Gene Nichol: GOP lawmakers are trying to force NC teachers to lie

In case you missed it yesterday, be sure to check out UNC law professor Gene Nichol’s spot-on assessment of the new effort by North Carolina Republican lawmakers to whitewash the truth about our state’s racist past.

As Policy Watch education reporter Greg Childress reported earlier this week:

House Bill 324 is like dozens of bills around the country being pushed by Republican legislatures trying to ensure unflattering parts of the nation’s history are not taught in public schools.

Critical Race Theory, an academic discipline that examines how racism has shaped the nation’s legal and social systems, is also a target of such bills.

In North Carolina, HB 324 would prohibit teachers from promoting concepts that suggest America is racists or that people are inherently racist or sexist. It would also prohibit teaching that whites or anyone else is responsible for the sins of their forefathers.

In blasting the measure, Nichol rightfully takes House Speaker Tim Moore to task for characterizing Critical Race Theory as one of multiple  “hateful ideas attacking our kids.” Here’s Nichol:

Moore’s newly embraced proposal would ban, among other things, North Carolina public schools from promoting “the belief that the United States is a meritocracy is racist or sexist or was created by members of a particular race or sex to oppress members of another race of sex.”

In other words, we are to teach that even though in North Carolina twice as many blacks as whites live in poverty, three times as many young kids, at least twice as many African-Americans are unemployed, food insecure, suspended from school, subjected to traffic stops, arrested and imprisoned, and on average, black families possess less than ten percent of the wealth of white families, and, of course, black men are repeatedly murdered by unthreatened policemen before our eyes – all this results from being a meritocracy, not from our brutal history, biases, or systemic inequalities. By statutory command, our schools will be required to lie.

Of course, as Nichol, also notes, there’s nothing particularly new or surprising about such an effort from the state’s current legislative leadership. As his essay points out:

These are the notable folks who have routinely constrained black Tar Heels right to vote; racially gerrymandered our electoral districts so profoundly it severed the foundational norm of consent of the governed; repealed the Racial Justice Act; lionized confederate memorials; made it easier to segregate schools and harder to release police-cam videos; and are now poised to try to criminalize Black Lives Matter demonstrations. They have governed, for a decade, as a White People’s Party.

Yes, it is 2021, but at the General Assembly these days, it continues to feel more like 1921. Click here to read the entire essay.

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