Lawmakers were drowned out by protesters outside the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday as they announced a bill that would ban critical race theory in federally funded schools.
Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Good introduced the Defending Students’ Civil Rights Act of 2021, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “to make using critical race theory or critical race pedagogy in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance a violation of such Act, and for other purposes.” The text of the bill was not immediately available.
Good argued critical race theory has “infiltrated so many areas of our nation,” including “the education system.”
“If you oppose it, they call you a racist,” Good said. “On the other hand, they argue CRT does not even exist and it’s a made-up issue.”
Protesters drowned out Republican lawmakers — including Good and Reps. Mary Miller of Illinois, Andy Harris of Maryland, and Dan Bishop of North Carolina — chanting “shame” and “black lives matter.” One asked what the lawmakers are afraid of students learning.
The lawmakers argued the protesters were trying to silence their objections to critical race theory.
“This is what the Left does,” Good said, gesturing to the protesters.
The concept of critical race theory has sparked a culture war despite there being no consensus on its definition. Some say the theory is an educational approach that erases the good in U.S. history by portraying the nation as fundamentally flawed due to original sins, including racism and slavery. Others say it is an approach limited in scope to graduate-level academic institutions, and objections to its use in grade schools are unfounded.
Asked to define critical race theory, Good said it “says that we are defined by our race. That our race determines our future. That if we’re the wrong race, we’re an oppressor just because of our skin color. If we’re the wrong race, we’re oppressed or a victim because of our skin color.”
“It says that we are again responsible for the sins of our past, and our race determines our future. It separates people based on racial terms. It sees things through a racial lens. It is dangerous, it’s dishonest, and it’s very divisive to us as a nation,” Good said. “It ignores the tremendous history that our country has made. The progress that we have made as a nation was facilitated by our founding principles increasingly realized the past 245 years.”
The bill has 17 co-sponsors in the House and is unlikely to be considered by Democratic leadership.
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Original Author: Kate Scanlon