January 19, 2022

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‘Divisive concepts’ in Indiana anti-critical race theory bill found in 26 states – IndyStar

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Indiana is one of 30 states where legislation has been introduced to address the still-swirling debate around the teaching of critical race theory, or at least the concepts that have been conflated with it over the last 18 months. 

Senate Bill 167 and House Bill 1134 would, among other things, ban the teaching of eight “divisive concepts” related to race, sex, political affiliation and more. They have been controversial and strongly opposed by teachers and educational leaders. 

There are also questions about whether the bills are addressing a problem that exists in Indiana classrooms. The bills contain language that is, in part, identical to language in legislation introduced in at least 26 of those states, including Indiana. They include at least some, if not all, of the “divisive concepts” found in SB 167 and HB 1134. 

More:Stephen Colbert rips Indiana state senator on Nazism remarks

The concepts themselves were clearly inspired by or, in some cases, lifted almost entirely, from an executive order issued by former President Donald Trump in September of 2020 that applied to government agencies, nonprofits, and any other institution that had federal contracts or plans to apply for them. President Joe Biden rescinded the order Jan. 20, his first day in office.

Attempts to ban at least some of those concepts have also been introduced in Washington, Idaho, South Dakota, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

Noblesville Superintendent:Senate Bill 167 has ‘alarming consequences’ for schools

Here they are:

Trump’s executive order listed these “divisive concepts:”

  • one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex
  • the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist
  • an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously
  • an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex
  • members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex
  • an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex
  • an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex
  • any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex
  • meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.
Then-President Donald Trump speaks Dec. 8, 2020, during the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.

The divisive concepts banned by both SB 167 and HB 1134 are:

  • That any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation is inherently superior or inferior to another sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.
  • That an individual, by virtue of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
  • That an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.
  • That members of any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation should not attempt to treat others without respect due to sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.
  • That an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.
  • That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.
  • That any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish  responsibility, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.
  • That meritocracy or traits such as hard work ethic are  racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation to oppress members of another sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.

Call IndyStar education reporter Arika Herron at 317-201-5620 or email her at Arika.Herron@indystar.com. Follow her on Twitter: @ArikaHerron.

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