Fox News political commentator Juan Williams sparked a social media firestorm on Monday by publishing a column arguing that the phrase “parents’ rights” is “code for white race politics.”
The column in the Hill focused on the state of the Virginia governor’s race, as Republican Glenn Youngkin has recently taken a small lead in opinion polls over his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe right before the Tuesday election. The issue of education has especially galvanized Youngkin supporters calling for the defense of parents’ rights in schools.
Williams argued that the phrase has become a “rallying cry” for parents who are trying to “stop classroom discussion of Black Lives Matter protests or slavery because it could upset some children, especially white children who might feel guilt.”
But this movement is not about parents. It is about exciting the far-right base by stirring up racial division.
If it works, Republicans will have reason to continue down this dark path to winning elections. https://t.co/NPqE270gw1
— Juan Williams (@TheJuanWilliams) November 2, 2021
Williams also defended a Sept. 29 letter by the National School Boards Association to the White House and the Department of Justice that said parents protesting at school board meetings were “domestic terrorists.”
Williams said the NSBA “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.”
The NSBA letter prompted a backlash that led a number of state school boards associations to cut ties with the national organization. The NSBA eventually apologized for the letter — but not before Attorney General Merrick Garland had established an FBI-DOJ task force aimed at investigating the NSBA’s complaints.
The Fox News commentator wrote that parents’ rights “at first glance looks to have zero to do with race,” putting those opposed to it in the difficult position of “calling the attention of suburban white moms to divisive racial politics being used by Republican Glenn Youngkin’s campaign.”
“It is not long ago that racist Southern politicians rallied against integration with an argument for ‘states’ rights,’ a call to be free of federal laws seeking to end segregation,” Williams wrote. “Now the message is that white parents are being ignored when they complain that their children are uncomfortable learning about racism.”
Source: The Washington Examiner