Tennessee’s Republican lawmakers seek to ban schools teaching about systemic racism in U.S. history

NASHVILLE — Tennessee’s Republican lawmakers are mounting a last-minute effort to ban public schools’ teaching of certain concepts involving systemic racism, with the bill’s sponsor saying citizens “must take a stand against hucksters, charlatans and useful idiots peddling identity politics.”

The bill would allow state education officials to withhold funding from any school promoting or including certain concepts in the curriculum or any supplemental instructional materials. Among others, the banned ideas would include:

> “An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

> “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.”

While Ragan wouldn’t say so directly, much of the bill appears to target critical race theory, which holds that race is not biologically grounded but a social construct embedded in U.S. history, life and laws to oppress and exploit Blacks and other people of color.


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