Critical race theory—an advanced academic framework scrutinizing how centuries of racist policies like slavery and segregation have influenced current American political, economic, and social conditions—is almost exclusively taught in colleges and universities.
But if you ask a Republican elected official—such as Virginia's new Republican Governor, Glenn Youngkin—you'd think teachers across the nation were spoon feeding Sister Souljah to six year olds.
In his first days in office, Youngkin issued Executive Order Number One which banned the teaching of critical race theory in Virginia public schools, even though there's virtually no evidence that the advanced academic theory is taught in Virginia schools.
Nevertheless, Youngkin signed the order and, in the days after, announced the launch of a tip line for parents to report their kids' teachers if they believe these educators are in violation of the order. The tip line comes in the form of an email address where, Youngkin says, parents can "send us any instances where they feel their fundamental rights are being violated, where their children are not being respected [and] where there are inherently divisive practices in their schools.”
Conservative hysteria over critical race theory has resulted in teachers losing their jobs for simply relaying accurate historical events. It's resulted in threats against school board members. The McCarthy-esque efforts to weed out anyone even thought to be promoting the theory has led to calls for live video feeds of classrooms and for exclusively "patriotic" lesson plans.
In an effort to offset this intimidation of Virginia's teachers, more and more people are sending fake tips to the email tip line (firstname.lastname@example.org) after this cheeky tweet from Virginia human rights lawyer Qasim Rashid.
This isn't the first time social media has inundated right-wing tip lines in an effort to protect their targets. After Texas passed its abortion ban last year, social media users spammed Texas Right to Life's tip line, designed to report anyone undergoing or facilitating illegal abortions. In 2017, the Trump administration—with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) established a hotline "to acknowledge and serve the needs of crime victims and their families who have been impacted by crimes committed by removable criminal aliens.” The result? Callers spammed the hotline with reports of violent space aliens.
This latest social media mobilization didn't disappoint either.
Their efforts were celebrated and encouraged across social media.
It remains to be seen if the joke tips will end up inundating the email enough to retire it.