Republican attack ad features Virginia mother who wanted to ban a classic novel from her son's class

Republican attack ad features Virginia mother who wanted to ban a classic novel from her son's class

With Virginia's 2021 gubernatorial race only a week away and polls from Emerson College, Monmouth University and others showing it to be a dead heat, Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are slamming one another with attacks. A Youngkin ad airing this week features Laura Murphy, the Fairfax County mother who pushed to have author Toni Morrison's classic 1987 novel "Beloved" banned from her son's high school English curriculum in 2013.

While McAuliffe's campaign is attacking Youngkin for his association with former President Donald Trump, Youngkin is trying to criticize McAuliffe over "critical race theory" — a field of academic study which argues that racism of the past affects today's institutions. CRT, contrary to what many Republicans are claiming, isn't being taught in public schools; it is only taught in some colleges and universities. But that isn't stopping Youngkin from campaigning on banning CRT from Virginia's public schools, and the Murphy ad fits right in with Youngkin's racial fear-mongering.

Laura Murphy - McAuliffe Shut Us Out (:60) www.youtube.com

Morrison, an iconic African-American author who died in 2019, won a Pulitzer Prize for "Beloved" — which depicts the experiences of former slaves following the Civil War. When Murphy wanted it removed her son's high school curriculum in 2013, she attacked the book as "disgusting" during an interview with the Washington Post and said that it was "hard for" her son Blake Murphy "to handle."

Eight years later in Youngkin's ad, Laura Murphy tells viewers, "When my son showed me his reading assignment, my heart sunk. It was some of the most explicit material you can imagine." She talked about her efforts get a law passed so parents could intervene to stop their kids from encountering such works, which McAuliffe vetoed as governor. Her son now works for the National Republican Congressional Committee as a lawyer, the Washington Post reported.

"In the final week of this race, Glenn Youngkin has doubled down on the same divisive culture wars that have fueled his campaign from the very beginning," McAuliffe's campaign said in response to the ad. "Youngkin's closing message of book banning and silencing esteemed Black authors is a racist dog whistle designed to gin up support from the most extreme elements of his party — mainly his top endorser and surrogate, Donald Trump."

Some Twitter users have been weighing on the ad, including The Week's Ryan Cooper:

A Democratic communications staffer noted:




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