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The North Carolina General Assembly is considering legislation that ostensibly bans discrimination in the state’s classrooms. But the real purpose of the statute is to ban discussions of racism. Among other things, it prohibits teaching anything that might cause students to feel “discomfort,” and it prohibits diversity training.
The bill begins:
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT TO DEMONSTRATE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S INTENT THAT STUDENTS,
TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND OTHER SCHOOL EMPLOYEES RECOGNIZE THE EQUALITY AND RIGHTS OF ALL PERSONS AND TO PROHIBIT PUBLIC SCHOOL UNITS FROM PROMOTING CERTAIN CONCEPTS THAT ARE CONTRARY TO THAT INTENT.
Public school units shall not promote that:
(1) One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
(2) An individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist,
sexist, or oppressive.
(3) An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment
solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.
(4) An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or
(5) An individual, solely 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.
(6) Any individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, should feel
discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress.
(7) A meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist.
(8) The United States was created by members of a particular race or sex for the purpose of oppressing members of another race or sex.
(9) The United States government should be violently overthrown.
(10) Particular character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, privileges, or beliefs should be ascribed to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the
individual’s race or sex.
(11) The rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships
and struggles among racial or other groups.
(12) All Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (13) Governments should deny to any person within the government’s jurisdiction
the equal protection of the law.
Public school units shall (i) notify the De
Justin Parmenter was curious about the hundreds of letters that parents wrote to the Lieutenant Governor about the need for this legislation, and he filed an open records request to gain access to them. Many were avowedly racist.
Many of the 506 complaints to Robinson’s task force come from North Carolinians who appear deeply concerned about what they perceive as a move away from a white Christian-centered system of public education.
These submissions include recommendations to cancel Black History Month, pleas to stop making white students feel guilty by teaching so much about slavery–which one individual remarked “is getting old”–and suggestions to end hiring practices aimed at increasing diversity of school staff.
They provide a helpful lens to understand the real motivation behind moves across the country to restrict classroom discussions on race and various types of oppression under the false pretense of fighting the boogeyman “critical race theory.”
While the outward tactics and messaging of this movement may be a bit more subtle than in years past, its underlying sentiment feels very familiar.