania, in any case, would have prevented him from calling himself anyone’s disciple. That led to an odd and paradoxical alliance between modern historians and the mind of a dead dictator. Many recent analysts have fastidiously refused to study the mind of Hitler; and they accept, as unquestioningly as many Nazis did in the 1930s, the slogan “Crusade against Marxism” as a summary of his views. An age in which fascism has become a term of abuse is unlikely to analyse it profoundly.”

            2. Used minor Right-wing parties to rise to power.
            3. Racism of dominant ethnicity which is considered Right-wing.

            Those are the views that would align them to the right (economic scale) to Political Spectrum if it were merely a single axis, it’s not.

            1. They called themselves socialists, they appealed to the working class and unemployed.
            2. There were against free enterprise Capitalism.
            3. Corporation Ownership was only allowed under their blessing.
            4. Anti-religion, Hitler merely used Christianity as a tool to control people.
            5. Achieved full employment through massive Government programs.
            6. Confiscated others possessions and monies to fund their initiatives.

            Those are the views that would align them to the left (economic scale) to Political Spectrum if it were merely a single axis, it’s not.

            As to further illustrate the right/left dogma you’d need to know it’s origins (y0u obviously do not). As I previously stated it’s origins were the French Revolution. It referred to the seating arrangement in the Estate General.

            Left opposed the monarchy and supported the revolution.
            Right supported the traditional institutions on the Monarchy.

            Now you can throw in the 2 dimension of political ideology.

            Authoritarian and Libertarian the social scale.

            Stalin fascist who championed collectivism. Hitler was a fascist who championed the middle of the road because of the off-setting of his parties views.

            Your article is trash and merely echo’s the views that you already believed.

    • Space.

  8. We have had decades of school textbooks talking about “happy” slaves and don’t recall too much “critical race theory” hysteria over revisionist history and “indoctrination” of the kids…

    • Where did you go to school? I was always taught that slavery was an evil that did not overcome any good treatment of individual slaves.

      • 1972, Virginia performs the last forced sterilization of a legally declared “undesirable” in the United States (unless recent reports prove true).

        So, 1950s for that textbook?

      • The point is that REAL textbooks in schools, for DECADES, generations, basically lied about the history of slavery – in our lifetime…. and as far as I can remember, there was no outrage among society about it – no cries of revisionist history, zippo.

        NOW, it’s like an outrage that we circle back to re-think slavery and the REAL and accurate history of African Americans, and we acknowledge the folks who owned slaves and no longer want their names on buildings that black folks have to use also?


        NOW, it’s “leftist indoctrination” and stealth Marxism and Socialism ? GMAFB

      • Well, unfortunately, the page Mr. Larry posted is from a text book which was used in Virginia Beach public schools to teach 4th grade Virginia History as late as the early 1970’s when I took the class. I am pretty sure it was used state-wide for 4th grade history. I own a complete copy and it is most definitely “soft” on slavery (among other things).

        The Virginia Beach schools stopped using that text book not too long after my 4th grade year – I know it was not used in my younger brother’s 4th grade history class a few years later. My siblings and I were fortunate enough to have parents who guided us towards more realistic descriptions of slavery.

      • As late as the ’70s, the state of Virginia still used the popular textbook Virginia: History, Government, Geography by Francis B. Simkins, Spotswood H. Jones, and Sidman P. Poole, first published in 1957. Its chapter on slavery—“How the Negroes Lived under Slavery”—featured a well-dressed African-American family on board a ship shaking hands with a white man, who is presumed to be the family’s new owner. Here is how it describes slavery:

        Ah, the offending book. Used through the 1960s.

        I thought that picture looked familiar.

        • That was just one part of it. NN is relating other even more disgusting. Schools were named for those who had slaves and defended slavery. Roads, public buildings, Colleges and Universities academic buildings, libraries, dorms, military bases and public squares, and I do not recall a big uprising about it from folks who said they were “concerned” about “indoctrination” and rewriting history and all that stuff.

          What’s going on now can be viewed as overreaction perhaps but the folks who are so upset about it – were you so equally upset about the textbooks and school and road names in the past?

          But now… perhaps, “it’s gone too far”. Maybe so – but perhaps if the folks up in arms now – stepped up when the questions about statues and place names first came up earlier perhaps it would not have gone this far.

          What more than a few African Americans perceive is that things won’t change unless it’s forced – and yes, they got white folks on their side – just like they did when Jim Crow laws were overturned and schools were integrated and the Civil Rights Act passed. All of those changes were vociferously opposed also. The history on that is clear.

          Where were folks back then and where are they now?

          some of the roles have not really changed IMHO.

