CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — North Carolina Republican lawmakers are hoping the second time’s a charm with rebooted anti-critical race theory legislation.
During last year’s legislative session, state Republicans pushed the Equality in Education Bill through the General Assembly’s House of Representatives and Senate, but once it landed on Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk he vetoed it, and lawmakers were sent back to the drawing board.
Now legislators are once again trying to prohibit K-12 educators from teaching concepts from critical race theory. Republicans drafted a list of 13 concepts the bill would prohibit public educators from promoting.
The bill reads that public schools shall not promote: “One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;” “An individual, solely by virtue of his or her race is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive;” and “The United States was created by members of a particular race or sex for the purpose of oppressing others of another race or sex.”
“This bill protects whatever group that is, from soiling the minds of our kids with thoughts that don’t collectively bring us together,” said Rep. John Torbett, a Gaston County Republican and the lead sponsor of the Equality in Education Bill.
Theodore Shaw, a professor of law and director of the Center for Civil Rights at UNC Chapel Hill, feels this bill is somewhat unnecessary.
“Critical race theory is not taught in elementary and secondary schools, even though some people now claim that it is,” Shaw said. “My second thought on this is that all these things that apparently the legislature is considering banning have nothing to do with critical race theory. You know, critical race theory is something that was developed in law school education.”
Critical race theory (CRT) is defined as an academic discipline that examines how racism has shaped the nation’s legal and social systems.
Shaw has taught some of the elements of CRT at UNC and doesn’t think the majority of the bill’s “Thirteen Prohibited Concepts” are really what the theory is all about.
“We do confront the systemic, and systematic place of race in our history, which brought the 14th amendment into existence,” Shaw said.
Eric Heberlig, a political science professor at UNC Charlotte, thinks the debate between Republicans and Democrats regarding CRT isn’t coming to an end any time soon.
“Even if this particular bill doesn’t pass, you know, it’s likely to be modified and come back again,” he said. “Because politicians can use this as a way of mobilizing their supporters, raising money, and so forth. And from that sense, it plays well for both sides to have this fight.”
On Tuesday, the Equality in Education Bill was referred to the House Rules Committee.
QCN reached out to Torbett’s office, as well as the rest of the Republicans sponsoring this bill, but did not hear back.