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Est. April 5, 2002
Apr 1, 2021 - Issue 859
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America is at an inflection point as to whether our democracy will survive. After the persistent perpetration of Donald Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ that the November 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, there are a rising number of his adherents who are taking actions to cement this lie into the body politic via coercive and legislative acts.

Ethnic minorities - Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Americans, African Americans, Indigenous Americans, and Latinx Americans - are being subjected to increasing acts of violence and disenfranchisement, and teachers are having their reputations brutalized for demanding protection from COVID-19 prior to resuming in-person instruction.

To unpack this observation, we examine each in turn. In a review of the harassment and killings of members of the aforementioned groups, we find an escalation of especially heinous acts against AAPI citizens, in particular, as their numbers are increasing at exponential rates, followed in order by Latinx Americans, Indigenous Americans, and African Americans, ranging from 100 to more than 400 percent.

This demographic change in the nation’s racial makeup, projected to occur over the next 20-30 years, will not only change the nation’s skin tone but will likely rearrange the nation’s power arrangements given the rush to restrict access to voting among people of color. It is no accident that the new voter suppression law recently passed in Georgia is in the legislative pipeline in other states where their numbers are increasing.

It is no accident that Texas, where Republican electoral victories are on the decline, and Arizona, Georgia (twice), Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania which flipped to the Democrats from Republicans in the presidential election from 2016 to 2020 are the primary targets. Joe Biden and the first Vice President of color, Kamala Harris, were elected to the White House, the nation’s second biracial executive leadership team.

Coupled with these actions are the vicious and increasing attacks on our AAPI brothers and sisters from coast to coast meant to stoke fear in this rising demographic. This voting bloc was essential to Biden’s victories in states that Trump carried in 2016 and could set the stage for a reordering of political power going forward unless Republicans change their policies to become more racially inclusive.

There appears to be no interest on their part to be anything other than an overwhelmingly White party so Republicans’ only other option is to limit the number of ethnic minority citizens who can vote by erecting more rigid barriers to their balloting participation. Autocratic and Apartheid-like strategies are a tried and proven way to achieve this goal.

The continuing attacks on teachers are another scheme to facilitate this effort by demeaning them as a professional group while promoting the privatization of public education. Since the majority student populations currently enrolled in public schools are now of color, there is decreasing interest by conservative White politicians to fund their education.

This is specifically the case in low-wealth poverty-ridden public school districts where Republicans have funded state-level elected officials to pass laws to allow public funding of private and religious schools and the rapid expansion of largely unregulated charter schools. The latter have been designated public schools although they are subject to few public school curricular, educational, and legal guidelines.

The objective is to reduce traditional public schools to warehouses for the most challenging students to serve and teach. By robustly funding private, religious, and corporate-controlled charter schools and enrolling students whose parents’ values closely approximate those of their middle-class counterparts, they can claim success.

The widely heralded Success Academy Charter Schools of New York City have employed this approach with great success. When they find that the educational support behaviors of parents of children they enroll do not conform to their expectations, the children are counseled out or expelled. There are and have been several court suits to contest these actions that have been settled with non-disclosure agreements.

Over time, it is expected that public school teachers will be reduced to a level of serfdom as their unions will be decimated due to their demonization and the loss of students. Then, it is believed, public school teachers will be more willing to submit to autocratic authority. At the same time, their ethnic minority fellow citizens, who have also voted prodigiously for Democrats along with them, are literally being beaten and legislated into political submission.

Taken together, these acts constitute a systematic move toward autocracy and Apartheid which will enable Republicans, who are primarily White and male, to rule over an increasingly racially diverse country. Donald Trump was prescient in his promotion of misogynistic, nationalistic, anti-immigrant plans, and his stacking of the federal courts with right-wing judicial appointments during his single term in office.

His ‘Big Lie’ about his election loss is now being codified into enough state laws to enable Republicans to return to power in 2022 and for him to recapture the presidency in 2024 if these autocratic, Apartheid-like legislative initiatives hold and the harassment and violence go unchecked. The nation is in for a “… rough ride.” Columnist, Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr., PhD, MSPH, is a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder and has written widely on vouchers, charter schools, and public school privatization. He has served as Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Dr. Farrell and BC.

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is published  Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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