Tennessee State House advances legislation forbidding critical race theory in schools

It’s not an official law yet, as their senate still needs to come to an agreement on the resolution.

Nick Monroe Cleveland Ohio

It’s not an official law yet, as their senate still needs to come to an agreement on the resolution.

It has been a busy week for politicians in Tennessee’s State House. One significant measure passed by their House of Representatives was to end all forms of slavery. By that in the modern sense meaning prison labor.

But officials also approved an important amendment HB 0580. A measure that prohibits the teaching of postmodernist critical race theory. An ideology that over the past year saw a massive spike in adoption after the George Floyd riots last year.

To fill the void of wanting to appear “diverse,” school systems began adopting race-based teachings that prioritize skin color in the classroom. A practice that sometimes includes segregating students when discussing real-world events like the Atlanta shooting. Meanwhile in Oregon it involved examining “systemic barriers” in math class.

Tennessee is following in the footsteps of Oklahoma, where lawmakers passed a similar bill in their state House late last month.

The status of Tennessee’s bill is currently in the hands of the state senate. According to the bill’s official page, the status of house amendment #2 is in flux.

The amendment was brought forward by Republican State Rep. John Ragan, who described it as “a stand against hucksters, charlatans and useful idiots peddling identity politics.”

The 14-page amendment to the bill that the House passed lists eleven separate points that outline what they define as “critical race theory” subject matter.

Teachers and other employees in the public education system are prohibited from including or promoting the following:

  1. "One (1) race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;"
  2. "An individual, by virtue of the individual's race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously;"
  3. “An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of the individual's race or sex;”
  4. "An individual's moral character is determined by the individual's race or sex;"
  5. “An individual, by virtue of the individual's race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;”
  6. “An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual's race or sex;”
  7. "A meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist, or designed by a particular race or sex to oppress members of another race or sex;"
  8. “This state or the United States is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist;”
  9. “Promoting or advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government;”
  10. “Promoting division between, or resentment of, a race, sex, religion, creed, nonviolent political affiliation, social class, or class of people; or”
  11. “Ascribing character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, privileges, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the individual's race or sex.”

It’s worth noting that a second part of this bill amendment allows for impartial discussion of history, religion, and political subject matter.

Nonetheless the penalty for violating the rules lays down the law. If the commissioner of education finds an instance where schools don’t follow these rules, their funding will be withheld “in an amount determined by the commissioner.”


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