Republican lawmakers try to ban divisive concepts
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Republicans want to stop the teaching of divisive concepts in public schools and universities. The state board of education has already implemented a policy banning the concepts in k-12 schools. If this bill passes, it will ban these concepts at the university level. But, there are some who say the ban would negatively impact education.
“It simply prevents the teaching of some divisive concepts, which we have discussed in great detail that would, that we believe, would tend to make kids would teach them racist ideas,” said the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Ed Oliver, R-Lee County.
With a vote along racial lines, the bill to prohibit divisive concepts passed in a House committee this week, and this is something lawmakers predicted would happen.
“You had not one black person to stand in support of this piece of legislation,” said Rep. Kelvin Lawrence, D-Lowndes County.
There are seven concepts in this year’s bill:
- That any race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior.
- That individuals should be discriminated against or adversely treated solely because of their race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.
- That the individual moral character of an individual is solely determined by his or her race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.
- That solely by virtue of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin, the individual is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously.
- That individuals, by virtue of race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin, are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.
- That fault, blame, or bias should be assigned to a race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin, or to members of a race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin, solely on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.
- That any individual should be asked to accept, acknowledge, affirm, or assent to a sense of guilt, complicity, or a need to apologize solely on the basis of his or her race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.
These concepts are already adopted by the state board of education.
“It just supports the state Board’s policy, but it also covers state agencies as well some of the retraining, like police academies, training, and social work and many others,” said John Eidsmoe with the Foundation for Moral Law.
Supporters of the bill say this would protect students from what they call woke ideas.=
“Concepts of CRT like these are dividing our children. They’re dividing our communities, and they’re dividing our country. They’re also a violation of the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act,” said Becky Gerritson with Eagle Forum of Alabama.
While opponents are worried about erasing history.
“I can trace my lineage back to a farm in Marion junction, Alabama. My folks were enslaved. That’s a fact. Slavery, by its very nature, was evil, it was sinister, it was divisive. So that would be a divisive concept,” said Rep. Prince Chestnut, D-Dallas County.
Another concern is about the violation of academic freedom.
“The Supreme Court wrote that the essentiality of freedom in the community of American universities is almost self-evident,” said Tyler Coward with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.
The Alabama House passed the bill last year, but the session ended before state senators could get a look at the bill.
Lawmakers return to the statehouse Tuesday, where this bill could be up for debate.
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