November 1, 2021

Michael Gerson: Of all the conservative bans on teaching about racism, the one in Texas is the worst

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Michael Gerson, writing in the Washington Post, lambastes the conservative teaching ban in Texas.

America’s cresting conflict over how to deal with racism in the teaching of history makes sense as a matter of ideology, but not as a matter of pedagogy.

As a matter of ideology, conservative parents’ fear that their children are being indoctrinated by progressive textbooks and teachers is an endemic feature of education in America. What is different this time around is the speed and vigor of Republicans at the state level in turning their hyperventilation into legislation. Over the summer, at least 12 states restricted how teachers can discuss race or racism in the classroom.

The state of Texas — confirming its status as the laboratory of idiocracy — did the most damage. It has forbidden the teaching of any “concept” that causes an individual to “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex.”

The consequences for violating this law are unspecified. But the vagueness is the point. White children — really the White parents of White children — have been given an open invitation to protest any teaching on U.S. racial history that triggers their “discomfort.” Which for some parents will mean any teaching on racism at all. This will inevitably lead to self-censorship by teachers who want to avoid trouble.

Read the full piece here.

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