by Flo Read
Thursday, 11
November 2021
Video
15:12

Asra Nomani: Mama Bears are the future of American politics

How one parent-protester took on Critical Race Theory and won
by Flo Read

Education policy rarely tips the electoral scales. But following Glenn Youngkin’s shock win in the Virginia governor’s race, where education was the top priority for 35% of his supporters, focus has turned towards the American curriculum as a new political battleground.

A group of parents, self-styled ‘Mama and Papa Bears’, have been particularly vocal in protesting the changes they have witnessed in Virginia schools since the start of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. Critical Race Theory, according to these concerned parents, is infiltrating the state system and being taught as fact to children as young as seven. To bring us closer to the views on the ground in Virginia, UnHerd’s Florence Read spoke to a parent from one of the contested schools, former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani.

In today’s UnHerdTV, Asra describes the development of the parents’ movement in Virginia, why she was dubbed a ‘domestic terrorist’ and her hopes for the future of American politics:

On Black Lives Matter:

I connected to the issues of racial justice, and gender justice, and all of the ideas of, quote, ‘social justice’ as we know it. But then, what I discovered with that email, is that I, as a mum of a boy who had made it into the number one high school in America, this school called Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, I was now on the wrong side of brown. I was now part of this new community of people who are called ‘white adjacent’.
- Asra Nomani, UnHerdTV

On Big Tech:

It’s a big business that emerged over the last decade by Big Tech. And I only knew about this because our school district signed an agreement in September of this year with one of those companies. And that company is called Panorama Education. So what they did is that they use the social justice issues as a Trojan horse then to bring in something that they call ‘screeners’. And in these screeners, they ask kids questions like, ‘do you feel loved?’ ‘Do you feel suicidal?’ ‘Are you non-binary, LGBTQ transgender, gender fluid?’
- Asra Nomani, UnHerdTV

On the pandemic:

One serious issue was that school boards weren’t dealing effectively with the crisis that we had, of kids at home. And they were not managing well, the idea of returning to school. Then secondly, what they did is, instead of focusing on this really important issue of how to get our kids back to school, they became social justice warriors. Our school district, Fairfax County public schools, spent $20,000 to bring in this anti-racist prophet, when, in fact, we needed them to get our kids back to school.
- Asra Nomani, UnHerdTV

On political pigeonholes:

I think that folks are refusing labels. And that’s a really good thing. Ultimately, we are human beings. When they called us domestic terrorists, I just put it on my Twitter handle. When they called me a white supremacist, I put ‘Mama Bear a.k.a “White Supremacist”’. We have to take back the language in order to reclaim our own selves.
- Asra Nomani, UnHerdTV

On teaching ‘bad ideas’:

People are free thinkers, they need to understand, in the marketplace of ideas, the range of ideas that are out there. And then it is really a matter of convincing folks then that, for example, in Islam, that the Muslim Reform Movement has the better ideas, and that the Islamists have really negative, regressive ideas.
- Asra Nomani, UnHerdTV

On fixing the curriculum:

What we have to decide as a nation, is that shaming and blaming kids based on these immutable traits into which they were born is unacceptable. This is a notion that I thought we had decided and agreed upon some years ago. […] We have to just get beyond their gymnastics and really be clear about our values, we do not agree with segregation, we do not agree with shaming, and remove any kind of teaching methodologies that include that.
- Asra Nomani, UnHerdTV

 

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Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
10 months ago

And we need to call Black Lives Matter exactly what they are: a race hate group just like the British National Party.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Good for you, to call anything Left/Liberal and ‘minority’ bad you need to find some White Group to also include in the condemnation – because to not do so would mean you are racist.

