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Bill passed by state senate bans critical race theory

Texas House Bill 3979, which will ban critical race theory in schools, is waiting on the signature of Gov. Greg Abbott. | Renee Josse De Lisle/The Cougar

A new bill seeking to limit race discussions in Texas schools is currently pending Gov. Greg Abbott’s approval.

Critical race theory can be broadly defined as the study of modern race issues and the impacts on U.S. institutions. Texas House Bill 3979 specifically will restrict the way educators can teach CRT in schools.

CRT has sought to stress that racism is systemic, grounded in institutions and certainly not simply a matter of personal predilection,” said history and African American studies professor Gerald Horne. “Limiting instruction would make for poorly educated students, less able to navigate an increasingly diverse society.”

The bill passed through the Texas Legislature earlier this month, but two versions didn’t match, according to the Houston Chronicle. As a result, the bill was temporarily shut down by a Democratic representative, and an amended version was revived shortly after.

In addition to prohibiting educators from giving preference to any perspective when discussing current events, the new version of the bill also prevents students from receiving course credit for political activism, according to The Texas Tribune.

Supporters of this legislation believe lessons on CRT distort the founding father’s vision and place unnecessary blame on white students for racially motivated wrongdoings throughout history.

Sen. Bryan Hughes, (R-Mineola), voiced his support for the bill, stating that no one will be able to get rid of biases if people believe that America is racist at its core.

“We want to do our part to preserve the system and yes to talk about our history, warts and all,” Hughes said. “But present it truly and accurately, especially those founding principles, which have made Americans so special.”

However, educators, like Horne and other critics of the bill worry that restricting race discussions will make it impossible for students to engage in well-informed discussions and critical analysis of current events.

Horne emphasizes that in order to properly discuss current events, we must first address the racial context. 

“Often, current events are an extension of the past; ignoring such would be akin to mandating that a physician (does) not take a medical history of the patient before making a current diagnosis,” Horne said.

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