He should’ve known.
As we know, Virginia’s new Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is working furiously to make good on his campaign promise to essentially make combatting Republican grievances, real and imagined, the top priority of the Virginia state government. We wrote recently about his reversal of the state’s universal masking policy for schools. He also moved to ban the teaching of “inherently divisive concepts” (read: “Critical Race Theory”) in public schools on Day One.
During an interview with conservative radio host John Fredericks earlier this week, Youngkin announced a new tip line his administration had set up, asking parents to notify the state government with reports of public teachers “behaving objectionably,” aka talking about race and systemic racism in the classroom, concepts that the GOP continues to squeeze beneath the ill-suited label “Critical Race Theory” — an academic framework that’s ruffled the right into hysterics in recent months.
“We’re asking for folks to send us reports and observations that they have that will help us be aware of things like privilege bingo, be aware of their child being denied their rights that parents have in Virginia. And we’re going to make sure we catalog it all,” he said Monday. “This gives us a great insight into what’s happening at a school level, and that gives us further ability to make sure we’re rooting it out.”
A bunch of red states have passed similar laws in the last year, seizing on baseless beliefs that teaching about racism in America is somehow harmful to (white) students. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is taking the whole charade several steps further by backing legislation that would outlaw workplace trainings or conversations that could make (white) employees feel “discomfort.”
Anyways, Youngkin’s tip line move was predictable. But so has been the backlash.
After Youngkin’s announcement, a Virginia lawyer and former Democratic congressional candidate Qasim Rashid tweeted out the email address for the state’s teacher snitching hotline, suggestively asking Twitter users to not “make a mockery of this.”
Twitter delivered. Rashid tweeted out a handful of some of the best fake “tips,” which included things like reporting that Albus Dumbledore (of Harry Potter) was caught “teaching that full blooded wizards discriminated against mudbloods!” The famous musician John Legend got in on the action, too, encouraging Black parents in Virginia to “flood these tip lines with complaints about our history being silenced. We are parents too.”
Why conservatives continue to think that these types of snitching tools will be taken seriously is beyond me. Especially after a conservative pro-life group in Texas created its own hotline to help the state enforce its new Wild West-style abortion ban. Shortly after the Supreme Court decided to let the Texas law stay in place last year, the Texas Right To Life group made a hotline for people to report people getting abortions in the state and ultimately sue anyone involved in the effort.
Tik-Tok users and others flooded the hotline with “tips.” The pro-life group retaliated by saying they’d “involved the FBI and local police departments” to counter the fake attacks, issuing a cryptically Biblical statement shaming the trollsters to match.
“Because Texas Right to Life served a key role in shepherding the heartbeat bill to passage, the unscrupulous abortion mob is reeling, launching cyber attacks, casting hexes and threatening our team and the organization,” Right To Life director Elizabeth Graham said. “While we recognize these broken souls as intolerant keyboard warriors who operate in darkness, we also share a healthy respect for our ruthless spiritual enemy.”
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
Catch up on our live coverage of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement here: Senators React To Breyer’s Retirement
And our piece from this morning, here: Justice Breyer To Retire | Talking Points Memo
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
What We Are Reading
Congress Can Trade Stocks or Keep the Public Trust. Not Both. — Michelle Cottle
The return to scarcity — Brian Morrissey