Virginia as Bellwether on Wokeism


by Phil Leigh

Like during the Civil War, Virginia is becoming a key battleground state in the present conflict between the Woke Agenda and Traditionalists. Since the state’s Traditionalists were among the Americans most committed to settling differences with mutual respect and compromise, racists and feminist demagogues initially ran roughshod over them with tyrannical, hasty, and inflexible demands.

It took no more than a simple majority in the legislative body and a sympathetic Ralph Northam governor to irrevocably destroy many of the most prominent statues memorializing our Confederate ancestors. Wherever possible the Woke Crowd deliberately rejected suggestions that the future of the statues be decided by referendums because they realized that the public would likely vote to keep the statues. They also rejected any suggestion that the Confederate monuments could share public spaces with statues of deserving ex-slaves and civil rights leaders. Their hearts were filled with irrevocable vengeance, not social justice.

The same crowd also infected many Virginia public school boards. Students were taught that the history of America, even to the present day, is a story of conflict between oppressors and the oppressed. As white males, boys were taught that if they did not admit their alleged privilege, they would become future oppressors. Conversely blacks and girls were taught if they did not secure perpetual racial and gender preferences and failed to crush the competitive spirit of white boys, they would become future victims. The Crowd labeled such tenets as “antiracist” or “antisexist” to avoid the obvious connection to Critical Theory and its Critical Race and Critical Gender derivatives.

In the interests of antiracism, they lowered grading standards wherever possible and increased racial preferences. The University of Virginia, for example, admits 29% of black applicants compared to only 17% of whites. Admission standards were also lowered at the Thomas Jefferson School of Science and Technology, one of America’s best high schools. The objective was to rebalance the demographic make-up of the student body, which dropped from 70% to 50% Asian.

After the end of the 2022 school year parents learned that the average scores in Trigonometry were the lowest the teachers had ever seen, notwithstanding that the exam was substantially easier than previous years. Given the simpler exams the teachers had expected scores to increase, not drop. One teacher group concluded that the students did not study. The lower grading standards used to give the surge of unprepared students a passing grade caused the better students to get lazy. Nearly all scored lower than expected.

Through a concept termed “intersectionality” — a nauseatingly pretentious term dreamed up in academia — some of Virginia’s Woke educators identified transgenders as one of the most oppressed classes. Last year the police at a Loudoun County School Board meeting arrested the father of a girl who had been raped by a transgender female in the girls’ bathroom at one of the schools. The Board refused to take his complaint seriously, although at least one member knew the claim was likely true but had publicly — and falsely — denied there had been any such complaint.

Thankfully, a Daily Wire reporter exposed the lie shortly before the November elections that put Republican Glenn Youngkin in the Governor’s mansion to replace the Leftist Ralph “Coonman” Northam who had installed Woke leaders at the Virginia Military Institute thereby transforming it into a ferment of misandry and so-called antiracism, both vengeful derivatives of Critical Theory.

Virginia appears likely to become a bellwether state with which to predict the outcome between the Woke Crowd and the Traditionalists for the rest of America.

First, its proximity to the perpetually growing Federal government gives it a hard base of so-called antiracists and radical feminists.

Second, the election of a Republican governor who made fair treatment of parents a political issue, bodes well for the future of common sense over radicalism.

Third, gentlemanly groups among the alumni at schools like the University of Virginia and Washington & Lee may be bearing fruit. Consistent with the “good student” reaction to the results of the Thomas Jefferson High School Trigonometry class, they favor a meritocracy over “equity-based” institutions.

Fourth, referendums on Confederate statues have generally been successful in keeping them in the state.

Fifth, and most importantly, President Biden and the Democrat Congress have convincingly demonstrated that they prefer to focus on a mirage of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion issues rather than deal with the real economic and social problems destroying our country. There is no chance that the Democrats will fix anything so long as they deny their responsibility for creating the problems in the first place. (To be sure, Republicans and the Federal Reserve must share the blame for perpetual deficit spending and fourteen years of zero interest rates, respectively.)

The Bacon’s Rebellion blog edited by James Bacon is the best place to stay current with Virginia developments. Nearly all the state’s newspapers require subscriptions, and few are worth the money. The Washington Post is saturated with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion poison. Finally, I am unaware of Mr. Bacon’s opinions on Confederate statues and the matters discussed in this post. Thus, I must emphasize that the views herein are my own. Mr. Bacon is, however, a member of a University of Virginia alumni group that lobbies for a meritocracy.

Phil Leigh is a historian of the Civil War and the South. This column has been republished with permission from his website Civil War Chat.