The Republican-controlled Tennessee state House passed a bill on Wednesday that would ban public schools from including critical race theory in their curriculums.
The legislation was one of several bills passed by the General Assembly on the last day before state lawmakers adjourned for the year.
Tennessee’s House of Representatives votes 69-23 to ban the instruction of certain concepts related to race and racism in public schools.
BREAKING: The Tennessee State House passes a bill banning critical race theory indoctrination in public schools. The legislation, which moves to the Senate, would prohibit schools from promoting race essentialism, collective guilt, and state-sanctioned racism. The fight is on. pic.twitter.com/RtIVb8lcyQ
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) May 5, 2021
The House and Senate versions included several differences as the legislation moved forward. The bills then moved to a conference committee Wednesday.
According to a summary of the bill, the concepts from critical race theory that would be forbidden include:
• “One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.”
• “An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously.”
• “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.”
• “An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual’s race or sex.”
• “A meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist, or designed by a particular race or sex to oppress members of another race or sex.”
• “This state or the United States is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist.”
Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey proposed multiple additions, including forbidding teaching students that “the rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups,” according to The Tennessean.
“That is the very definition of critical race theory,” Kelsey said. “I was subject to this teaching 20 years ago in law school and know it very well, and that is the very definition of it.”
Some Democratic lawmakers disputed that CRT is an act of racism.
“Critical race theory is rooted in critical theory, which argues that social problems are created and influenced by societal structures and cultural assumptions,” said state Sen. Katrina Robinson, a Democrat from Memphis, according to WTVC-TV.
“How ironic that a body made up of a simple majority of white privileged men can determine whether even my grandchildren can see reflections of themselves in the history lessons at their school,” said Robinson, who is black.
GOP lawmaker says the quiet part out loud:
“It doesn’t do any good to teach our children that any one race is responsible for the historical actions of another.”
We disagree: Truth is good. The bill banning racial oppression education is up again today.https://t.co/CfM1GGTWft
— TN Senate Democrats (@TNSenateDems) May 4, 2021
“What we have been teaching our children is a lie,” said Rep. Antonio Parkinson, a Memphis Democrat, according to Chalkbeat Tennessee.
“Under this amendment, the real truth about George Floyd is not going to be taught, and that’s a historical event.”
The legislation now heads to Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for his signature.
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