Last updated on March 15, 2022
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a law Monday banning Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the state’s public schools.
Public schools may not teach students “that any sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior or inferior” or “that individuals should be adversely treated on the basis of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin,” says the law.
The law applies to K-12 public schools as well as Mississippi’s public universities and community colleges.
The bill passed the GOP-controlled state Senate back in January when all of the chamber’s black senators withheld their votes and walked out in protest. The state House, also Republican-controlled, passed the bill earlier this month.
CRT is an ideology that says that racism is systemic and permeates every aspect of American culture, and is also the explanation for all “inequities” between races. It has become a controversial issue among parents in school districts across the country.
“Across this great country, we’re seeing a full-court press by a vocal minority of well-organized and well-funded activists who seek to tear down the unity that has helped make our country great,” Reeves said Monday in a video message accompanying the bill signing ceremony.
“Children are dragged to the front of the classroom and are coerced to declare themselves as oppressors, taught that they should feel guilty because of the color of their skin or that they are inherently a victim because of their race,” the governor continued. “That’s why today, Mississippi is taking another step toward ensuring our kids receive the unbiased and impartial education they need to reach their full potential as individuals not as liberal operatives.”
Reeves said he expects Critical Race Theory proponents to accuse Mississippi of preventing children from learning about “important historical events” like slavery or the Civil Rights Movement, an accusation he called “flat-out wrong.”
“All elements of Mississippi and all elements of American history, both the good and the bad, should be taught in our schools, period,” Reeves said.
Mississippi Superintendent of Education Carey Wright has claimed that CRT is not taught in Mississippi’s K-12 public schools.
At least 10 states have passed legislation to crack down on CRT in schools, Mississippi, Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Arizona, and North Dakota.
More than two dozen more states have introduced similar laws or policies, although not all have resulted in enforcement.
Most of the bills, including Mississippi’s, do not mention CRT explicitly or define it but allude to ideas associated with the ideology.
The laws differ by state, but they tend to ban teaching the idea the U.S. is an inherently racist country or discussing ideas like conscious and unconscious bias, privilege, discrimination, and oppression.
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