/Anti-CRT bill will simply provide election year cover to Republicans

Anti-CRT bill will simply provide election year cover to Republicans

Two legislative Republicans who supported the anti-critical-race theory bill on the Senate floor and House floor said it all. Out-of-state conservative media was the inspiration for the Mississippi bill. It would not change or limit public school teaching and its passage was largely symbolic to Republican voters in the run-up to the 2023 election. According to Sen. Mike McLendon, the bill’s author, and his House counterpart, Rep. Joey Hood, if you missed eight hours of floor discussion, it’s not a problem. Both Republicans seemed utterly unprepared for basic questions about the purpose of the three-page bill. The bill is now on the desk of Gov. Tate Reeves will sign the bill or veto it. Black senators were so angry about the bill, they marched out to protest the final vote. This was a foreseeable success given the Republicans’ supermajority. A legislative walkout like this has never been attempted in Mississippi’s history. READ MORE: The anti-critical racism bill was passed by Governor McLendon despite objections from all Black Mississippi legislators. McLendon, who is also the bill’s official author, struggled to answer simple questions from senators about the bill on Jan. 21. He stated that he had heard from constituents who learned about critical race theory via “the national news” and wanted it to be banned in Mississippi. He said that this is why he “sponsored” his bill. The Mississippi Center for Public Policy provided the bill’s text to him. This group often receives draft language from outside-of-state interests groups. McLendon stated that his bill “prohibits a child from being told they’re inferior or superior to another”. Hood was unable to answer simple questions from his House colleagues during March 3rd floor debate. He admitted that he hadn’t studied the history of critical race theory, but was constantly questioned. Hood stated that there are many definitions of critical race. Hood repeated that the bill only said that no public, community college, or university “shall direct or compell students to affirm any sex or race, ethnicity or religion is inherently superior, or that individuals should not be adversely treated because of such characteristics.” Hood said repeatedly from the well, when he was unable to answer specific questions about the bill. McLendon and Hood did not respond to questions from colleagues asking whether the bill’s passage was more symbolic for Republican voters than anything. “This bill is before us only so that some of your can go home and have something for campaigning on,” Rep. Willie Bailey (D-Greenville) stated during the House debate. Hood didn’t offer any counter-reply. Shortly after the House vote, Speaker Philip Gunn seemed to have conceded that point. The House was led in prayer by Gunn, who said: “Lord we face difficult times in this body.” Each of us represents a constituency. Each of us represents a constituency. Sometimes these issues can be difficult. Lord, today is one of those days. We ask for healing and pray that you wouldn’t allow this to cause division not only in this body, but also within the state.” READ MORE: All black Mississippi senators walked out after their white counterparts voted to ban critical racism theory. Critical race theory is not taught at any Mississippi K-12 public school. Mississippi Today discovered that the University of Mississippi Law School is the only institution that teaches a CRT course. Even a Republican in the class said that the state legislature completely misrepresented the course’s teachings. The three-page bill does not mention the term “critical race theory”, so it is unlikely that it will be included in state code books. Some opponents claimed that the bill’s language could have a chilling impact on history teaching, particularly Mississippi’s dark and racist past, and cause censorship in state classrooms. During House floor debate, Rep. Zakiya Sommers stated that the language meant something to her. “… It is impossible to pass a bill such as this without continuing the rhetoric that we all can work together.” READ MORE. Lawmakers spent hours working on a bill banning critical race theory. But does it?