Posts Tagged ‘Loudoun County’

Matt Taibbi on the Loudoun County culture war

December 23, 2021

AThe school board in Loudon County, Va., which is on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., has been in the headlines over its handling of race and gender issues.

Matt Taibbi has written an excellent series of articles about what’s really going on there, and how it has been misreported. I didn’t know the half of it until I read his pieces.

A proposal to end selective examinations to enter “gifted” programs was called an anti-racism program. But the group that the proposal hurts the most consists of dark-skinned immigrants from south India.

A role-playing exercise that well-meaning people put on to teach students about the Underground Railroad and the evils of slavery was attacked as an exercise in racism.

Self-described advocates of critical race theory went to absurd lengths to silence and marginalize their opponents.  Respectable citizens with legitimate concerns were treated as if they were potentially violent white nationalist zealots.

A highly-publicized incident, in which a 14-year-old girl was forcibly sodomized in a girl’s restroom by a boy wearing a dress, was reported as a transgender rights issue.

All this affected the 2021 elections in Virginia and is likely to have a big impact on the 2022 mid-term elections and beyond.

Most of my liberal friends and acquaintances think that the new “woke-ness” or critical race theory or whatever you want to call it is an extension of the civil rights movement they’ve advocated for all their lives. It is actually—at least in this case—a rejection of the old-time liberal ideal of equal rights and equal treatment for all.

If you care at all about this stuff, I recommend you bookmark this page and read Taibbi’s articles at your leisure.

LINKS

Loudon County, Virginia: A Culture War in Four Acts by Matt Taibbi for TK News.

A furious controversy in the richest county in America was about race, all right, but not in the way national media presented it.

A Culture War in Four Acts.  Loudoun County, Virginia.  Part Two.  “The Incident” by Matt Taibbi for TK News.

An Underground Railroad simulation at an elementary school brings a long-simmering dispute out into the open, triggering a bizarre series of unfortunate events.

The Holy War of Loudoun County, Virginia by Matt Taibbi for TK News.

An opposition galvanized by revelations of bizarre school policies finds itself on an enemies list.

Loudoun County Epilogue: A Worsening Culture War and the False Hope of ‘Decorum’. by Matt Taibbi for TK News.

As the wealthiest county in America found out, difficult political problems can’t just be swept under the rug, or into a parking lot.

Taibbi on culture wars in Loudon County, Va.

December 17, 2021

Loudoun County, Va., on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., is the nation’s richest county. Recently it has been trending Democratic in national elections; Joe Biden got 61 percent of its vote in 2020.  

But last November, along with Virginia as a whole, it rejected Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and supported Republican Glenn Youngkin.  The swing to Republicans in Loudoun was 15 percentage points.

The county’s school system is the battleground of arguments about critical race theory, transgenderism and a sexual assault case on school property.  The great investigative reporter, Matt Taibbi, says almost all these issues have been mis-reported by the national news media.

He is working on a four-part series of articles about Loudon, and has published the first one.   I had originally planned to wait until he finished the series, and link to them, but his first one is interesting and important/.  I don’t know how long he is going to take to publish the others and whether they will be behind a pay wall.  So here goes.

The first article is about the drive to abolish or restructure programs for “gifted” children because such programs supposedly benefit whites more than blacks.  

This isn’t so.  Anything nowadays that’s based on competitive examinations primarily benefits the super-studious children of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Asia, just as, a century ago, success in competitive examinations was dominated by the super-studious children of Jewish immigrants.

Loudoun County had a program for gifted children called Academies of Loudoun, and also pays tuition for selected students to attend Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology, the top-rated high school in the nation, in neighboring Fairfax County.  Any graduate of TJ High is practically guaranteed admission to top universities.

Such programs made Loudoun County a magnet for Asian immigrants who worked in high tech industry and were academically ambitious for their children.  A large fraction were dark-skinned people with roots in South India, whose families had been held back by color prejudice in their homelands.

Asians are about 20 percent of the populations of both Loudoun and Fairfax counties.   In 2018, they made up more than half the applicants to TJ High and two-thirds of those accepted.  In contrast, whites were fewer than a third of the applicants and fewer than a quarter of those accepted.  Blacks and Hispanics were fewer than 10 percent of applicants or those accepted.

Taibbi reported that Loudoun County in 2018 changed the criteria for gifted programs to make them more holistic and less dependent on competitive examinations.  The change primarily benefitted whites, not blacks, and at the expense of a particular minority group.  

ThIs is a common pattern where high schools with selective admissions are under attack.

Taibbi thinks there was a swing of Asian-American voters against the Democrats in the recent Virginia elections, and probably nation-wide.

Until now, most Asian-Americans have regarded Democrats as the party of education.  That can change, and it would be politically important.

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