I mentioned earlier this week the unconstitutional proposal by two senators and Rep. Mark Lowery to prohibit talk of stuff they don’t like in public schools and colleges.
Potentially off-limits: Race, gender, political affiliation, social class and “particular classes of people.”
This reflects Donald Trump’s past efforts to outlaw diversity training in government and also the blowback to the New York Times 1619 Project, which conservatives think has overemphasized the influence of slavery in American life.
Now Lowery is attacking the Constitution again, this time with a specific government prohibition on speech. He would ban the use of public money to teach anything from the 1619 Project and impose penalties for those that do. His latest is HB 1231.
In short, Lowery has adopted the right-wing line that the indisputable truth that slavery arrived 400 years ago and was a key part of the development of the country with all the ills that continue is actually an activist attack. It is meant to show, he said, that the United States of America was not founded on the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, but rather on slavery and oppression.
It’s simple in Lowery’s view:
The true date of founding of the United States of America is July 4, 1776, the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress; The self-evident truths set forth in the Declaration of Independence are the fundamental principles upon which the United States of America was founded.
Nearly 250 years later, we’re still falling short on some of those self-evident truths, that all-men-created-equal thing particularly. Some people have a few more rights than others, too.
More stuff to sue over if it passed and any teacher had the gumption to use the 1619 Project.
What’s next? Evolution?
UPDATE: I should have mentioned our earlier report on legislators’ yen to mess with college course content by finding out information about teaching on diversity. Legislators also sought information on teachibg about 1619 Project and critical race theory.
This prompted a pushback from the American Historical Association in the form of a letter to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
The AHA sent a letter to the Arkansas Division of Higher Education (ADHE) expressing “grave concern about a legislative request that has been circulated to academic units in the Arkansas university system.” The request sought to collect “data on the teaching of ‘The 1619 Project’ and ‘Critical Race Theory’ at public higher education institutions in Arkansas.” “Neither the legislature nor the ADHE,” writes the AHA, “should be monitoring what qualified scholars are assigning to their students, except as part of a bona fide review and assessment.”
Nothing came of it. At least nothing to deter legislators.
UPDATE: The creator of the 1619 Project takes note of Darkansas.
Looks like the former slave state where in 1957 the National Guard had to be called out to protect a few Black kids from attending a white-only PUBLIC school is trying to pass a law to prohibit teaching the #1619Project because it says US was founded on slavery & oppression. 🧐 pic.twitter.com/nqMvwwNIYL
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) January 22, 2021