Here we go again. North Carolina wants to make it harder to talk about race in the classroom.

While it omits the term, "critical race theory", the "Equality in Education" bill prohibits public schools from promoting ideas like "one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex."

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North Carolina could soon join the growing number of states that has made it more difficult to discuss race in the classroom if state Republican lawmakers have their way.

House Bill 187 is an anti-CRT bill that lawmakers are again trying to enact after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed it in 2021. While it omits the term “critical race theory,” the bill titled “Equality in Education” would prohibit public schools from promoting ideas that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,” according to The Charlotte Observer.

House Speaker Tim Moore said on Thursday that he wanted to ensure that students are in school to learn, not to be brainwashed. Students also, he said, are not in school to be degraded or mistreated and he contended that the proposals in the bill would prevent that.

House Speaker Tim Moore
Rep. Tim Moore, speaker of the North Carolina House, supports a bill that would restrict what teachers can say about the nation’s racial history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“And then also, maybe even more importantly,” Moore added, “is to guarantee the transparency to parents to know what’s being taught and to have an opportunity to have a say-so in their child’s education.”

House Bill 187 would prohibit teachers from causing students to experience “discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress” because of their race or sex, among other things.

The legislation would also mandate that schools publish online beforehand any instruction related to prohibited ideas. They would also be required to disclose if they employ diversity trainers, consultants or lecturers with a history of promoting these ideas.

Though critical race theory is not a school subject, Moore says the term frequently is used in conversation to refer to anything that seeks to educate, separate and oppose particular racial or ethnic groups.

“Some of the most extreme that’s out there that got parents worked up, was where they were singling out various children and saying that because of how you look, because of your religious beliefs, you’ve somehow been entitled to more in life than someone else, and trying to make them feel bad about themselves,” Moore said, according to The Observer. “Why do we need to do that?” 

State Reps. Amos Quick and Vernetta Alston, both Democrats, opposed the legislation in 2021 and are among those who reject it now. Alston, who deemed the measure “dangerous” and a political distraction, said children and students in North Carolina deserve to know the truth as it relates to history.

“This is something that’s being manufactured by the Republican Party, and it’s going to have real consequences for our children, for our teachers, for our schools at a time when we should be talking about the fact that I think teacher vacancies have tripled in the last three years,” Alston said. “There are real crises going on in our schools that need immediate attention. And this is not where we should be spending our energy.”

Regardless, Republicans have enough votes in the Senate to override Cooper’s veto — based on the claim that the measure “pushes calculated, conspiracy-laden politics into public education” — and they are just one vote short in the House.

Since January 2021, at least 44 states have proposed legislation or taken other actions that would restrict the instruction of critical race theory or how instructors can discuss racism and sexism. Limitations are imposed in 18 states either through legislation or other methods, according to an Education Week analysis.

Moore was asked what he would say to Black parents regarding the measure that controls how race is taught considering that February is Black History Month.

“Anyone who cares at all about the racial history of this country, and who is concerned about making sure there is racial justice, ought to be against some of this extreme curriculum that’s being pushed out there that is only trying to further divide students, and trying to further divide people,” Moore said, The Observer reported.

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