The letters addressed to white parents of Highland Park Independent School District students arrived by FedEx in mid-July. Sent by Dallas Justice Now, the language on the letters was extreme: If you are a parent of a white student, pledge not to let your child apply to or attend Ivy League schools so that a student of color may have the admissions spot.
"Don’t be a racist, sign the pledge," the letter said. Refusing to sign would get you publicly “outed” in the school district, the letter added.
Anger, then disbelief, spilled out in Park Cities Facebook groups, which includes the wealthy, mostly white enclaves of Highland Park and University Park just north of Dallas. While many were outraged by the letter, just as many questioned whether it was just a mean hoax meant to sow division in the community.
“I think it was 100% driven to scare people into thinking that Black Lives Matter was requesting this, and if you vote any way but Republican this is what your future life will be like,” said Casie Tomlin, a mom of an 8-year-old son in the school district who received the letter.
What unfolded next thrust the Park Cities onto the national stage in a story woven with the issues being waged in culture wars across the country: racial inequity, defunding the police, misinformation and identity politics...
If what is now a large amount of evidence suggesting that Dallas Justice Now is a hoax proves to be correct, it points to a misinformation campaign that goes beyond a simple false flag operation, said Ethan Porter, an assistant professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.