All eight members of an Oklahoma public school board have criticized a new state law prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory after Republican government Kevin Stitt said he would not tolerate young white children being labeled as oppressors.
Under the new law, introduced by Stitt last Friday, Oklahoma City public school teachers are prohibited from teaching certain concepts of race and racism, including critical race theory.
The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously on Monday to denounce the bill officially known as House Bill 1775.
The move came after Stitt said last week that, now more than ever, the US “needs policies that bring us together, not tear us apart.”
“As a governor, I firmly believe that not a penny of taxpayers’ money should be used to define and divide young Oklahomas by race or gender. That is what this bill supports for public education.
Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt last Friday introduced new law prohibiting teaching critical race theory to children
We must continue to teach history and all its complexity and encourage honest and hard conversations about our past. Nothing in this bill prevents or discourages those conversations.
We can and should teach this history without labeling a young child as an oppressor or demanding that he or she feel guilty or ashamed based on their race or gender. I refuse to tolerate otherwise. ‘
One of the concepts that will be banned is that individuals, on the grounds of race or gender, are inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
The bill, which will take effect on July 1, also prevents colleges and universities from requiring students to receive training on gender or sexual diversity.
During the meeting of the school board, all eight members took turns to criticize Stitt’s account.
The board consists of eight members, five of which are white and three are black and Latina.
Ruth Veales, one of the black board members, argued that the legislation sought to shut down talks about racism in order to “protect white vulnerability.”
“As a neighborhood with over 80 percent of students of color, this is definitely an insult,” said Veales. ‘It’s a situation that’s so blatant to me.
“ If I listen to what the governor said in his speech, and say it’s not right for white students to feel they should be held responsible for the oppression that black people and others have felt because of them, but then let’s talk about the generational wealth from the back of my people. Let’s talk about that. ‘
Board member Ruth Veales (left) denounced the ban on critical race theory as a protection of ‘white vulnerability’. Fellow board member Meg McElhaney (right) called the bill ‘racist’, ‘cowardly’ and a form of ‘micromanaging’
Pictured from left to right, top to bottom: Chairman Paula Lewis, Vice Chairman Mark Mann, Gloria Torres, Carrie Coppernoll Jacobs, Lori Bowman and Carole Thompson
Fellow board member Meg McElhaney, who is white, called the bill “racist,” “cowardly,” and a form of “micromanaging.”
Mark Mann, the only male board member, described the bill as “disgusting.”
“ To think that we could introduce such a bill in 2021, let alone hear it in a committee, voted and approved and signed by the governor, is absolutely appalling, ” he said.
The backlash from the Oklahoma City school board comes amid a national debate over critical race theory.
Critics say the theory reduces people to the ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ categories based on their skin color.
However, defenders argue that the theory examines the ways in which race and racism influence American politics, culture and the law, and say it is essential to eradicate racism.
Oklahoma law is similar to measures signed by law in Utah and Arkansas. Another similar measure recently stalled in Louisiana, but the author has said he plans to revive it.
The South Dakota government, Kristi Noem, recently signed a bill that opposes the teaching of critical race theory. And Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also recently said that parents should oppose the theory.
At Monday’s school board meeting, all eight members took turns criticizing the bill introduced by Gov. Stitt a few days ago.
Just Tuesday, parents in Virginia released a commercial to expel members of their school board after vowing to force critical racial theory on their children. The parents formed the group, Fight for Our Schools, to push back against the Loudoun County school board
Across the country, multiple examples have emerged in recent weeks of teachers and parents saying their children are forced to learn critical race theory.
Just Tuesday, parents in Virginia released a commercial to expel members of their school board after vowing to force critical racial theory on their children.
The parents formed the group, Fight for Our Schools, to push back against the Loudoun County school board.
They argue that the administration is’ contaminating our schools with critical racial theory ‘and’ planning war ‘against parents who oppose it’.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating several allegations of harassment between opponents and supporters of the theory in the community’s public schools.
While Loudoun County public schools have not officially mandated the use of critical racial theory in their classrooms, they have pledged to strive for “ equality ” and have begun to use many of its “ buzzwords and concepts. ”
Meanwhile, a New York parent made national headlines after dropping his daughter from an elite private school in Manhattan over his anti-racism policy.
Andrew Gutmann, who wrote a letter about his decision to get his daughter out of Brearley School, said the backlash he received in the aftermath opened his eyes to the “ cancer of the cancellation culture. ”