State Watch

Mississippi governor signs law restricting discussions of race in schools

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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Monday signed a bill into law that will limit classroom conversations regarding race, casting it as a measure to take on “critical race theory.” 

Critical race theory is an academic movement that analyzes how racism has shaped public policies and societal institutions that have in turn perpetuated the dominance of white people.

The bill forbids any teaching that suggests “any sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior or inferior,” according to the Mississippi Free Press.

It does not actually ban critical race theory, however, nor does it define the teaching. The bill is titled “Critical Race Theory; prohibit,” but the text of the bill itself never mentions the theory. 

Still, Reeves asserted in a Monday tweet after signing the bill that “critical race theory is running amok” and claimed it “threatens the integrity of education & aims only to humiliate and indoctrinate.”

“Contrary to what some critics claim, this bill in no way, in no shape and in no form prohibits the teaching of history,” Reeves said in a video statement.

University of Mississippi law professor Yvette Butler, who teaches the state’s only critical race theory law school course, said in a tweet that the bill “has nothing to do with Critical Race Theory [CRT].”

“The title of a bill cannot do something that the text of the bill does not,” Butler tweeted, adding that “CRT is opposed to the belief that any race is inherently inferior or superior.” 

In a tweeted statement on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Mississippi referred to the bill as “the classroom censorship bill.”

“At their core, anti ‘CRT’ laws are thinly veiled attempts to silence discussions of race and gender amongst student and educators,” the ACLU statement added.

In June, Reeves said on a radio interview that he was “not aware of any school district that currently allows for” the teaching of critical race theory in the state and noted that he did not see a reason to ban it unless that changed, the Free Press reported.

Mississippi Superintendent of Education Carey Wright has also said critical race theory is not taught in the state’s schools, NBC News reported.

With a population that is roughly 38 percent Black, Mississippi has a higher percentage of Black residents than any other state, according to NBC. 

Tags Critical race theory Mississippi Tate Reeves

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