New Texas law to ban critical race theory from public schools is a step in the wrong direction

Jalyn Smoot
Texas State Capitol BuildingBryan Snyder/Reuters

Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that aims to further ban critical race theory from Texas public schools.

Despite educators' constant plea against the move, an even stricter law against critical race theory was passed by Gov. Abbott, prohibiting teachers from covering certain concepts on race.

It aims to strengthen Texas’ law passed in May that seeks to eliminate critical race theory from schools. The new law goes into effect on Dec. 2.

What is critical race theory?

It is an academic framework that examines how policies and laws uphold systemic racism. Topics like education, equity, mass incarceration, and criminal injustice are typically discussed in classes that cover critical race theory.

The theory stems from the lectures and writings of Harvard University’s first Black law professor, civil rights attorney Derrick Bell.

Bell explored why the progress made by the civil rights movement in the 1960s came to such an abrupt halt. The Pittsburgh native argued that the impact of slavery and Jim Crow persisted in the '60s and would continue to do so.

Roughly fifty years later, it's hard to argue with Bell's projection.

The horrors of slavery still haunt America and the societal rift caused by the intense segregation that followed seems irreversible.

On a deeper level, systemic racism continues to plague the United States.

The employment-population ratio, which measures the share of a demographic group that has a job, has been drastically lower for Black people for years.
Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

The employment-population ratio for Black Americans has historically (and not so coincidentally) tended to fall quite a bit lower than for whites or Latinos.

Aside from that, Black people are arrested, assaulted, and/or killed by police officers at a much higher rate than those with a lighter complexion.

Sadly, these are the types of conversations the new Texas law aims to forbid in public schools.

With the passing of the new law, Gov. Abbott looks to omit such conversations from taking place in Texas classrooms.

Why the push to ban critical race theory?

Critics interpret critical race theory as divisive, often saying it teaches children that they are defined by their skin color as “oppressed or oppressors.” Republican lawmakers say they don’t want children taught to hate their country or that the United States is intrinsically racist.

While not teaching the youth that the United States is intrinsically racist would be wonderful, it'd be even better if the country did not give reason to pass along that knowledge to begin with.

In passing this new law, Texas is attempting to somewhat mask or ignore the country's deep-seated issues surrounding race, a move that could prove to be quite the slippery slope.

It feels like the move was made with decent intentions, hoping to avoid racially-driven hatred or discord from occurring. Barring any type of critical race theory discussion from being conducted on public school grounds, though, more closely resembles sweeping a problem under the rug than actual progress.

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Dallas-based reporter with a focus on business, major events, politics, music, and sports

Dallas, TX

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