Politics & Government
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” ripped into Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order that bans the use of critical race theory.
Mark Hand , Patch Staff
VIRGINIA — “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on Monday night ripped into Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's executive order issued Saturday that bans the use of critical race theory or related “inherently divisive concepts” in the state’s public schools, with a spoof on a Time Life collection of books called the "Glenn Youngkin Collection."
The satirized advertisement for the Time Life Books Collection states that each week, readers will receive a "Youngkin-approved text that avoids addressing racial inequality" such as a "Raisin in the Fun" and "To Thrill a Rocking Bird" and "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Karaoke."
The spoof goes on to say that "you and your children will love to learn that racism is over, and there's no reason to think about it anymore."
The campaign by conservative groups against the teaching of critical race theory began in late 2020 as a backlash against the nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd and a call for racial justice in the nation.
Critical race theory is an academic framework, usually taught in universities, which is based on the idea that racism is embedded in American institutions, creating persistent systemic inequalities for people of color.
Writing in the Virginia Mercury, reporter Kate Masters describes critical race theory as "a once obscure collegiate field that's become a conservative catch-all term for racial equity and diversity initiatives in public schools."
Conservative groups and parents latched onto the term in Loudoun County and other jurisdictions across Virginia to oppose the teaching of real American history and efforts to increase diversity.
Critical race theory was discussed constantly on Fox News in 2021, leading to "a chorus of voices on the right insist[ing] it is an existential threat to the country," wrote Judd Legum, editor of the political news site Popular Information.
The people running many of the anti-critical race theory campaigns oppose efforts to increase diversity inside institutions and decry "the introduction of curriculum about the historical treatment of Black people," Legum wrote.
After getting the Republican nomination for governor last spring, Youngkin jumped on board the anti-critical race theory bandwagon to boost his campaign for governor.
On the "Late Night with Seth Meyers" on Monday night — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Meyers noted that immediately after getting sworn into office , Youngkin signed the executive order banning the teaching of critical race theory and then went on Fox News on Sunday where he quoted King.
Youngkin used a quote that Meyers joked is the only quote from the slain civil rights leader that Republicans have ever read: "We must judge one another by the content of our character, not the color of our skin."
During his short life, King, who was assassinated at the age of 39, was despised by a large majority of white Americans.
“When he was alive, King was a walking, talking example of everything this country despises about the quest for Black liberation,” Michael Harriot wrote on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in The Guardian. “He railed against police brutality. He reminded the country of its racist past. He scolded the powers that be for income inequality and systemic racism. Not only did he condemn the openly racist opponents of equality, he reminded the legions of whites who were willing to sit idly by while their fellow countrymen were oppressed that they were also oppressors.”
After getting sworn in as governor, along with issuing the executive action against the teaching of critical race theory, Youngkin removed the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” section from the Virginia governor’s website.
Former Gov. Ralph Northam created the Cabinet-level position of chief diversity officer in 2019 after photos appeared to show him wearing racist garb. The Week noted Sunday that it appears Youngkin has eliminated that Cabinet post entirely .
” Archived versions of the Virginia governor’s website from the Northam administration include a page for then-Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Janice Underwood. The current version of the site lists no such position,” The Week reported.
RELATED: Banning Books In Schools Becomes Rallying Cry For VA Republicans
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