Fact Checking the Fact Checkers: What Anti-Critical Race Theory Legislation Actually Does

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After the House of Representatives voted 415-14 to make Juneteenth a national holiday, New York Times national political reporter Astead Herndon tweeted, “its kinda amazing: juneteenth is gonna be a federal holiday for reasons teachers won’t be allowed to explain to their students out of fear critical race theory backlash.”

Herndon’s claim is outrageously false as many on twitter quickly pointed out, including WFAA Dallas reporter Chris Sadeghi who responded, “This is the type of tweet that gets shared a lot and many will use similar logic to support their stance. But there’s nothing banning the teachings of emancipation. In fact, the Texas law mandates the history of slavery/white supremacy be taught. Please don’t fall for this.”

The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies does in fact require the teaching of “the abolitionist movement, which led to the Emancipation Proclamation” as Sadeghi notes.

Herndon’s false claim about what is taught in our nation’s schools is understandable, however, when you consider how his employer, The New York Times, covered recent Texas legislation that sought to ban the use of critical race theory in Texas schools.

Under the headline Texas Pushes to Obscure the State’s History of Slavery and Racism, The Times claims that “nearly a dozen other Republican-led states” are seeking “to ban or limit how the role of slavery and pervasive effects of racism can be taught.”

“Idaho was the first state to sign into law a measure that would withhold funding from schools that teach such lessons,” The Times continues. “And lawmakers in Louisiana, New Hampshire and Tennessee have introduced bills that would ban teaching about the enduring legacies of slavery and segregationist laws, or that any state or the country is inherently racist or sexist.”

Everything The Times published in this paragraph is false, except their claim that some of these states banned the teaching “that any state or the country is inherently racist or sexist.” That part is true. Here is what the legislation from each of these states actually does:

Texas

Senate Bill 2202 forbids any teacher, administrator, or other employee in a state agency from requiring any of the following concepts in their course work:

(1) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;

(2) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;

(3) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex;

(4) members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex;

(5) an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex;

(6)  an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;

(7) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or

(8) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.

Idaho

House Bill 377 forbids any public school or public institution of higher education from directing or otherwise compelling any student to adopt the following tenets:

(i) That any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior;

(ii) That individuals should be adversely treated on the basis of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin;

(iii) That individuals, by virtue of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin.

Louisiana

House Bill 564 forbids any trainings provided to students or employees that promote “divisive concepts” which the legislation then specifically defines as:

(a) That one race or sex is inherentlysuperior or inferior to another race or sex.

(b) That either the United States of America or the state of Louisiana is fundamentally, institutionally, or systemically racist or sexist.

(c) That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently or systemically racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, or has negative or positive characteristics that inhere in the individual’s DNA.

(d) That an individual should be discriminated against, favored, or receive differential treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex.

(e) That an individual of one race or sex should be treated disrespectfully regarding that individual’s race or sex.

(f) That an individual’s moral character is anyway defined, described, or determined by the individual’s race or sex.

(g) That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility or is to be held accountable for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.

(h) That any individual should feel or be made to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological or emotional distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.

(i) That the concept of meritocracy or traits such as a strong work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by a particular race or sex to oppress another race or sex.

(j) That the concepts of capitalism, free markets, or working for a private party in exchange for wages are racist and sexist or oppress a given race or sex.

(k) That the concepts of racial equity and gender equity, meaning the unequal treatment of individuals because of their race, sex, or national origin, should be given preference in education and advocacy over the concepts of racial equality and gender equality, meaning the equal treatment of individuals regardless of their race, sex, or national origin.

(l) Any form of race or sex scape goating or race or sex stereo typing.

New Hampshire

 House Bill 544 forbids the teaching, instruction, or training of any employee or student to adopt or believe any “divisive concepts” which the legislation specifically defines as:

(a) One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;

(b) The state of New Hampshire or the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist;

(c) An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;

(d) An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex;

(e) Members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex;

(f) An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex;

(g) An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;

(h) Any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or

(i) Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.

(j) The term “divisive concepts” includes any other form of race or sex stereotyping or any other form of race or sex scapegoating.

Tennessee

Senate Bill 623 prohibits and local education association or public charters school from “including or promoting the following concepts as part of a course of instruction” including:

(1) One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;

(2) An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously;

(3) An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of the individual’s race or sex;

(4) An individual’s moral character is determined by the individual’s race or sex;

(5) An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;

(6) An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual’s race or sex;

(7) A meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist, or designed by a particular race or sex to oppress members of another race or sex;

(8) This state or the United States is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist;

(9) Promoting or advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government;

(10) Promoting division between, or resentment of, a race, sex, religion, creed, nonviolent political affiliation, social class, or class of people; or

(11) Ascribing character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, privileges, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the individual’s race or sex.

The Times Is Plain Wrong.

As you can see after actually reading the bills, none of them “ban teaching about the enduring legacies of slavery and segregationist laws” as The Times claims. What they do do is reaffirm America’s core commitment to equality: that “no sex, race, ethnicity, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior;” that no individual should be “adversely treated on the basis of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin;” and that no individual should be held responsible “for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin.”

These core American concepts of equality and individual responsibility are antithetical to critical race theory just as they are antithetical to Marxism. Where Marxism asked Americans to understand history as a struggle between classes, critical race theory asks Americans to understand history as a struggle between races.

This is a fundamentally un-American idea and state legislators have every right to make sure it is not being taught in our nation’s schools.

>>> WATCH: Christopher Ruffo breaks down what critical race theory in Critical Race Theory: Coming to a School Near You?

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