Asra Nomani: Mama Bears are the future of American politics

November 11, 2021
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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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