What Does Racism Look Like in Loudoun County?

By Chris Croll

“There’s no racism in our highly-educated, high-income, diverse community,” some might say, and yet the incidents I am about to share with you were told to me by people who experienced them first-hand. These events all took place here in Loudoun County within the past few years. 

A Black friend’s daughter made a new white friend in middle school. One day the girls went exploring along the woods behind the home of the new friend. While the kids were playing, the mother of the white girl called out to the Black child and said, “Hey, we only invited you over to see how well you would hang from one these trees.”

An Asian friend’s son was in seventh grade when the pandemic started. One of his schoolmates turned to him in class and said, “You brought the China virus over here.” 

A white teen noticed that whenever his Latina friend approached the women in the front office of their high school, the friend was treated brusquely and dismissively. Whenever he approached the same women, he was treated with patience and kindness.

A Black friend was playing golf at a Leesburg resort community where she lives. As she drove the cart onto the course, she was stopped and asked by an employee for her membership number. Her white companion told her that, in the 17 years the white woman had played golf at that club, she had never once been asked for her membership number. 

A Black woman went to the doctor, who happened to be white, because she thought she might have a urinary tract infection. After confirming the diagnosis, the doctor asked the patient if she had a new boyfriend. The woman replied that, no, she had been married and monogamous for 25 years. The doctor responded by saying, “Your risk of UTI’s increases with multiple partners at the same time…. this is something you need to consider going forward.” 

A fifth-grade girl of mixed race earned straight A’s in elementary school but was recommended for academic classes in middle school rather than honors classes. Despite the top grades, her teachers said they were concerned she may not be able to handle the more rigorous work.

These were not miscommunications, as some would like to believe. They were microaggressions with racism at their core. And from what my friends tell me, incidents like these are not unusual here in Loudoun, or elsewhere in the country.

You may be thinking, “I have never seen anything like that happen here.” My question to you is: Have you engaged in conversations with people of color who live here to ask them about their experiences? When you do, you are likely to hear more stories like this. 

The majority of the people who live in Loudoun county are not racist. But many of us were taught to mind our own business unless something impacts us personally. That culture of passivity inadvertently enables the status quo, which, as these stories illustrate, is hurting our friends and neighbors of color. If we want to disrupt the status quo, we must become anti-racists, which requires taking action. How? It all starts with paying closer attention.

Notice how minorities are treated at stores, restaurants, schools, hospitals and in our neighborhoods—and if you see something that does not look right, speak up. Notice which companies have people of color in leadership roles and on their boards and patronize those businesses. Notice which nonprofit organizations champion equity and donate time and money to those organizations. Do a deep dive into our country’s history to get a better understanding of how institutions like public education, the prison system, healthcare, and other industries have systematically discriminated against communities of color and raise your hand to help reform them.

Being an anti-racist also means engaging in uncomfortable conversations with the people who promote racist ideas. There are no “innocent” discriminatory comments. If someone tells you a joke that promotes a racist stereotype, respond with, “I don’t get it. What do you mean by that?” and make the person explain why they think the joke is funny. This provides a teachable moment which is especially important with our children, as racism is learned behavior.

Loudoun County is a fabulous place to live but we can create a more inclusive culture if we speak out against, and take action to eliminate, racial injustice.

Chris Croll

Chris Croll is a writer, empathy activist and communications consultant. She sits on the Board of the Ryan Bartel Foundation, a youth suicide prevention nonprofit. Croll lives in Leesburg with her husband and two teenage boys.

9 thoughts on “What Does Racism Look Like in Loudoun County?

  • 2021-04-15 at 1:54 pm

    “Notice how minorities are treated at stores, restaurants, schools, hospitals and in our neighborhoods—and if you see something that does not look right, speak up. Notice which companies have people of color in leadership roles and on their boards and patronize those businesses. Notice which nonprofit organizations champion equity and donate time and money to those organizations.”

    In other words – become a racist. See people for the color of their skin first and foremost, and not for who they are as a human. That’s what your selling Croll. That is the very definition of a racist. No thanks.

  • 2021-04-15 at 2:20 pm

    We cannot create a more inclusive county, until we deal with the systemic racism in our institutions like the Board of Supervisors. We need to remove all the white people from the board since our country was founded on racism, and racism is systemic, the first step is going to have to be eliminating the color white from the board. All white supervisors must resign. Immediately for the healing to begin. They have to pay their fair share of reparations, and it must be done publicly. Next we need to get rid of all the white people in the Sherrif’s Office, water treatment and the Board of Education.

