Last week, The Root reported that the Texas state Senate voted 18-4 to pass Senate Bill 3—another white fragility bill masquerading as anti-Critical Race Theory legislation. The GOP in Texas—which is fast becoming the sanctuary state where terrible and oppressive laws go to thrive—wants to ditch requirements for teachers to teach lessons on subjects such as Cesar Chavez, the history of Native Americans, the women’s suffrage movement and the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., which is surprising considering how often white conservatives try to make MLK Black people’s collective father figure. It’s almost as if they’ve realized MLK didn’t fuck with the whites like that either.
Anyway, it turns out the bill Texas Republicans are pushing and imposing on educators manages to be worse than we thought. According to HuffPost, it’s more than a bill that drops requirements to teach anything contradictory to the narrative that America is and has always been a utopia of racial harmony, equal opportunity, unequivocal acceptance of patriarchy and white people not being criticized for colonizing the world to steal spices they now refuse to adequately use in their food. In fact, Senate Bill 3 ensures students don’t even have to be taught that white supremacy is “morally wrong.”
That includes eliminating a requirement that students be taught the “history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.”
The measure slices out more curriculum requirements from an already restrictive Texas education law (H.B. 3979) passed last month as part of conservatives’ fear-mongering about critical race theory, a framework for studying institutional racism that is rarely taught in K-12 schools. The term “critical race theory” is not explicitly mentioned in either the law that passed or this current Senate bill.
Forget about the fact that Texas Republicans want to give teachers agency to take a giant white-out pen to a huge chunk of American history—can we just talk about how oddly specific this provision is?
I mean, Republicans have always had a star-spangled rod up their asses about how American slavery is taught, but specifically including the KKK and the nation’s eugenics practices is a little too on the nose in sending the message that telling the truth about America is decidedly un-American.
What if a student directly asks about the KKK? Would that student’s teacher be legally allowed to respond, “You mean the wholesome organization of bedsheets-for-clothes and crosses-for-kindling enthusiasts? What about them?”
Of course, Texas lawmakers were at least smart enough not to include the words “critical race theory” in a bill that doesn’t actually have much to do with CRT (I mean, who do you think Texas is, Oklahoma?), but that doesn’t change the way an academic study on how race affects law is being fought tooth and nail by people who are literally trying to sign white feelings into laws everyone would be required to follow.
The entire Republican war on CRT easily serves as an ironic example of why CRT has merit.
Democratic state Sen. Judith Zaffirini denounced the bill’s provision as an attempt to “tie the hands of our teachers,” and asked, “How could a teacher possibly discuss slavery, the Holocaust, or the mass shootings at the Walmart in El Paso or at the Sutherland Springs church in my district without giving deference to any one perspective?” the Dallas Morning News reports. (If we’re being honest, Zaffirini really didn’t need to include the Holocaust as conservatives have never had an issue teaching about the evils of other nations—it’s only American evil that needs to be kept on the hush-hush.)
But it was Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who said the thing that proves caucasity knows no bounds. Patrick praised the legislation for rejecting “philosophies that espouse that one race or sex is better than another.”
Bro, it literally only does that by allowing teachers to omit people from their curricula whose entire existence was based on the ideology “that one race or sex is better than another.”
There’s really only one real question here: If America has come so far, why are Republicans working so hard to erase where it came so far from?