Just last week, the Texas Senate passed legislation ending all requirements that public schools in Texas teach about women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement in social studies classes. Texas children will no longer need to be bothered with learning about Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, or Martin Luther King Jr., whose “I Have a Dream" speech and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” would no longer be required curriculum.
Just in case you were dense enough to believe that this wasn’t overt racism, Texas senators took it a step further. On Wednesday, July 21, they voted to pass a bill that would remove a requirement for public school teachers to teach that the Ku Klux Klan is "morally wrong." So if a teacher wants to have a group of fifth graders justify the Klan’s treatment of Black people—now they can have at it. (BTW, that’s not a hypothetical. That actually happened in South Carolina.)
I vividly recall in my little racist middle school that a student was allowed to give a speech on the benefits of the KKK. He focused on an event where Klansmen were watching the Southern border to catch migrants, which he argued actually helped Black people. It was awful, but there were no minorities in my classroom to hear it. When we complained, we were told to shut up. It bothered me for quite some time, but I keep telling myself that was the early ‘80s. Things are better now, right?
I’m wondering if that little twerp grew up to be a Texas legislator.
When this latest bill passed, the lieutenant governor stated that it would make certain that critical race theory isn’t taught in Texas. However, the Senate-passed bill removes almost all mentions of people of color and women, as well as the requirement that white supremacy and the groups that support them, like the KK, are morally wrong.
This isn’t about critical race theory, which—by the way—does NOT teach that the U.S. is evil. These legislative efforts have absolutely nothing to do with refusing to teach the consequences of slavery and racism on American history. Instead, racist legislators are using the threat of the 1619 Project as an excuse to purge all civil rights and women’s suffrage curriculum out of the classrooms, and turn the clock back in schools to the pre-civil rights era.
It’s maddening, racist, and just plain wrong. The only thing stopping the bill from becoming law right now is the fact that several brave Texas Democrats flew to Washington to save their citizen’s voting rights. None of these awful bills can become law as long as there is no quorum. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before they have to come back.
All we can do at this point is call these racist legislators out loudly—again and again and again. And help turn Texas blue in ‘22!