Well played there, you win 5 woke stars, *****.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
10 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

weird

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
10 months ago

There are a number of polititians and publications who maintain that CRT is not being taught in US schools – they could be right. But Ms Nomani has shown that it’s worse than that, CRT is being put into practise in US schools; that chidren’s book which she showed is horrifying and she is right to call it child abuse.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
10 months ago

I’m doing a doctorate in Education. One of my assignments was to design a policy brief that would help eradicate whiteness in the classroom. I used quotes from M**n K*mpf, and even got a B- for it.
I’m not sure why colleges continue to employ CRT professors. Most intelligent students avoid their classes like the plague and are usually the last to get filled up. Only the most lame-brained go anywhere near CRT and its cousins, CQT and CFT (queer theory and feminist theory).

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
10 months ago

“remove any kind of teaching methodologies that include that”
And remove any teachers that include that. We really need to start cancelling the woke scum.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
10 months ago

Brilliant interview. Thank you Asra.
It’s blatant hypocrisy to attempt to seek social justice with oppression and injustice of other side. It can never succeed in a smooth way. Hence it is being forced on the public in deviously surreptitious manner, through the children. I am even doubtful that that is the endgame. It might be indoctrination and subjugation by the big tech to control the public both left and right for its own benefit . It’s a social experiment, controlled by the big tech, in human behaviour by pitting one against the other. Call me a conspiracy theorist but it’s uncanny how orchestrated this whole scenario has become and we are being played with like pawns

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months ago

“It’s blatant hypocrisy”

That is exactly what I take from her interview too. Although I suspect I get a different view on what hypocrisy is being done by her explanation of the situation.

John Barclay
John Barclay
10 months ago

While I agree with the objection to CRT, I can’t ignore all the other mellifluous use of just about every other woke trope in this interview.

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago
Reply to  John Barclay

Excellent, pithy comment. Well done, you! Perhaps I was a bit prolix….

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months ago

I only watched about half before I gave up. It is good she is bringing up this 100% obvious situation of the PostModernsits, ‘Critical Theory’ (Frankfurt School Neo-Marxist philosophy), out to destroy the West by capturing the education system…. But she took it biting her on the leg to wake up.

She really seems a hard Liberal/Lefty herself, and so is ‘hoist by her own petard‘ as it were, and now trying to cherry pick what is bad and good, without seeing it is all bad, and her beliefs is/was a great part of the problem.

A couple things, she is a Muslim, and the pernicious Post Modernism is aggressively atheist Secular-Humanist, so I am glad she has not fallen for that as well as it gives a strength atheists do not have. I like Islam as it is an intensely moral system, the morals may not be the same as the Classic Liberal Judaeo/Christian, but still are ‘Of the Book’ and so I respect that. Her being involved in bringing Islam to classic Liberal thinking is good, and makes sense. (Classic Liberalism is NOT what we call Liberalism today, or nu-Liberalism, neo and post, liberalism being their own weird thing)

But I feel her drive in this is really as because her son. She is nu-Liberal, she is part of the movement bringing cultural degeneracy and anti-Westernism to the fore, but when it got too real, she is resisting.

‘A Neconservative is a Liberal who got mugged by reality’ Irving Kristol said so well. The classic Neoconservative being one who began on the Left, the main being the 50s – 70s hard left, who figured out what Socialism was doing to the world and ‘grew up’.

This hard Culturial-Marxist CRT may in fact be a great good if it turns out being the straw which broke the camel’s back, and gets the Nu-Liberal, educated, left to finally wake up to the evil they are promulgating on the Western Society, and so gain a Classic Liberalism, or Neoconservative, philosophy.

The Party of Biden and the Squad and Pilosi may get booted in 2022. as BLM and CRT are likely too far, to fast. (But maybe not – they have captured every University, School, Gov office, and Tech, Social Media, MSM, Entertainment) – depends how many have their ‘Road to Damascus’ enlightenment, or how many just keep on the road to persecute the ones they set out to get.

