Oklahoma Signs Legislature To Ban Critical Race Theory

Governor Kevin Stitt speaks to Oklahoma Watch reporter Paul Monies at the Capitol on March 26, 2019. Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt recently signed a bill banning Critical Race Theory and similar practices from being taught in public schools and universities.

Bill 1775 was passed to prohibit curriculums from teaching students that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another” or that an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive. Supporters of the bill argue that this will prevent racial stereotyping in the state while opponents believe it will suppress critical discussions about racism in society today. Stitt has become the first governor to sign legislation banning these trainings into law.

“Now more than ever, we need policies that bring us closer together – not rip us apart. As governor, I firmly believe that not one cent of taxpayer money should be used to define and divide young Oklahomans by their race or sex,” Gov. Stitt said.

The bill’s sponsors, Rep. Kevin West, and state Sen. David Bullard, proposed the legislation to stop students from engaging in any type of mandatory gender or sexual diversity training. They said the pieces of training are based on Marxist ideology to teach racial stereotypes to students and make them hate American exceptionalism. They also emphasized that identity politics creates greater division in the country, rather than unity and that you don’t have to use racism to teach racism.

But many Democrats opposed the GOP-controlled legislature, saying it is being used to “suppress conversations around racism” and is being used as a ‘bogeyman’ to draw critical attention to the history of the country. Paula Lewis, the Oklahoma City Public School Board head, slammed the move as “outright racist” and called the order an “oppressive piece of legislation.”

The governor, however, said nothing in the bill prevents or discourages conversations in public schools about “our painful past,” but that they can do so in a way without labeling a young child as an ‘oppressor’ or requiring that specific student feel guilt or shame based on their race or sex. He adds that he still endorses the Oklahoma Academics Standards curriculum, which covers topics such as the Trail of Tears, the Oklahoma City lunch counter sit-ins, the Tulsa Race Massacre, and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Stitt concluded his message by quoting Martin Luther King Jr. and that people should be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. He said that he refuses to tolerate polarized thinking or revert back to 100-year-old thinking that a person is any less valuable or inherently racist by the color of their skin.

“Martin Luther King spoke of a day when people in America would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. House Bill 1775 codifies that concept, that so many of us believe in our hearts, including me, and as governor, I will not stand for publicly funded K through 12 schools, training impressionable minds to define themselves by their sex or their race,” Stitt said.

Republicans in Idaho, Iowa, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Arizona have also effectively banned Critical Race Theory and similar teachings from being taught in public schools. Other teachings include the New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project” and the works of Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to be an Antiracist.”

Two Republican congressmen, Reps. Doug Lamborn and Jeff Duncan even sent a letter to US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urging the Biden Administration against spending taxpayer money on Critical Race Theory lessons for the nation’s students. This came after the Education Department prioritized financial grants for schools wanting to incorporate teachings that “reflect the diversity, identities, histories, contributions, and experiences of all students.”

These teachings are counter to the American Dream and reframe US history to promote attacks on our Constitution. Sooner or later, the race-baiters and brain-washed tactics by leftists will have to settle for private schools and liberal college institutions. They don’t belong anywhere near the taxpayer’s dollar.