Juan Williams: ‘Parental Rights’ is a code for white politics

After white supremacists shed blood in defense of keeping Confederate statues in 2017, Republican candidate for Governor of Virginia Ed Gillespie said the monuments should remain standing as a matter of heritage and history.

His television advertising featured threatening images of Latino gangs, labeled as illegal immigrants, involved in murders and rapes.

The racially charged ‘Culture Wars’ campaign, straight from then-President TrumpDonald Trump: Impressive Poll Gives Gloomy View of Burgeoning Anti-Democratic Opinions Southwest Investigation Report Pilot Said ‘Let’s Brandon’ On Flight Texas Police Denied Requests to Escort Biden’s Bus Surrounded by Trump Supporters – Report PLUSThe playbook gave Gillespie a boost, but he ultimately lost the race to Democrat Ralph Northam.

Now Virginia Republicans are back with a new and improved “culture wars” campaign for 2021. The final argument is once again filled with racial divide, but this time it is disguised as a defense of young children.

The rallying cry is “Parental Rights”.

It is a campaign to stop classroom discussion about Black Lives Matter protests or slavery because it might upset some children, especially white children who might feel guilty.

And this time Republicans who imitate Trump believe they have found political gold.

Unlike his earlier defense of Confederate monuments, the ‘Parental Rights’ campaign message at first glance appears to have nothing to do with race.

That puts Democrats on the defensive. They are in the uncomfortable position of drawing the attention of white suburban mothers to the divisive racial politics being used by Republican Glenn Youngkin’s campaign.

Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee, calls the Republican message a “racist dog whistle.”

“Youngkin’s final message on the book ban and the silencing of esteemed black authors is a racist whistle designed to garner support from the most extreme elements of his party, primarily his main sponsor and surrogate, Donald Trump,” McAuliffe said in a statement.

Remember, it was Trump who said there were “very good people” on both sides of the violence sparked by “Unite the Right,” the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Youngkin says he will back Trump if the former president is the Republican candidate for the White House in 2024.

Some of the white extremists in Charlottesville are now on trial in a civil case for their violent attacks.

President BidenJoe Biden White House reveals strategy for net zero goal by 2050 Southwest investigation report Pilot said ‘Let’s Brandon’ in flight House Rules Committee will not meet Monday on reconciliation package MORE He recently said that the violence in the United States Capitol on January 6 was also “about white supremacy.”

There is a long history behind the latest racist political appeals.

It was not long ago that racist southern politicians spoke out against integration with an argument for the “rights of the states,” a call to break free from federal laws that call for an end to segregation.

Now the message is that white parents are ignored when they complain that their children are uncomfortable learning about racism.

Republican advertising now fails to mention that the movement in Virginia was born out of opposition to advanced placement high school students reading an award-winning novel about the horrors of slavery: “Beloved,” by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison.

One commercial features a white Virginia mother complaining that McAuliffe opposed a law that allows parents to make their children choose not to study unnamed books.

Mom, Laura Murphy, does not mention that she is talking about “Beloved.” Nor does she mention that she is a conservative activist whose son went on to intern at the Trump White House.

She only offers the bland comment that McAuliffe “doesn’t think parents should have a voice … He left us out.”

Toni Morrison is in the great American tradition of authors exploring racial dilemmas, from Richard Wright’s “Native Son” to Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” and Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.”

I met Morrison and she was not a racist. I interviewed her at the Hartford Forum and on television. We spoke during the years leading up to his death. The attack on “Beloved” is a direct attack on all the great writings on race in America, especially from the point of view of blacks.

It is a shame. It should disqualify Youngkin and all the other libelous Republican merchants who traffic in him.

The obscene attack on great writing is gaining traction when paired with another Republican Party racial tactic aimed at scaring parents: that Virginia school children may be exposed to arguments about the ongoing systemic racism of teaching. “Critical Theory of Race”.

Critical race theory, generally a focus on racial disparities as a fact of American life, is not explicitly taught in Virginia public schools or anywhere in American public schools. But Republicans across the country have turned him into a bogeyman to excite racial divisions and get his base to the polls.

The conservative Heritage Foundation and other big right-wing donors have stoked the fire with what they call the “Great Padres Revolt of 2021.” They see this as a conservative response to what Heritage calls “the radical tide of educators, nonprofits and federal education bureaucrats working to rewrite American history.”

In Florida, parents on the right recently complained that fourth graders had to learn to spell “isolation” and “quarantine.” Parents said those are “scary words.”

Things have gotten so bad that the National School Board Association pleaded with the Biden administration in a September letter to use federal law enforcement to protect school board members from threats of violence and other forms of bullying.

Polls show that the large amount of money coming from the right has resulted in the “Parental Rights” movement gaining ground among white voters.

But this movement is not about parents. It is about exciting the extreme right base by fomenting racial division.

If it works, Republicans will have reason to continue down this dark path to win the election.

Juan Williams is an author and political analyst for Fox News Channel.


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