‘An Understanding of the 1619 Project’ Cannot be Required According to Proposed Texas Law

Here is a portion of the official bill analysis filed on July 15, 2021 (first special session of the Texas Legislatue), in support of S.B. 3 “Relating to certain curriculum in public schools, including certain instructional requirements and prohibitions.”

(4) a teacher, administrator, or other employee of a state agency, school district, or open-enrollment charter school is prohibited from:

(A) requiring or making part of a course inculcation in the concept that:

(i) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;

(ii) an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;

(iii) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex;

(iv) an individual’s moral character, standing, or worth is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex;

(v) an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;

(vi) an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex;

(vii) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race;

(viii) the advent of slavery in the territory that is now the United States constituted the true founding of the United States; or

(ix) with respect to their relationship to American values, slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality;

(B) teaching, instructing, or training any administrator, teacher, or staff member of a state agency, school district, or open enrollment charter school to adopt a concept listed under Paragraph (A); or

(C) requiring an understanding of the 1619 Project.

Editor’s Note: Here is a self-description of the 1619 Project from the New York Times Magazine:

“The 1619 Project began with the publication, in August 2019, of a special issue of The New York Times Magazine containing essays on different aspects of contemporary American life, from mass incarceration to rush-hour traffic, that have their roots in slavery and its aftermath. Each essay takes up a modern phenomenon, familiar to all, and reveals its history. The first, by the staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones (from whose mind this project sprang), provides the intellectual framework for the project and can be read as an introduction.

“Alongside the essays, you will find 17 literary works that bring to life key moments in American history. These works are all original compositions by contemporary black writers who were asked to choose events on a timeline of the past 400 years. . . .

“In addition to these elements, we partnered with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture to create a brief visual history of slavery. That is as good a place to start as any.

“A word of warning: There is gruesome material in these stories, material that readers will find disturbing. That is, unfortunately, as it must be. American history cannot be told truthfully without a clear vision of how inhuman and immoral the treatment of black Americans has been. By acknowledging this shameful history, by trying hard to understand its powerful influence on the present, perhaps we can prepare ourselves for a more just future.

“That is the hope of this project.”

Editor’s Note: Under the proposed Texas law, here are some things that will be required:

(h-2) Requires SBOE, in adopting the essential knowledge and skills for the social studies curriculum for each grade level from kindergarten through grade 12, to adopt essential knowledge and skills that develop each student’s civic knowledge, including:

(1) an understanding of:

(A) the fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government;

(B) the history, qualities, traditions, and features of civic engagement in the United States;

(C) the structure, function, and processes of government institutions at the federal, state, and local levels;

(D) the founding documents of the United States, including:

(i) the Declaration of Independence;

(ii) the United States Constitution;

(iii) the Federalist Papers, including Essays 10 and 51;

(iv) excerpts from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America;

(v) the transcript of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate; and

(vi) the writings of the founding fathers of the United States; and

(E) the history and importance of:

(i) the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. Section 2000a et seq.);

(ii) the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Nineteenth Amendments to the United State Constitution;

(iii) the complexity of the historic relationship between Texas and Mexico; and

(iv) the diversity of the Hispanic population in Texas;

(2) the ability to:

(A) analyze and determine the reliability of information sources;

(B) formulate and articulate reasoned positions;

(C) understand the manner in which local, state, and federal government works and operates through the use of simulations and models of governmental and democratic processes;

(D) actively listen and engage in civil discourse, including discourse with those with different viewpoints;

(E) responsibly participate as a citizen in a constitutional democracy; and

(F) effectively engage with governmental institutions at the local, state, and federal levels; and

(3) an appreciation of the importance and responsibility of participating in civic life, a commitment to the United States and its form of government, and a commitment to free speech and civil discourse.

QED: “The controversy surrounding CRT is not about the verifiability of its claims or the accuracy of attributing social inequities to anti-Black racism. The debate over CRT is at its heart the assertion, through censorship and punishment, that Black people do not—and should not have—the ability to indict the historical legacy of white civilization and the virtue of white individuals. Insofar as the dissent of Black peoples and other non-white victims of white violence become popularly endorsed, the white managerial structures of American and British societies demand a limit on the discussion of racism and critiques of white societies. As such, the failures of Black people—their poverty, death, and under-representation—cannot be attributed to their history of exclusion and oppression, only their cultural inadequacies or personal failures. In short, the white managerial classes have decided that censorship is necessary to curb not only undesirable speech, but unwanted social empowerment among Black, Brown, and indigenous populations who seek a redistribution of power and economic resources. The effect of which is that Black peoples, despite the rhetoric of equality, remain subject and not a citizen within white democratic societies.”

–Tommy J. Curry. “Racism and the equality delusion: The real critical race theory.IAI News: An Online Magazine of Big Ideas, 16 July 2021.

By mopress

Writer, Editor, Educator, Lifelong Student

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