    Croll needs to accept her part in this, and stop providing opinions, she is just exerting her white privilege and as a person of color I find this offensive.

  • 2021-04-15 at 3:37 pm

    So the writer couldn’t (or wouldn’t) find any examples of racism against whites?

    Or is this one of those things where it’s only white people who can be racist?

    Good grief. I feel sorry for people who only see skin color… both those who exhibit racist behavior and those who think like the person who penned this opinion piece.

  • 2021-04-15 at 6:18 pm

    “Chris Croll is a writer, empathy activist”

    I wonder if Ms Croll has empathy for kids of all colors that have been locked out of Loudoun schools for a year with the minority population suffering at a higher number.

    I wonder if Ms Croll has empathy for our kids being taught the Critical Race Theory, which, is racist Marxist garbage.

    I wonder if Ms Croll would take a stand against this on behalf of Loudoun youth.

    Critical race theory is a deeply ignorant and immoral doctrine of anti-white, anti-American poison whose only purpose is to turn Americans against their history, traditions, families, and fellow citizens. It is a derivative of Marxism, and argues that all white people are racists who should divest themselves of their whiteness. And they divest themselves by becoming anti-white. It’s not enough to say that you are not a racist. You have to actively do something that proves that you are not a racist.

    I would love to ask the writer if she believes that only whites can be racist.


    Lunacy in Loudoun County.

  • 2021-04-16 at 11:50 am

    ..what happened to promoting the “Good Character” concept w/ kids? Judge by character, not by race etc. LCPS wants to promote Critical Race Theory because why?? A student of the ’70s, my experiences in the HS are chill in contrast to Black/White fights when I was in school. I suggest following the Money Trail as to whom/what entities within LCPS are making bank on this concept…

  • 2021-04-16 at 8:22 pm

    The writing of Ms. Croll is laugh out loud funny. She is either too ignorant or arrogant (maybe both?) to realize that the very idea she is promoting is racist. She also doesn’t seem to think that racism can happen to white people- which happens all the time. As a matter of fact, you can pretty much do and say whatever you want to a white person these days and there are zero repercussions, but use a word that has nothing to do with racism (“thug” anyone?) and suddenly you’re a raving racist because some “woke” person decided that a word that doesn’t have any racist origins is now racist.

    I’ve said this for years, but Democrats and white liberal “woke” people are the epitome of racist. They tell minorities that they should scream at the top of their lungs for “equality”- but create programs that show them they are not equal- grade curving in schools, special admission requirements to schools, programs that keep minorities dependent on the government, etc. This is not equality, this is special treatment, and it is only being done to secure the minority vote- these Democrats do not care about minorities at all, they never have and all they do is use minorities for their own purposes. If minorities truly want equality- they should not vote Democrat for at least 12 years and see how much better their lives become. I know the feeling of inadequacy that has been ingrained into the minds of minorities, by the Democrats for so many years will be hard to shake off, that’s why I say give any other party but the Democrats 12 years to truly make changes that result in total equality. The Democrats are only interested in gaining and keeping power for their own self serving interests.

  • 2021-04-17 at 12:14 pm

    Of course racism exists, among all races.
    The author of this article could just as easily cite episodes of racism by minorities, but chose to portray a biased point of view.

    Racism is exists because people are naturally comfortable with the familiar and suspicious of differences.
    People are products of their experiences and unfortunately, society does experience
    disproportionate crime in some racial minorities.
    Attitudes toward others are formed from these experiences.
    Fortunately,, positive experiences can and do outweigh negative stereotypes.
    Fortunately, most people accept others as individuals and can overcome influences of bias.
    We would all be better of if we focused on our similarities and reject divisive influences like this article.
    MLK had the right idea of “judging others by the content of their character and not the color of their skin”.
    Unfortunately, BLM, CRT and liberal woke politicians and so-called activists insist on hyping racial differences that only serve to further divide society.

  • 2021-04-18 at 2:33 pm

    What does racism look like in LoCo?

    It looks like a bunch of white guys crying about how minorities are racist too. In other words, it looks like the guys on this comment thread- obtuse, kinda squishy, and unable to look within themselves.

    • 2021-04-19 at 1:35 pm

      Thank you for your brilliant assessment.

      You know the commenters are all white and male, how? Please be specific so we can understand your incredible insight.

      How about answering the question whether it’s possible for non-whites to be racist?

      A simple “Yes” or “No” will suffice.

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