NC House passes bill to limit how racism is taught. Democrats call it ‘book burning.’

North Carolina’s legislature is the latest state to block the teaching of critical race theory in public schools, as a number of Republican-led states have taken steps to limit or ban parts of the nation’s history being taught.

House Bill 324, which cleared the crossover deadline, prohibits schools from teaching how systemic racism has been and remains part of the nation’s history. The bill comes as the State Board of Education voted to adopt new social studies standards that require diverse views to be included when history is taught.

  • House Bill 324 is the latest effort by the state’s Republican leaders to have more control of what happens in classrooms and limitations on instruction about racism in America.
  • State Democrats strongly opposed the Republican’s revisionist history legislation, with Rep. John Autry, a Mecklenburg County Democrat stating, “We’re conflating racial analysis with racism as a way of protecting the sensibility of us white folks”.
  • “We’re robbing kids if we don’t give them the opportunity to study and to really learn their history. By not teaching them their history, we’re not showing them that injustice can be made into justice,” stated Rep. James Gailliard, a Nash County Democrat.

As inequities and injustices are being laid bare in all aspects of our society from social, economic, environmental and health, there has never been a more important time to empower students with the skills needed to reflect on their own experiences, understand the challenges others face and be the change they wish to see. 

Yet unsurprisingly, Republicans are doing what they know best, being divisive while attempting to control any corner of our society that goes against their efforts to gain power. 

The same Republicans who are undermining our educators and are attempting to rewrite this nation’s history, are the same politicians who repeatedly stripped away Black and Brown North Carolinians right to vote, racially gerrymandered our electoral districts, has empowered resegregation in school districts, limited the release of police-cam videos and are currently criminalizing North Carolinians who are exercising their constitutional right to peaceably assemble.

Bottom Line: The passage of House Bill 324 emphasizes Republicans unwillingness to address systemic injustices and racism — choosing to disregard investments that would give our children tools that will allow them to understand our history, people’s lived experiences, and how they can recognize the influence of bias in their own lives. 

In the end, our lawmakers should be pushing for legislation that will help future generations build towards a more inclusive society and become better than us. Yet, NC Republicans are using their position and privilege to rewrite parts of our history that makes them uncomfortable at the expense of educators and students across the state.  

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Alanna Joyner

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