Texas Anti Racists Bill Allows Racism to Flourish in the Classroom
Section H6 of HB3979
The argument proponents of HB3979, the anti-Critical Race Theory bill as its commonly labeled, is that it strives to eliminate racists education from the school system that is targeted toward white students. Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola to prove this point held up Anastasia Higginbotham’s book, Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness as an example of such racist educational materials.
Sen. Borris Miles, D-Houston dismantled Hughes use of the book by pointing out the author’s intent was to reject white supremacy. He read passages to prove his point, and clearly Hughes had not read the book.
But that was a minor skirmish during the Senate debate as the book was abandoned by proponents of the bill and their focus shifted to the anti-racists’ mandates of the legislation.
The bill is merely removing the harmful teaching of race and racism, they argue. Such instruction is dangerous because students will come to question American exceptionalism and fail to understand the greatness of the United States.
The proponents cloak themselves as the anti-racists in the debate. They are trying to tamp down the current heated debates and shield children from dangerous pedagogies derived from Critical Race Theory and the New York Times 1619 Project.
At least that is their rhetoric.
During the early morning hours of May 22 HB3797 was amended with a significant change to how race and racism can be discussed in the classroom. A school may not punish “a student for discussing, or have a chilling effect on student discussion of” what the law bars educators from discussing.
That is h6.
The amendment allows students the freedom to make racists and sexist comments against their fellow classmates with impunity.
A student can now without fear of punishment argue that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.” More importantly a student can cause other students “psychological distress” on pointing out a perceived racial or gender inferiority.
The amendment should be called the Southlake Carrol school district amendment as it clearly aligns with the current events within that community where students complained to no avail about the racist comments they dealt with from fellow students. The school district’s efforts to address their complaints were dismantled by the newly elected school board that was opposed to addressing the issues within their schools in any meaningful way.
So, the proponents of the bill have it both ways. They cuff educators and school districts from engaging in the history of race, racism, and its contemporary manifestations, but allow racist commentary to flourish under the guise of student free speech.
Clearly the bill is not attempting to eliminate racism from the schools. It merely seeks to dictate to educators a partisan view of history and civics education. The amendment shields students so they can use racists and sexist comments toward their classmates, educators, and administrators.
Making racist and sexist statements against classmates, educators and administrators is harassment by any measure. That is why section h6 needed to be inserted into the legislation to legally allow racists and sexists comments. Clearly the proponents of HB3979 know this fact and needed this section.
Like all things in life some educators and schools are better at teaching than others. For every Southlake Carrol school district that failed to address its history of racism and continues to ignore issues of racism there are other districts that attempt to do the opposite.
All one must do is see the growing offerings of Mexican American and African American classes across the state. However, those courses are now in danger because their course learning standards will be rewritten with essentially mandates to avoid or chill discusses of the history of racism and how the issue of race continues to play out in today’s society.
Regrettably, the legislator did not look to those schools or educators for solutions. Over 200 historians, and social studies educators have signed a petition renouncing the bill. Dozens of school districts and others involved with the teaching of history and dealing with current events have likewise renounced the bill.
Those voices were ignored because the intent of the bill was never to address issues of racism and sexism within the classroom despite proponents cloaking themselves in the bills anti-racist/sexist directives. The intent was to return social studies curriculum back to a time when it ignored issues of racism and sexism and avoided engagement of current events that find their roots in that history.
The intent of h6 is to silence an inclusive education so that students could continue to express racist and sexist views without any psychological distress.