South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed legislation that would ban public universities in the state from using training material that could possibly cause racially based “discomfort,” according to The Hill.
Similar to a bill passed in Florida that prohibits schools and businesses from making white people feel discomfort when teaching about racism.
In a statement, Gov. Noem said, “No student or teacher should have to endorse Critical Race Theory in order to attend, graduate from, or teach at our public universities. College should remain a place where freedom of thought and expression are encouraged, not stifled by political agendas.”
If you still do not know what critical race theory is, it aims to look at how racism has molded every part of American society such as public policy and institutions such as the justice system. It looks at how those policies and institutions were made to conserve the social, economic, and political inequalities between white people and people of color.
Although House Bill 1012 has no mention in its text of CRT, the statement also says that the bill “prohibits colleges from requiring students and teachers to attend trainings or orientations based on Critical Race Theory.”
Also similarly to bills passed in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, the bill lists seven “divisive concepts” that are banned from being part of trainings for students and faculty at state universities.
But, the bill does not ban the teaching of systemic racism in societal institutions, although that is the framework of critical race theory, according to The Hill.
In a previous statement from the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, the organization said that passage of the bill, “pens the door for a wide range of interpretations that could be used to chill free speech and academic freedom, discouraging open and honest discussions about systemic racism in classrooms and in higher education communities. That House Bill 1012 passed shows the very need for the types of discussion our government is trying to prohibit.”