J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yeah, I had a similar reaction to this video. Full credit to her for taking on the woke irrespective of her motivation, but I definitely have the sense she’s deeply left-wing and only reconsidered some of her beliefs when they started to have negative effects on her family and life. And of course she’s female and not white so she’s (sort of) allowed to complain about CRT.
Maybe this is where hope lies. Eventually the elites relentless promotion of their race-based agenda will eventually come back to bite them and they’ll at least partially rethink their position. Or maybe they’ll all go live in solar-powered bunkers in South Dakota.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
10 months ago

Sounds like this Mama Bear has just come out of intellectual hibernation which appears to have lasted for decades.

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago

This woman absolutely disgusts me! She is a vile, disgusting, self-described “progressive, Muslim, feminist, single mother, etc….”–is there a card she didn’t play? She fluently speaks the language of the woke. She is part of the elite on at least two continents, and only now objects because the woke mob has come for her and her family. For UK readers/viewers, I think her anti-Britishness comes through immediately.
That being said, I’m on side only in this issue, willing to form a temporary alliance to defeat people who are even more woke than she is. She talks about a “contract with the devil.” Non-woke who are not crazy (hard left, like her), are, in a sense, signing on to this contract with the devil–and she is the devil. Admittedly, now, on this issue, a lesser devil, but still the devil. Temporary alliance.
Some other points: that book is horrific. But the NEA (American teachers union, has 3 million members, they are almost all woke, their union is beyond woke, and they are the enemy! It will be hard to defeat them but we must try.)
“We have to take back the language in order to reclaim our own selves.”
I agree with her on this, and this means not using the term CRT, but calling it what it really is, perhaps something like “extreme anti-white communist agenda.”
BLM should also be described as “BLM, a Marxist, anti-white, anti-American hate group….”
“anti-fa” as “a violent fascist organization intent on destroying America….”
Come up with your own definitions, but you get the idea.
The Mama bear theme is stupid, as is the elevation of this woman as a saint in the non-woke religion. She is right on this issue, wrong on every other, and she is certainly willing to accept her “superior” role as a Muslim, single mother, feminist, immigrant person of color, except on this.
And I haven’t seen any of these Mama bears “sacrifice our own lives….” Hopefully she will have the chance in the coming civil war, though I’m not sure which side she will be on.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Actually, as a Briton, I didn’t think her anti-Britishness came through, she said nothing that was untrue and was actually quite nice about it. However, your dislike of the woman and the tone and language that you use is quite appalling.

When I listened to the interview and she spoke about her feminism and her political views I just knew that she would be jumped upon by the usual suspects. However, I thought that she came aross well. Anti-CRT is not the preserve of the right; it is possible to be on the left and still find CRT and the rest of the “woke” agenda wrong and dangerous. She never regarded herself as superior, as you say, she is a leftist woman who is “fighting” the same battle as many on this site are doing, and I believe that we should be happy to have her on side.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
10 months ago

Yes, I felt the same way. I don’t understand the fight between left and right. It’s about ideas and not about hating someone for being left or right It’s very worrying to read some vitriolic comments based on personal judgement of the individual rather than their ideas.

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago

With respect, just because you don’t understand the fight doesn’t mean it’s not real. “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” is an American expression, and I feel that plain speech is called for. If you find it “vitriolic,” reflecting cruel and bitter criticism, so be it.
This woman’s ideas are 98-99% woke. Much as I despise her, I despise her wokeness even more. QED.

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago

I just knew that she would be jumped on by the usual suspect…..
Wow! How open-minded. How liberal in thought. How prescient.
She deserves to be jumped on and if I’m a “usual suspect,” I wear that badge with pride. 98, maybe 99% of this woman agenda is completely woke–she played almost every race/victim/anti-white/anti-male/anti-straight/anti-American/person of color/single mother card imaginable. When she realized that she could never be a full COW (Citizen of Wakanda, my term for so-called “people of color”), she jumped ship.
I plead guilty to a somewhat intemperate though necessary tone. I am gutted that you find it “quite appalling” (not really). I believe I add some very plain talk to the debate. This is a war. The UK surrendered its capital city without firing a shot. Oh, London is no longer an English city–or even a British city–is that appalling?
I know these people well. They are not on side except for this one narrow issue–which actually affects them personally. She is not on side. Don’t be fooled.