      • He went to school among the plantation elite. I went to school in Northern Virginia where we abhorred the plantation elite. There are two Virginias – the northern and western areas and the plantation areas of the south and southeast. Richmond is the capital of the plantation elite. That stunted “city” remains a racist enclave full of condescending “upper class” asshats. They see the state as their personal preserve with money for the taking. Sadly, the upper crust Richmond mentality pervades members of The Imperial Clown Show in Richmond from across the state. Stoney, a typical Richmonder, steals money with a statue removal and Eileen Fulla-Crap, a converted Richmonder, does the same.

        Kill the Richmond mentality and save the state.

  9. Curious. This morning I taped by weekly radio show at WTJU, the University of Virginia station. I asked if critical racial theory had figured into the debate over renaming the Curry school. They knew what the concept was but said it hadn’t been much of a factor in renaming. I ran the concept through the Google wash and the only place it seems to be being debated is at conservative outlets like the National Review and, of course, with Trump’s efforts to boost the idea of American exceptionalism and put a happy face on teaching civics. Is there a vacuum or echo chamber here?

    • I’m sure you pressed them real hard in between jokes and lauding of Mao.

      “I ran the concept through the Google wash and the only place it seems to be being debated is at conservative outlets like the National Review and, of course, with Trump’s efforts to boost the idea of American exceptionalism and put a happy face on teaching civics.”

      If you ran it through Google and only found the hits as you describe it further illustrates you are not now nor were you ever an investigative journalist.

      The follow phrase “example of critical race theory in education” yielded the following results, none of them being “National Review”:

      University of Denver:

      Univeristy of Vermont:


      University of Wisconsin:

      I can go on, but it appears you aren’t interested in having an actual conversation or debate (as you would roundly loose).

      There are some echo chambers, you are party of one and you complain about your treatment while taking a blind eye to theirs of other posters.

    • I also doubt they thought deeply about why — they just saw he’d been a Confederate soldier and that was all it took. That alone “cancelled” his reputation on all other fronts. Advocacy for Black education disregarded…. The school was actually named for him because of his legit work in the educational arena, but no matter. Critical race theory is educrat gibberish. I’d rather read a Dominion rate case file than try to wade through the crap that Sherlock seems to devour with joy.

      I’ve been around education all my life. Educrats thrive on the latest fad, the newest version of gibberish. It never amounts to much. Good teachers know how to teach math, reading, spelling, etc. History is a minor and boring subject to most students. Most Americans are woefully ignorant on the subject, left or right. Or believe the Hollywood versions. This too shall pass and a new fad will take hold on their pointy heads.

      • I regularly get calls from UVA and the Biden campaign seeking donations. Hard to say which is more futile. UVA even has a plan where I’d make them a beneficiary in my will. Lol. I send money to Clemson, the University of Tennessee and Penn State. Not a penny goes to UVA.

        • but do you send money to colleges that are messing around with CRT? that would be a sacrilege, right? You better check it out! Snowflakes and Leftists are running amok on a lot of campuses these days.

          • Wake up and smell the coffee. UVA is a cesspool of a college these days. It started with that half-wit Sullivan and has only accelerated with Ryan. Helen Dragas tried to turn the ship away from the libtwit iceburg but was shouted down. Not a penny to the septic tank in Charlottesville. They can fund their next $8m renovation of the president’s house with tax money from the fools in this state willing to fund such absurdities.

      • Steve, this “fad” is dogma. It’s adherents are true believers. The appointed “boards” that vote for it are stacked with believers . Some of the elected boards are currently a mix of believers, those scared into silence and people strong enough to vote against it in the face of inevitable fierce social media attacks. The CRT policies many vote for, like Albemarle County’s non graded, optionally not done homework, no grading for class participation, and no downgrading for wrong answers on tests threatens the poor, black children far worse than poverty.

    • I think it is being debated here, Peter.

  10. Jeez, DJ, when you are a school kid the most effective racist anti-civil rights legislator in the entire United States was a Northern Virginia Democrat. No plantation elite in Northern VA? The Potomac was no different than the James until very recently.

    Now, the Mountain Valley wing of the GOP, that was the early “resistance” to the Machine. Holton, Giesen, Turk, Dalton….By the 70s, 80s you might have had a point. But before that the mentality you cite was still to be found in Occupied Virginia.

    • I met too many Richmonders at UVA to be fooled. It was “colored this” and “****** that”. The most important education I got at UVA was learning just how racist the upper crust Richmondrers really were. Having attended a fully integrated public high school in NoVa I was stunned by the open racism of the plantation elite driving their BMWs and wearing their Lacoste shirts. These are the people still running the state. I’m sorry but Coonman attending a party in his 20s in the 80s dressed in blackface accompanied by someone in klan robes is just par for the course among the plantation elite. Just another asshat behaving like a typical asshat.

