Virginia Dems claim that teaching about evils of communism will offend Asian Americans. How offensive

Opinion by Helen Raleigh 

Virginia Democrats recently voted no on a bill that would have required schools to teach about the danger of communism and the suffering of its victims after a teachers’ union claimed such a curriculum would incite anti-Asian hate. 

The bill, HB1816, requires Virginia’s governor to recognize Nov. 7 as Victims of Communism Day, all public elementary and secondary schools in the commonwealth to honor victims of Communism on this day, and teach a curriculum about the evils of communism. 

A bill like this is long overdue because communism is responsible for the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century. These victims had names, faces, unfulfilled hopes and dreams. They were husbands, wives, daughters, sons, uncles, aunties, grandparents or grandchildren. 

In Communist China alone, an estimated 30 million people were starved to death during the Great Chinese Famine (1958-1962). The victims included my baby uncle, who was born in 1959 and died in my grandmother’s arms. Additionally, I lost two granduncles, a grand-auntie and her family of five, and my maternal great-grandmother. 

We, the living, owe it to those victims not to forget them and treat their deaths as mere statistics. Instead, we must honor them by remembering how they lived and died and passing important historical lessons down to future generations so the atrocity we experienced will never happen again.

As a survivor of communism, I’m greatly troubled by survey after survey showing that more American youth prefer communism and its close cousin, socialism, over free market capitalism. I don’t blame these young people, but I fault our nation’s education system for failing to teach them the evils of communism/socialism. 

Historian George Santayana warned, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Therefore, I applaud a bill like HB1816 that requires public elementary and secondary schools in Virginia to commemorate all victims on Nov. 7, the Victims of Communism Day, and teach their students about the evils of communism. 

Yet, Virginia’s largest teachers’ union opposed HB1816 with an absurd claim that teaching about the dangers of communism and honoring its victims would incite anti-Asian hate because out of five current communist countries, four of them (China, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam) are in Asia. Since the Democrats are beholding to teachers’ unions, it is unsurprising that Virginia Democrats rejected HB1816. 

But do the teachers’ union, and the Democrats assume all Asians are communists? Or are the teachers’ union and the Democrats unaware that most victims in these four communist regimes were Asians? Or do the teachers’ union and the Democrats imagine non-Asian students cannot differentiate between communist regimes and their Asian American classmates, friends and neighbors? 

The claim that teaching communism would offend Asians is offensive to all Asian Americans. Not teaching the evils of communism dishonors millions of victims and does a disservice to all students in Virginia. 

If Virginia’s teachers’ union and the state’s Democrats sincerely want to address anti-Asian hate, an excellent place to start is to end their war on merit in schools. 

Take Virginia’s famed Thomas Jefferson High School (TJ) as an example. After the left-learning school board canceled TJ’s merit-based and race-blind admission exam in the name of “equity,” the number of qualified Asian American students admitted by TJ plummeted – Asian students make up 54% of the class of 2025, a dramatic decrease from 73% of the class of 2021. 

Liberal officials at TJ also reportedly withheld notifications of National Merit awards from the school’s students and families in the last five years, spoiling these students’ college applications and scholarships. These officials’ actions disproportionally hurt Asian students because they make up the majority of TJ’s student body. In January this year, Gov. Glenn Youngkin asked the state’s Attorney General Jason Miyares to investigate whether TJ officials’ action violated affected students’ civil rights. 

The hypocrisy of Democrats and the teachers’ unions is that while they blame systemic racism for all unequal outcomes in America, they actively practiced anti-Asian hate in our education system. From eliminating gifted and talented programs in K-12 to canceling merit-based entrance exams to elite high schools, to dropping standard tests from college admissions, and defending the so-called “holistic” college admissions at institutions such as Harvard University, their objective is to limit Asian American’s representation because we are the “wrong” kind of minority. 

It is preposterous that the left suddenly declares they are protecting us by refusing to teach about the dangers and victims of communism. Fortunately, HB1816 passed Virginia’s legislature with the majority support from Republicans. Virginia students of all races will soon learn about communism and remember its victims. American writer Alex Haley once said that studying history is “no longer merely an academic exercise but may contain our world’s fate and our destiny.”

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