Keith Jefferson
Keith Jefferson
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Yes, I noticed the woke language and leftist views, but also noticed the positive points, such as being a muslim who is proud to be a US citizen and openly criticizing islamists, let alone taking on the woke establishment in the Virginia schools. Takes some courage from someone who was firmly embedded in the liberal establishment.
The truth is, if we are to defeat wokism, we need to work with people like Asra Nomani. We cannot win just by corralling those that are already on our side, we need to convince those that are of the left and are questioning the woke ideology. Rather than seeing such people as ‘not on side except for this one narrow issue’ we should see them as people that have been half won over and encourage them.
Demonising people for holding views we may not agree with just sends us down a purity spiral to the point where we all end up in a party of one, just like Monty Python’s Popular Front of Judea / Judean Popular Front. Then we have lost.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
10 months ago

Well said, Mr Jefferson. I don’t agree with the politics of many on this site, but I try to avoid making it personal and I am happy to make common cause in the most important and divisive issues of the day. It seems that the words “feminist” and “leftist” stir a great deal of hostility and what seems to be a desire to shut them down (dare I say “cancel”), but this is not what I thought this site was for, I thought it would be a place where people could rationally discuss the issues without ad hominem “arguments”, unlike the Twitterati.

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago

Whoa, mate, let’s step back. First, do the maths: she is not on side with 98-99% of her wokism, as noted. No, it doesn’t take courage at all–she’s out for herself for her son. It would take courage to repudiate her woke agenda, which she re-affirms, playing every single card (well, maybe not lesbian, who knows? who cares?)
I’ve never claimed purity and I’ve never demonized people for holding views that I disagree with. I’ve demonized people–like her–for actively hectoring me AND for trying to take away my rights. JJ used intemperate language–hate speech–I’m not safe, I’m going to cry. If you don’t like what I say, disagree with it. Persuade me.
The woke are beyond persuasion. It’s a religion. I’m not going to waste my time trying to convince born-again Christians that Jesus doesn’t love them, won’t save them, that the Hasidim should have a shave and a pork roll, that observant Muslims should…..OK, let’s not go there. These people–this lady included–want to take away my rights. That is there agenda. Only this and trans issues brings some into the reality-based area, but let’s not dismiss their deeply held religious beliefs.
If, as you suggest, we need to work with people like AN, then the battle is already lost. UK surrendered London without a shot, I’m going down fighting.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

You have never met her, never had a long conversation with her, never broken bread with her. How do you know what her agenda is ?
“I’ve never demonized people for holding views that I disagree with” …. “and she is the devil.”
You sound very frightened … of what exactly ?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
10 months ago

Well said.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

This woman absolutely disgusts me! She is a vile, disgusting, self-described “progressive, Muslim, feminist, single mother, etc….”–is there a card she didn’t play?

Presumably to avoid the accusation that she is a Trump voting back woods conservative. Shame people have to establish such credentials if they are to be taken seriously. But that’s where we are.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Hmm – then again, a person who has a mixture of opinions from different camps might just be – thinking for themselves.
And besides, most of us have only ever questioned some of our beliefs – the rest tend to go unexamined. Many, of course, have never questioned any at all, and operate entirely on automatic pilot.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

“BLM should also be described as “BLM, a Marxist, anti-white, anti-American hate group….””
I routinely refer to BLM as a racist hate group just like the NF or the BNP.

Mirax Path
Mirax Path
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

How silly you are! Asra Nomani has been an open Trump supporter since 2016. She is very good at using woke language and it seems she fooled you completely.

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago
Reply to  Mirax Path

She didn’t fool me. I stand by my comments. I said it, I meant it, I stand behind it. She fooled you.