New Republic - July 29, 2021
... historical truths often don’t make it into K-12 curricula because American education, like American governance, has focused on white lives since our founding. You might even say that we’ve always had race theory in the classroom: the teaching, implicitly and sometimes explicitly, of a white-centric view of history.
In June, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill that prohibits “race scapegoating” and “race stereotyping” in K-12 education, as well as teaching “specific concepts” such as “the United States of America and the state of Iowa are fundamentally or systemically racist.” The law, which targets critical race theory without naming it, defines race scapegoating as “assigning fault, blame, or bias” to a race or sex “because of their race and sex,” or claiming members of that race or sex are “inherently racist”—consciously or unconsciously. The bill is in the spirit of a dead measure from Iowa that sought to cut funding to schools that teach The New York Times’ 1619 Project, claiming it attempts to “deny or obfuscate the fundamental principles upon which the United States was founded.”
Iowa is one of 26 states that have introduced bills to restrict language that indicts white Americans in perpetrating slavery and anti-Black racism. Many of the bills sample from one another, echoing the same refrain: The 1619 Project and critical race theory are “racially divisive,” indoctrinating students into anti-American ideology. Eleven states have enacted bans on “critical race theory,” but with the exception of Idaho’s, “critical race theory” is not mentioned in the legislation. States with measures to defund schools that teach the 1619 Project are more explicit in their repudiation. A Texas bill says that “teachers may not require an understanding of the 1619 project,” and Arkansas called the 1619 Project a “racially divisive and revisionist account of history” and a threat to the “integrity of the union.”
This fraudulent criticism and all of its embellishments—critical race theory is not, in fact, taking over America’s classrooms—are part of the growing Republican furor over the Times’ Pulitzer Prize–winning project, which was conceived by reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones and launched in 2019. The ongoing project “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” Its necessity is proven by the conservative backlash to it. Iowa, for instance, was founded on the oppression of Black people. In 1839, Iowa’s first territorial legislature enacted an “Act to regulate Blacks and Mulattoes,” forbidding Blacks or “mulattoes” from settling in Iowa without proof of their “actual freedom,” and Iowa’s 1859 Constitution gave the right of suffrage to “every white male citizen” and only permitted “free, white males” to be members of the House of Representatives. ...
Read full report at New Republic