Bringing back the ghost of Jim Crow, the Georgia State Senate approved a State House bill that would limit discussions of race in kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. The bill, House Bill 1084, the “Protect Students First Act,” requires local school boards and administrators to ban discrimination on the “basis of race” by limiting how race can be discussed in classrooms.
As reported in The Guardian,
“We can teach US history, the good, the bad and the ugly, without dividing children along racial lines,” said the Georgia senate president pro tem, Butch Miller, of the bill that passed 32-21.
“We must teach patriotism and that America is good, though not perfect, that America is good,” Miller added.
The bill already passed the Georgia house, but will return to that chamber for final approval after small changes were made in the senate, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). If approved, the measure will go to the Republican governor, Brian Kemp, to be signed into law.
Kemp has already signaled support for initiatives like House Bill 1084. During his state of the state address in January, Kemp said that he would support lawmakers trying to stop the “divisive ideology” of “critical race theory.”
This bill demonstrates the terror Republicans seem to feel in their very bones of students being educated on matters of not just the history of racism in the South but slavery itself. But this fear is shrouded in the same Republican doublespeak used in the voter suppression laws passed by legislatures in Republican-led states.
Take careful note of the Republican objection to the teaching of “critical race theory.” The use of this objection to what is actually a complex legal theory about systemic racism—which is not taught in primary or secondary schools—is a Trojan Horse in the same vein as “election integrity.” In other words, just as non-existent election fraud has been used to pass voter suppression laws, Republicans are using the fear of critical race theory as an excuse to ban the teaching of the history of racial suppression and enslavement.
As George Orwell, Nazi Germany, the USSR and Maoist China taught the world, the first step in rewriting history is to ban the teaching of it. And that makes bringing back the horrors which that history contained much, much easier. Those that oppose the teaching history are trying to make it easier to repeat.