Latest ‘anti-woke’ tantrum: Right wing doesn’t believe children of different races can be friends

Given how rapidly the right’s “War on the Woke” is expanding, perhaps it was inevitable: self-proclaimed “mommy bears” on a Texas school board are furious that a classroom poster displayed people of different races can be seen holding hands. Last week, the school board in Conroe, Texas, a small town north of Houston, turned the right-wing censorship craze into a dark parody of itself. For debate? A poster that seemed to suggest that interracial friendship was possible.

Accordingly ABC 13 Eyewitness News Things started in Houston when school administrator Melissa Dungan said she spoke to parents who were upset about “the display of personal ideologies in classrooms.” When pressed for an example, Dungan referred to a first-grader whose parents claimed they were so upset by a poster showing the hands of people of other races that they moved classrooms, according to the news report .”

“I wish I was shocked,” Dungan said of the poster. “I’m aware that these trends have been around for many years.”

Want to know more about Amanda Marcotte about politics? Subscribe to their newsletter Standing room only.

Indeed, some other school board members argued that there was nothing wrong with such a poster. But Dungan was supported by another trustee, Misty Odenweller, who insisted depicting miscegenation was in any way a “breaking of the law”. The two women are part of Mama Bears Rising, a secret far-right group fueling the book ban craze in Conroe and the surrounding area. At least 59 books have been banned because of their efforts.

When another trustee asked Dungan if she personally had any objections to the illustration of cross-racial friendship, she declined, simply stating that she was just trying to avoid “such situations”. situations like what exactly? She didn’t say it. Dungan’s behavior is a perfect example of the “anti-woke” tap dance. The person claiming shameful waking never admits their own bigotry, but instead pretends to respond to “woke” people “enforcing” an agenda, in this case through harmless poster art. Of course, the whole premise of the argument is rooted in bigotry, as this example shows. It posits that the feelings of fanatics, real or imagined, who might be angered by such an image are paramount, and that everyone else’s liberties must be curtailed to appease them.

It’s tempting to dismiss it as a one-time oddity from Nowheresville, Texas. While this was a particularly unconventional example, it is part of a well-funded nationwide effort led by a group of interlocking far-right groups aimed at destroying modernity, undermining democracy and imposing authoritarian government against the wishes of most Americans . Donald Trump sucks most of the oxygen in the discussion about nascent American fascism, but even without him, this movement is powerful and widespread, and it’s using these local culture wars to seize even more power. And the old-fashioned racism as seen in Conroe is at the heart of it all.

Last week the New Republic published a lengthy and chilling investigative article by Katherine Stewart about the Claremont Institute, once a reasonably respectable conservative think tank and now one of the leading right-wing organizations pushing the anti-education and anti-democracy agenda beneath the surface of the Conroe incident. One of the many Claremont alumni Stewart profiles is Christopher Rufo, who spearheaded the recent hysteria surrounding “critical race theory” in education. In reality, critical race theory was an approach used in law schools and other graduate-level academic fields, and had basically nothing to do with public schools. Rufo’s brilliant idea was to turn this into an all-encompassing concept of terror that could be used for demonization all forms of anti-racist educationeven something as previously uncontroversial as a poster depicting interracial friendship.

The Claremont Institute’s far-right, anti-democratic policies are so grotesque that many readers will dismiss them as absurd, but it’s all carefully documented and disturbingly real. According to Stewart, Claremont has sponsored the work of Costin Alamariu, who has a doctorate in philosophy from Yale and writes under the name Bronze Age Pervert. He has declared that “woman’s liberation” is an “infection” that requires “the most terrible convulsions and the most thorough purgative measures.”

Most media coverage of Moms for Liberty portrays them as overzealous church ladies. But beneath the surface there is a lot of right-wing extremism.

A frequent contributor to Claremont’s online journal, writing under the moniker “Raw Egg Nationalist,” argues that “men and women should not work together in the same spaces” and describes the Black Lives Matter protesters of 2020 as “disgustingly ugly , malformed”. People.” Claremont-affiliated blogger Curtis Yarvin argues (in Stewart’s words) that “America needs a king, a dictator with total military power.” Claremont’s most famous collaborator is board member and former law professor John Eastman, who appeared in the indictment against Donald Trump now known as “Co-conspirators 2” for attempting to overthrow the US government.

Want to know more about Amanda Marcotte about politics? Subscribe to their newsletter Standing room only.

Because of their close connection to the book ban effort, the relatively new but suspiciously wealthy group Moms for Liberty has received a great deal of media attention in recent years. Still, the group’s radical ideology hasn’t really been covered in most mainstream news coverage, which tends to portray the Moms as a bunch of overzealous church ladies. As Flux Editor Matthew Sheffield, Vice President of Media Matters Julie Millican and Researcher Olivia Little explained in a recent Theory of Change podcastHowever, behind the façade of the “Christian mothers” there is an astounding extreme right-wing radicalism.

For example, while it was widely reported that a brochure from a Moms for Liberty branch was caught quoting Adolf Hitler, the group managed to portray this as a misunderstanding and error. But at her summit a few days later, speaker Tiffany Justice yelled, “I stand with that mother” – the mother who quoted Hitler – while the audience cheered her endorsement.

Moms for Liberty has heavily funded training for conservative activists about taking over school boards, which should make it clear how we are to understand stories like this, which just sound like a racial tantrum in a suburban Texas. These are not random or isolated events – they are part of a large, well-organized, and well-funded assault on public education across the country. Mama Bears Rising, the group that spearheaded the takeover of the Conroe school board, is unsurprisingly tight-lipped about its ties to the larger national censorship movement. But Screenshots of online communication by local anti-censorship activists suggests it’s no coincidence that the books targeted for censorship in Conroe are the same ones on banned book lists across the country. Mama Bears Rising draws on the same playbook that’s being circulated nationwide through a well-funded network of Christian nationalist activists.

It’s almost never just one crazy lady at a school board meeting these days. It is a movement with a committed ideology that has close ties to Donald Trump’s campaign to end democracy.

Read more

about America’s education wars

Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing

Related Articles

Back to top button