Critical race theory will not be part of the curriculum for Oklahoma students, following a new state bill that was signed Friday by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt.
“Now more than ever, we need policies that bring us together, not rip us apart,” Stitt said in a video statement on Twitter. “And as governor, I firmly believe that not one cent of taxpayer money should be used to define and divide young Oklahomans about their race or sex. That is what this bill upholds for public education.”
House Bill 1775 is designed to block the teaching of critical race theory by banning anyone from teaching that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex” and that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
The bill states students will not be taught that “an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.”
When it comes to history, the bill bans any teaching that claims “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”
The bill also states, “No enrolled student of an institution of higher education within The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education shall be required to engage in any form of mandatory gender or sexual diversity training or counseling; provided, voluntary counseling shall not be prohibited. Any orientation or requirement that presents any form of race or sex stereotyping or a bias on the basis of race or sex shall be prohibited.”
Republican state Rep. Kevin West voiced his support for the bill.
“This bill says that we’re not going to teach people because of their race or their sex they are inherently evil for something they had nothing to do with,” he said, according to KOCO-TV.
“The people who are pushing ideas like critical race theory, have to have conflict — class conflict, race conflict or some other conflict,” West added, explaining that the theory is based on Marxist ideology, according to The Claremore Daily Progress.
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“They have to have an enemy that they can point to. It’s up to us to stop this because we are all one race — the human race.”
“Let’s shed light on critical race theory to show it for what it is — a complete deception that will absolutely destroy our nation,” West said. “In this time of cancel culture and virtue signaling, we must have courage.”
There were many who opposed the bill and its reasoning, hinting that the legislation was born out of racism.
incomprehensible history that has occurred in the United States. Our history as a country and as a state, if told accurately, is uncomfortable and should be heartbreaking for Americans that look like me, white.
— Paula Lewis (@plewisokc) May 4, 2021
“The development of this bill was done without the input, one, of educators and, two, without people of color,” said Milwood Superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods.” #OklaEd https://t.co/PNmrPcgcsW
— Pastors for Oklahoma Kids (@pastors4OKkids) May 6, 2021
“It is more than divisive,” Alicia Andrews, the chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said, according to U.S. News and World Report. “It is exclusive and it acts to erase the existence of segments of our population.”
My statement on HB 1775. pic.twitter.com/2EgMh7A7xZ
— Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) May 7, 2021
Stitt, however, said no student should be taught that he or she is required to feel guilty over challenging episodes in Oklahoman or American history purely on the grounds of race or sex.
“During a time when we are already so polarized, we cannot revert to 100-year-old thinking that a person is any less valuable or inherently racist by the color of their skin,” Stitt said.
“I will not stand for publicly funded K through 12 schools training impressionable minds to define themselves by their sex or their race,” he said.
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