Virginia in The Cross Fire
In a close race, Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia Governor election. He beat incumbent Terry McAuliffe by 67,294 votes. What made the difference? It was an advertisement that took a sound bite of McAuliffe saying, “I don’t think parents should tell schools what they should teach.”
Virginia ranks number four in national education. So, it is more than surprising that parents involved in what is taught in school was a major deciding factor in the Governor election.
Critical race theory has been the boogie man of the Republican Party as of late. Many people who are against it do not understand what it is, nor realize that it is not taught in public schools. Critical race theory and all its complexity is reserved for higher education. During my junior year of high school, I had the privilege to learn critical race theory without realizing that it was in fact critical race theory. Understanding the social construct that race is and how it works as a power structure in society is important for students to understand. Because like it or not, racism is a systematic power structure that grants privilege and authority to one race over another.
Deciding to ban critical race theory out of schools is like teaching slavery but not the reason behind slavery. It is like teaching about Jim Crow without understanding why separate was deemed equal. How can we make sense of colonization? How can we make sense of our understanding of race when the race is man-made and not biological? And yet it was banning critical race theory from schools that won Youngkin the election. Youngkin is also against mask and vaccine mandates, against environmental preservation bills and would overrule transgender students using their preferred bathroom.
To quote one Virginia resident, “It keeps Trump alive.” Many political scientists predict Virginia turning red shows what results might look like during the midterm election. Virginia has always been a swing state and a Governor's political affiliation should not matter. What they can do for the state is what should be valued. Youngkin’s values are not red or blue, they are dangerous to the safety, scholarship and wellbeing of Virginia. To put it simply, Youngkin is bad for Virginia.