New Hampshire lawmakers ponder ban on teaching ‘divisive concepts’ on racism/sexism

By Christian Wade | The Center Square

New Hampshire Republicans are pushing a plan that would ban public schools from teaching “divisive concepts,” but the move is being labeled as a racist gag rule.

Last week the GOP-controlled Senate approved a two-year $13.5 billion budget that included a provision prohibiting teaching about systemic racism and sexism in public schools and state-funded programs. A House version of the budget, approved in April, didn’t include the changes.

Senate Republicans argued that the move will strengthen the state’s anti-discrimination laws and improve race relations.

“This is consistent with making sure that we do not train, do not instruct, do not teach our kids that they’re somehow inferior or superior, that they’re inherently racist, sexist or oppressive by virtue of the characteristics they’re born with,” Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said in support of the measure.

But the move was strongly opposed by Senate Democrats, who tried unsuccessfully to block the provision from being added to the final spending package.

Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, ripped the proposal as anti-American and said it would have a chilling effect on free speech.

“This unconstitutional, illogical policy does nothing more than protect those unwilling to have the difficult conversations around implicit and unconscious bias, while at the same time silencing American history,” Soucy said. “To call this direct violation of our First Amendment rights an ‘anti-discrimination’ effort is an outrageous façade.”

Devon Chaffee, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, called the provision “confusing and ambiguous” and said it would “censor the classrooms of its young people, robbing them of an inclusive education and imposing an alternate version of history.”

“We cannot simply close our eyes, ban the training of critical concepts like implicit bias and equity, and claim issues of systemic racial injustice have never existed,” Chaffee said. “These types of trainings are critical to creating inclusive and equitable workplaces and communities.”

The “divisive concepts” provision mirrors an executive order issued last year by then-Republican President Donald Trump. That order was rescinded by President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

Meanwhile, a Virginia-based group with ties to former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich is running TV ads in New Hampshire urging lawmakers to support the proposal.

“Some want to teach our children that America is a hateful place with a hateful history, where their color, not their character is what defines them,” a narrator says in the 60 second clip by the group 1776 Action, which includes segments from a Martin Luther King Jr. speech. “It’s time to reject them and stand up for American values.”

Whether or not the provision will make it into the final two year budget, or survive Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto pen, remains unclear.

Members of the Governor’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion wrote to Sununu last week, urging him to reject the proposal if it reaches his desk.

“Limiting conversations amongst all citizens of New Hampshire is not reflective of our state’s embrace of freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” the council wrote.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Tim Pierce

3 thoughts on “New Hampshire lawmakers ponder ban on teaching ‘divisive concepts’ on racism/sexism

  1. Not to beat a dead horse, but …

    The reason CRT is highly irrational isn’t that it’s internally inconsistent, because the arguments they make are internally consistent. The reason it’s irrational is that the basic premise of the theory is highly irrational, and it is this:

    Any argument you make against the theory proves the theory correct (since all criticisms are due to unconscious prejudice, systemic racism [a circular argument?] and white fragility: they prove the theory.)

    If we were to apply this basic premise– that any argument made against the theory proves the theory correct– to any other theory, then no theory could ever be proved wrong. CRT gets around this by saying that reason and logic are themselves symptomatic of systemic racism, and carriers of it. These folks talk in circles. You can’t reason with them– and that’s the whole point of the pseudo-theory. It’s an irrational doctrine that requires blind allegiance.

    Once we throw out reason, anything goes.

    How do you subvert a country? How about, you get it to throw out reason, logic, and common sense?

  2. If I had a theory that said that all black people were thieves at heart (I do not hold this theory; it’s simply an example of an absurd theory, by way of pointing out the logic of CRT) and you said that’s ridiculous and here’s why, but I said that the fact that you say this means you don’t want to accept the truth of it (because of your unconscious attitudes or your fragility), would you say that I had a valid theory if I took every rebuttal as proof of the theory?

    This is exactly what CRT does. It’s a highly irrational theory and should be discarded as such. This doesn’t mean slavery never happened or that racial injustices don’t exist; it only means that CRT is a bizarre way of accounting for these. Let us never, ever indoctrinate our children with this.

  3. “Limiting conversations amongst all citizens of New Hampshire is not reflective of our state’s embrace of freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” the council wrote.

    That’s funny, because according to CRT you can’t criticize it. If you do, it isn’t really criticism but evidence of unconscious bias and white fragility. So you can speak all you want to, you just can’t speak against CRT. You can be as free as you want to but that freedom ends where CRT begins.

    Since when is silencing voices that oppose CRT and insisting that people adhere to the doctrine, freedom of speech and expression? Sounds more akin to totalitarianism.

    There’s nothing in the world wrong with teaching American history, so long as we’re fair about it. Include views of those founders vehemently opposed to slavery, like John Adams, and include the fight against racism that occurred during Reconstruction and how that was opposed by southern Democrats, who went about intimidating and murdering blacks who voted Republican. Or do we want to leave that part out, maybe? Cutting too close to the bone? Teach that slavery was a great evil, but also teach that good men and women of all races worked hard to end it, but were opposed by ignorance and prejudice. It’s not just a simple story of “if you’re white, you’re the problem.”

    CRT is a highly irrational and false doctrine. It’s irrational because it says there are, a priori (that is, true independently of experience) no propositions one can even bring against it; any such propositions only prove the validity of the theory (because these propositions are necessarily evidence of “unconscious bias or fragility” and can’t be evidence of anything else.) That is exactly what a irrational doctrine would state.

    It would be fine to teach about the theory of CRT just as it would be fine to teach about the theory of communism or of white supremacy (I am NOT advocating for white supremacy, but only using this as an example of what students might need to know about. I don’t in any way adhere to that doctrine.) But it’s wrong to pretend that this theory is anything but a theory, subject to scrutiny, capable of being refuted, and it’s not The Truth just because it claims it is, any more than communism is the whole truth about human relations.

    That we’re now going around pretending that CRT is The Truth and that we must indoctrinate our children into it, is truly alarming. It’s simply a theory, and a pretty shabby one at that. Do we really need to teach our children that people who speak up against it need to be ‘corrected’? Or is the whole point to turn us into a nation of busybodies and tattlers against those who don’t adhere to doctrine?

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