      AS for NoVa – Arlington tried to integrate early but was thwarted by a hero of the plantation elite. He has a statue standing on the capitol grounds in Richmond. Typical. Disgraceful. He died on Oct 20, 1966. His legacy should be buried along with his corpse.

      • Geeze – what would you expect? NoVa has for decades been full or Leftists and Snowflakes. Is it any surprised they long ago rejected the “plantation elite”?

        So now… DJ rejects the Plantation Elite AND the NoVa leftists and snowflakes.

        BTW – I’m pretty sure Gillespie was plantation elite… and more!


      • I had a similar experience at the University, mine between 1962 and 1966. Many, but not nearly all, of the students from Richmond would tell anyone who would listen that they considered themselves among the “best people” were in a class absolutely of their own as racists and general asshats.

        An incident I will never forget. I am an Irish Catholic from Falls Church who went to an integrated Jesuit prep school in D.C. Stuffed envelopes for candidate John Kennedy.

        I joined a fraternity with members whose company and friendship I thoroughly enjoyed – still do. We had a few guys from Richmond, not all as you describe, but the fraternity as a whole was from all over, including a sprinkling of Northerners, who mostly would not put up with the worst instincts of the few virulent racists.

        Like all alive then, I will never forget the day of the Kennedy assassination. Most of us were watching it unfold on the small rabbit-eared TV in the house. About 15 minutes after Cronkite announced that the President had died, there was singing outside.

        We looked out the window, and it was a small group of revelers, cocktails in hand, Richmonders all, singing to celebrate the death. We were all about to go out, when a couple of brothers told us they would take care of it. One was a very large scholarship football player and the other was the University’s heavyweight boxing champion. The boxer repossessed autos in Baltimore as his summer job – think about it.

        The two of them went out the door and walked purposely towards the singers. I didn’t hear what they said to them, but it could not have been good. Whatever they said resulted in immediate emergency evacuation of the area by the now not so celebratory group.

        So yeah, there were Richmond asshats there, and not a few other bigots who were more restrained in their language. But it was not nearly everyone, nor every Richmonder, and it was a great school back then. You had to cut class not to learn.

        • won’t name the store but the Manager was heard to say “they finally got that SOB”….

        • I used to show on old reel to reel film on the projector of the Kennedy Funeral. US Government produced and was solemn and very patriotic. It really captured the fall of Camelot. Students loved it and they loved the fact that it was old school reel to reel. Had to use Scotch tape a number of times. Old films are brittle now. Another favorite NASA reel to reel film I used to show was “The John Glenn Story”. I love the pre Timothy Leary America.

    • Berryville’s two Harrys Byrd were not among the woke either.

  11. I can’t tell the difference between The Democratic Socialists of America 2020 and the National Socialist Workers Party of 1933. The appear to be one and the same to me.

    • “I can’t tell the difference between The Democratic Socialists of America 2020 and the National Socialist Workers Party of 1933.”

      Nor can I. And I thank Matt Adams for his fine commentary on this thread. It’s always always a pleasure here to read someone who actually knows with authority and learning what they are talking about.

  12. Captain S. Took interest in your story about the reaction to JFK’s death. Such a sense of entitlement. Some of these Richmond Southerners are anything but gentlemen. When I moved back here in 2000 it was a bit of a culture shock. One ad guy at Virginia Business snickered when put I put a photo of a Black woman on the cover.

  13. Wow. Apparently a big difference bewtween Norfolk and Richmond in the mid-60s. I went to Norview HS and it was easily 20 to 30% black long before busing. Racism wasn’t as overt. Okay, racist jokes, but then there were Polish jokes, Irish jokes, Puerto Rican jokes, so no one could feel left out.

    My friends in 10th grade were WASPS except for two of us Catholics, one half Lebanese. There was three black guys who started hanging with us occasionally and after graduating we hung out even more, bar hopping in downtown. 3.2 beer, oh boy!

    I know I always felt more comfortable in the downtown black clubs than my black friends felt in the white bars. None of us went to the CW bars, e.g., the Lido. You learn.

    • Wow. You are young. I taught at Luther Jackson Middle School in Fairfax County in 1966 while waiting for my Navy service to begin. That was the first year of integrated schools in Fairfax County. Luther Jackson had been a Black school.

      • I suspect the Navy had a lot to do with better, not great but better, race relations in Norfolk.

        8 years your junior, but those 8 years had a lot of things going on.

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