Texas Republicans passed a bill Tuesday prohibiting teachers in the state’s public schools from speaking on current events, white supremacy, and racism.
The bill, which passed the Texas House by a vote of 79-65, according to the Huffington Post, prohibits social studies and civics teachers from teaching that one race is superior to another race or gender. Educators are also prohibited from teaching that a person bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by members of the same race or sex.
The bill has already passed the Senate meaning it will end up on Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk soon. He is expected to sign it. Rep. James Talarico (D) told Yahoo News the bill is crafted in a very specific way.
“You can talk about race in the classroom, but you can’t talk about privilege or white supremacy. It doesn’t outright ban talking about race, but the idea is to put in landmines so any conversation about race in the classroom would be impossible.”
Talarico added the bill has nothing to do with educating children, instead, it’s a way for Gov. Greg Abbott to win the approval of Texas Republicans as he mulls a 2024 presidential run.
The legislation also states teachers do not have to take cultural proficiency and equity training if it makes them uncomfortable or if teachers feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress,” because of their race or gender.
The bill appears to be a part of a larger Republican push to hide, whitewash, or flat-out stop teaching about racism and the plight Black Americans have faced in the U.S. before, during, and after slavery. Many Republican states are banning critical race theory (CRT).
Civil rights groups are calling for Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt to be removed from the Tulsa Race Massacre Commission after he signed a bill banning CRT. Even talking about it has been hard for Republicans. Black Republican Vernon Jones, who’s running for Georgia governor, either couldn’t or refused to explain CRT in a virtual interview, earlier this month.