Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, has unleashed his own version of a Willie Horton ad against Democrat Terry McAuliffe. This is his intro to the damning video he shared on Twitter:
What's it like to have Terry McAuliffe block you from having a say in your child's education? This mom knows – she lived through it. Watch her powerful story. #VAgov
The mother is Laura Murphy, and she looks like she's been through hell ... presumably because of McAuliffe's actions as governor. Let's go with that.
MURPHY: As a parent, it's hard to catch everything, so when my son showed me his reading assignment, my heart sunk. It was some of the most explicit material you could imagine.
Then we see her white lady hands clutching what I assume are invisible pearls.
MURPHY: I met with lawmakers. They couldn't believe what I was showing them. Their faces turned bright red with embarrassment. They passed bills requiring schools to notify parents when explicit content was assigned. It was bipartisan. It gave parents a say! The option to choose an alternative. I was so grateful. And then Gov. Terry McAullife vetoed it!
Oh no! As she shares her disappointment, we see an image of her with her very white family dressed in white at the beach.
This ad is unbelievable, literally.
Historian Kevin M. Kruse pointed out that Youngkin's deliberately misleading ad never mentions the title of the scary book, which you'd assume is porn based on Murphy's description of how lawmakers reacted. Was it the novelization of I Am Curious (Yellow)? And how old was her son, who's showing her his heart-sinking reading assignment? This all seems relevant.
The controversial book was, in fact, Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988. A New York Times survey of writers and literary critics ranked Beloved as the best work of American fiction from 1981 to 2006. It's brilliant and transformative but I wouldn't let my second grader read it. He'd complain about the lack of dinosaurs.
However, Murphy is whining because Beloved was assigned to a 12th grade AP English class. This is a college-level course, but she claims the book gave her son nightmares. The kid was old enough to drive a car and see the 1998 film version without adult supervision. That's probably why McAuliffe vetoed the stupid bill. Your child's willing admission into AP English is sufficient parental notification that they'll be exposed to adult content. You can water seal your kid's bed if they're extra sensitive.
According to a 2013 Washington Post article, Murphy tried to ban Beloved outright for six months.
"It's not about the author or the awards," said Murphy, a mother of four whose eldest son had nightmares after reading "Beloved" for his senior-year Advanced Placement English class. "It's about the content."
Awards are about content. Beloved didn't win the Pulitzer because of its book jacket. The fictional story is based in history that should disturb people. Morrison was inspired by the very real Margaret Garner, who escaped from slavery in Kentucky and fled to Ohio, then a free state, in 1856. Empowered by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, US marshals apprehended Garner and her husband, but the federal agents found that Garner had killed her two-year-old daughter and was about to kill her other children to spare them from a life of bondage.
The Garners were taken into custody and tried in what became one of the longest fugitive slave trials in history. During the two week trial, abolitionist and lawyer John Jolliffe argued that Margaret's trips to free territory in Cincinnati entitled her and her children to freedom. Although Jolliffe provided compelling arguments, the judge denied the Garners' plea for freedom and returned them to [enslaver A.K. Gaines].
In a bid to gain freedom for Margaret and her children, Jolliffe convinced officials to arrest Margaret on the charge of murdering her daughter. Jolliffe surmised that with a murder trial, Margaret would have another chance for freedom. Gaines caught on to Jolliffe's plan and relocated the Garners to several different plantations before finally selling them to his brother in Arkansas. As a result, federal marshals were not able to serve Margaret with an arrest warrant and she never received a second trial.
Youngkin's ad is a bust that reveals the hypocrisy of Republicans' simultaneous arguments against so-called "cancel culture" robbing children of racist Dr. Seuss books and their contrived panic over "critical race theory." The same people who accuse the Left of "erasing history" when they take down statues to men who fought to keep people enslaved want to erase the entire history of enslaved Americans from being taught in schools. Murphy insisted in 2013 that she's “not some goofy book burner," but she just wants to shield her children and others from harsh, uncomfortable reality.
I doubt it was really the explicit content that disturbed Murphy or turned the lawmakers' faces red so much as the inescapable truth that America's glorified, whitewashed past was a living nightmare for Black people. There were millions of Margaret Garners, and their lives weren't a PG-rated musical. Murphy can take that up with her ancestors.
You might've noticed that it's no longer 2013. It's currently 2021 and Murphy's still mad. You'd think her son was permanently traumatized and still wakes up at night screaming "BLACK PEOPLE!" No, he's all grown up and turned out all
Enduring whitenessNew York Times
Blake Murphy's now a 27-year-old Republican lawyer whose marriage announcement appeared in last December's New York Times. When distraught Black mothers appear in Democratic campaign ads discussing police violence, their children are usually dead. There are no wedding cakes for Tamir Rice or Jordan Davis. Murphy seems to have survived reading Beloved.
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