Louisiana Lawmaker Wants to Ban ‘Divisive Concepts’ Like Critical Race Theory, Also Wants to Teach About the ‘Good’ in Slavery

Illustration for article titled Louisiana Lawmaker Wants to Ban ‘Divisive Concepts’ Like Critical Race Theory, Also Wants to Teach About the ‘Good’ in Slavery
Screenshot: Louisiana Democrats/ Twitter

At this point, I just need the Republican Party to admit that it’s the answer to the age-old question: Is there a heaven for a Klan member?

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Republicans might as well give in to the Marjorie Taylor Greene energy they try to hide the stink of and just rename their party the “Anglo-Saxons R’ Us Club.”

A Louisiana lawmaker has proposed a bill that would ban the teachings of “divisive concepts” like Critical Race Theory into oblivion, or at least from schools and colleges in the state. During a House committee meeting on Tuesday, Rep. Ray Garofalo Jr. defended his bill which is generally just a white fragility bill copied from the whiny wypipo template used by other elected officials from the “Suits Instead of White Hoods Party” (I’m still working on alternative names here) like ex-President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Tom “Somebody Has to Pick My” Cotton (R-Ark.). But Garofalo, while defending his proposed legislation, took his caucasity a step further by suggesting that schools should teach about “the good” in slavery, not just the bad.

From the Washington Post:

“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 Jr. said.

“There is no good to slavery though,” Rep. Stephanie Hilferty (R) swiftly replied before the House burst into laughter.

Garofalo Jr. quickly walked back the comment, saying, “I didn’t mean to imply that. I don’t believe that and I know that’s not the case,” but that didn’t stop his statement from going viral on social media — and possibly helping to doom his bill.

Nah, bro—you didn’t “imply” anything; you said with your entire chest that there was good in slavery that should be taught while defending legislation that bans the teaching of “divisive concepts.”

Here’s the thing: Garofalo’s Freudian slip proves that when conservatives talk about divisiveness, they’re really just talking about shit that hurts white people’s feelings.

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There is absolutely no way an educator can teach Black American history thoroughly without focusing on white American racism. Also, conservatives have no problem with “divisive” teaching as long as the divide leans to the right.

When I was in high school, I watched Black students get suspended for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because the words “liberty and justice for all” were “divisive” to a people who have experienced so much injustice and loss of liberty. The whitewashed version of U.S. history that has traditionally been taught in schools has always been viewed as “divisive” by people who want to see the same energy put into non-white American history that is expended when filling textbooks with cover-to-cover whiteness.

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It’s why a Florida official from the “When They Go Low, We Hang Them High or Find Shorter Nooses Party” claimed that the three-fifths compromise wasn’t about race and basically said it was about keeping America running smoothly. Only white people could view the reduction of Black humanity for the good of America as some non-evil nuance in the nation’s history of slavery.

Anyway, Garofalo went on to talk about how his bill would take the “politics out of the classroom”—because only to white people is racism a political issue—and ensure that schools provide “a learning environment free of discrimination.” (Which is the exact opposite of what they would be doing if they’re only being restricted in how they can teach Black history.)

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I guess I need to be fair to the “Optional Leg Washing Party” and point out that Hilferty, who is also a Republican, did a decent job of pushing back on Garofalo’s paranoid white nonsense.

More from the Post:

“I have no doubt there are certain factions in this country that are trying to infiltrate and indoctrinate our students,” he said. Garofalo Jr. also said critical race theory “furthers racism and fuels hate.”

But he faced intense criticism from both Republicans and Democrats who argued that telling schools what to teach could violate the First Amendment. Critics also claimed the bill’s language was too vague and could scare teachers and professors away from thoughtful and difficult discussions.

Pressed by Hilferty to explain the motivation behind the bill, Garofalo Jr. claimed instructors were teaching “theories” instead of facts, and alleged parents had complained about teaching materials “saying the United States is a racist country.”

“You can teach the good, the bad, the ugly,” he said. “But you cannot say that the theories are facts. You can teach facts as facts. You can teach theories as theories.”

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White conservatives have no idea what CRT is, and that’s why Garofalo is making an argument so devoid of logic that he doesn’t seem to realize that if CRT was taught in schools, it would be taught as theory unless educators changed the name to “Critical Race Fact,” which literally no one is talking about doing.

But why bother actually knowing what you’re talking about while drafting legislation, amirite? We’re just talking about keeping politics out of education here.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

DISCUSSION

A lot of states are tripling down on the whole “if we don’t talk about racism there won’t be any racism” approach.