WASHINGTON (SBG) - Parents in Loudoun County, a wealthy Virginia community just west of Washington, D.C., are sounding the alarm this week after receiving threats from an online group for criticizing critical race theory (CRT) education.
Critical race theory became a flashpoint in education following the rise in civil unrest last year. Proponents describe CRT as teaching “equity” in all aspects of life and examining the way systemic racism and white privilege leads to inequitable situations. Scholar Kyiarah Bridges notes that race is “not biologically real but socially constructed and socially significant.”
One key tenet of CRT, Bridges notes is “[a]cknowledgement that racism is a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, that replicate racial inequality. This dismisses the idea that racist incidents are aberrations but instead are manifestations of structural and systemic racism.”
The American Bar Association (ABA) says that CRT is not diversity training but “a practice of interrogating race and racism in society that emerged in the legal academy and spread to other fields of scholarship.”
“CRT recognizes that racism is not a bygone relic of the past,” the ABA writes. “Instead, it acknowledges that the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the imposition of second-class citizenship on Black Americans and other people of color continue to permeate the social fabric of this nation.”
Opponents of CRT say the teachings pit people against each other based on ethnicity and skin tone and assume inherent racism is present in any person not considered an oppressed minority.
“Critical Race Theorists believe that people who they claim benefit from ‘systemic racism,’ which they declare to be the ordinary state of affairs in society, want to maintain it, which is why Critical Race Theorists say virtually everyone is racist,” writes scholar and political commentator James Lindsay.
“[T]hey assume racism is present in everything and look for it ‘Critically’ until they find it,” he continues. “Importantly, this is assessed subjectively according to the ‘lived experience’ of racism and does not depend upon there being any evidence of racism. Critical Race Theory does not continue the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, as many incorrectly believe. It is against liberalism and the liberal order upon which Western societies are founded, and it rejects both equality and neutral principles of constitutional law.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, sharply condemned CRT this week, proposing instead to reward teachers who excelled in history and civics education.
“Let me be clear, there is no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory,” DeSantis said. “Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.”
In Loudoun County, one parent, Ian Prior, wrote an essay for The Federalist describing his criticism of CRT and its inclusion in the public school.
Some members of a private Facebook group called “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County,” referred to by opponents as “Chardonnay Antifa,” called on volunteers to gather information on parents who had spoken out against critical race theory, including Prior. They specifically named parents involved in “Parents Against Critical Race Theory (P.A.C.T.), and another Loudoun group known as “stoplcpscrt.”
This is a call for volunteers to combat the anti-CRT activities of the P.A.C.T. folks, the stoplcpscrt website, and the like.
Looking for folks who are interested in volunteering to organize, lead, execute, and donate regarding the following points:
-Gather information (community mailing lists, list of folks who are in charge of the anti-CRT movement, lists of local lawmakers/folks in charge)
-Infiltrate (create fake online profiles and join these groups to collect and communicate information, hackers who can either shut down their websites or redirect them to pro-CRT/anti-racist informational webpages)
-Spread information (expose these people publicly, create online petitions, create counter-mailings)
-Find a way to gather donations for these efforts. Volunteering is great, but these activities can be costly and not everyone has extra funds readily available
Anyone who is interested in this, please feel free to comment here or PM me directly and indicate what you can help with. Then we can hold a kickoff call and start on action items.
The Daily Wire reports that the thread was started by a mother who identified herself as Jen Morse. She also requested volunteers with hacking skills and offered to list identified critics of CRT by name and location. Civility, she said, may not be effective.
“I’m losing any hope that remaining civil towards these people changes anything,” she wrote. “Avoiding these people isn’t enough to stop the spread of their evil rhetoric.”
A former LCPS teacher, Hilary Hultman-Lee, seconded Morse’s request.
“Regarding the anti-CRT movement, we’d like to compile a document of all known actors and supporters,” she wrote. “Please comment below with legal names of these individuals, area of residence and or school board Rep known, known accounts on social media, and any other info that you feel is relevant.”
The thread garnered many responses with named parents, according to reporting from The Daily Wire. At least one entry was questioned over skepticism that the parent had ever made any “anti-CRT” comments. Hultman-Lee said she put a question mark next to the name, but members agreed not to remove it from the list.
Beth Barts, an elected member of the Loudoun County School Board, is an active member of the private Facebook group. She cheered on the activism saying, “thank you for stepping up. Silence is complicity.” Barts has been censured by the school board for improper conduct on social media, among other complaints.
The Loudoun County sheriff’s criminal investigations division is reviewing comments and requests made by the group. The solicitation of help to commit cybercrimes in Virginia could violate the criminal solicitation law and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The Daily Wire reports that the elected county prosecutor, Buta Biberaj, is a member of the Facebook group in question.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on 5/7/21.