https://truthout.org/articles/new-oklah ... iscomfort/Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on Friday barring grade schools from teaching lessons about race or sex that may make students uncomfortable.
Schools in the state can no longer teach lessons about race that may cause “discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress” to students. The bills passed the House and the Senate by wide margins. Both chambers are overwhelmingly controlled by Republicans, none of whom voted against the bill.
HB 1775 also bars educators from teaching students that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex” and the Republicans sponsoring the bill claim that they’re concerned about the teaching of critical race theory — though the implicit claim that educators were teaching either of the aforementioned concepts is dubious at best.
Critical race theory does not teach that any races are superior to others; rather, it simply holds that racism is deeply rooted in the country and is encoded in laws today, which the U.S. education system already largely fails to teach anyway. In trying to remove education on systemic racism in the country, Republicans have further embedded systemic racism into law, thus proving the point put forth by critical race theory.
“It’s a law that protects white students from white fragility by banning any subject that forces them to think critically about American racism past, present or future,” wrote Zack Linly for The Root. “This isn’t about education, it’s about racism…. Banning [critical race theory] does just as much to further the divide as teaching it apparently does. Black feelings are being disregarded while white feelings are being catered to.”
Many advocates and educators were appalled at the passage of the bill.
The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission wrote, “We are extremely disappointed that Oklahoma Legislators, including Governor Stitt, chose to support HB1775 which diametrically opposes the work of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.” The group was created with the aim of educating people about the white mob that killed hundreds in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Tulsa 100 years ago. Stitt is a commissioner in the group.
“The intention of the bill clearly aims to limit teaching the racial implications of America’s history. The bill serves no purpose than to fuel the racism and denial that afflicts our communities and our nation,” writes the commission. “It is a sad day and a stain on Oklahoma.” The Black Wall Street Times has called on Stitt’s removal from the commission in light of his signing of the bill.
Education officials in the state have also spoken out against the bill. Paula Lewis, the chairwoman of the Oklahoma City School Board, called HB 1775 “an outright racist and oppressive piece of legislation” on Twitter.
“I am appalled at the flagrant attempt to erase factual, incomprehensible history that has occurred in the United States,” Lewis wrote in a Twitter thread. “Our history as a country and as a state, if told accurately, is uncomfortable and should be heartbreaking for Americans that look like me, white.”
As with attacks on protesting, voting and trans people, Republicans in state legislatures have launched initiatives in half a dozen states to try and ban the teaching of critical race theory or their approximation of the subject, which is often flawed or outright wrong. The use of the term “critical race theory” is likely a distraction from their true aim of keeping white supremacy front and center in all curricula.
“The term critical race theory is being used by Republicans in a loose way to capture all sorts of critical thought about the histories and legacies of racism in this country,” Amna Akbar, an associate law professor at Ohio State University, told The Hill. “It’s a bogeyman that they’re constructing around critical attention to the history of the country.”
https://truthout.org/articles/while-dem ... g-slavery/While Democrats Work on Infrastructure, Republicans Are Busy Defending Slavery
As the nation grapples with fighting for racial justice and against police-perpetrated murders of Black Americans, Republicans have evidently found a different cause worth fighting for: making racist, seemingly unprompted defenses of slavery.
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said that he doesn’t believe that 1619, the year that enslaved Africans first arrived in the U.S., is an important date in history. People have “exotic notions” about important points in U.S. history, and 1619 isn’t one of them, McConnell said.
“I just simply don’t think [racism is] part of the core underpinning of what American civic education ought to be about,” McConnell continued, speaking at the University of Louisville. McConnell has gone on a tirade against The New York Times’s 1619 Project about slavery in the U.S. and Democrats’ anti-racism agenda — though anti-anti-racism, as commentators have pointed out, is simply just racism.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, who headed the 1619 Project on slavery that has Republicans up in arms, spoke on CNN about McConnell’s comments. “This is not about the facts of history — it’s about trying to prohibit the teaching of ideas they don’t like,” she said.
Indeed, many Republicans have long embraced racism but have been emboldened by former President Donald Trump’s style of being openly and brazenly so — to the point that some political journalists have noted that the GOP wants to be called racist so that they can play the victim and claim to be silenced by anti-racists.
Perhaps that’s why Tennessee Republican State Rep. Justin Lafferty on Tuesday suggested that the Three-Fifths Compromise, which counted enslaved people as less than one whole person in population counts, was actually a good thing because it helped to end slavery. But it didn’t; it only further “sanctioned slavery more decidedly than any previous action,” as historian Staughton Lynd writes.
Or maybe it’s why Colorado Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks also defended the Three-Fifths Compromise last month, saying that it “was not impugning anybody’s humanity” to count an enslaved person as less than one human being.
Republicans evidently don’t believe that it was just some elements of slavery that were positive, however; Louisiana Republican State Rep. Ray Garofalo Jr. last week said that schools should teach “the good” of slavery alongside the bad. “If you are having a discussion on whatever the case may be, on slavery, then you can talk about everything dealing with slavery: the good, the bad, the ugly,” Garofalo said.
There is, of course, no “good” to slavery, and it’s abhorrently racist to suggest as such. Garofalo later retracted his statement, but only after Democrats circulated a video of him speaking on the “good” of slavery that now has nearly a million views.
Regardless of the GOP’s intentions, it’s no coincidence that they are raging an attack on anti-racism just as rallies and protests for Black lives have swept the country. Though the GOP’s overt defenses of slavery all happened in recent weeks, the right has been waging racist attacks prominently in the past year.
For months, the right has been railing against critical race theory — scholarly work with the goal of dismantling oppression and white supremacy — despite lacking a clear understanding of what it is. They are claiming that racism has been eradicated in the U.S. even as Black Americans face death at the hands of the state simply for walking down the street or while sleeping in their homes.
It’s evidently not enough for the GOP that racism is alive and well in the U.S. — the party seems to be operating on a mandate to enshrine racism in the nation forever — and normalizing defenses of slavery appear to be part of that strategy.
This is just the continuation of the GOP Southern Strategy that was started in the 1960s. Only now it is not just in the south but it is nationwide.
More on Southern Strategy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy