Critical Race Theory: Full list of states that have banned teaching of CRT

At least 21 states, including Arkansas, Texas, South Dakota, Georgia, and Arizona, have introduced bills that would restrict the teaching of CRT


                            Critical Race Theory: Full list of states that have banned teaching of CRT
Republican lawmakers have reportedly introduced a slate of new bills to control how teachers can talk about racism, sexism, and issues of equality and justice in front of students (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

In recent months, the debate over critical race theory (CRT) has intensified, with a number of states taking steps to outlaw it. Republican lawmakers have reportedly introduced a slate of new bills to control how teachers can talk about racism, sexism, and issues of equality and justice in front of students as they believe CRT creates division among students and trains them to judge differences in skin color above the content of character. At least 21 states, including Arkansas, Texas, South Dakota, Georgia, and Arizona, have introduced bills that would restrict the teaching of CRT.

According to reports, one target of the CRT opponents is ‘The 1619 Project’ -- a Pulitzer Prize-winning project. It’s a long-form project by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, writers from The New York Times, and The New York Times Magazine. ‘The 1619 Project’ “challenges us to reframe US history by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil as our nation's foundational date,” Pulitzer Center stated. It also hints that one of the main reasons behind the Revolutionary War was to preserve slavery.

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But Republicans on Capitol Hill are reportedly strictly against it. They even sent a letter to the US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona urging the elimination of the 1619 Project from the proposed education plan. They believe CRT and the 1619 Project are political in nature contrary to what many Democrats think. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell wrote in a letter to Cardona, “Families did not ask for this divisive nonsense. Voters did not vote for it. Americans never decided our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil.”

“Critical race theory, the 1619 Project and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, ideological poison, that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together, will destroy our country,” former President Donald Trump had once said, who in 2020 signed two executive orders -- one that intended to prohibit diversity training and training on critical race theory for federal workers and another one demanding patriotic education. However, the Biden administration has canceled both.

Which states have banned CRT?

Until now, a total of 21 American states have introduced bills that would control teaching critical race theory or keep a tab on how teachers can discuss racism and sexism. The names of these states are -- Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Out of these 21 states, four have already turned these bills into law and they are Idaho, Iowa, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.

According to Republican state Representative Patricia Morgan, who sponsored the Rhode Island bill, CRT “seeks to find racism in every part of American society. It is poisonous. It should have no place in our schools.” She added that Martin Luther King Jr. “looked to the day when all of us would be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin in his 1963 'I Have a Dream' speech. America embraced that goal and we have made great progress. Alarmingly, critical race theory does the opposite.”

What do CRT proponents say of this?

Jazmyne Owens, of public policy think tank New America, told CBS News that these bills are “really aimed at erasing and whitewashing American history.” Referring to a Texas bill passed in the state's House in May that apparently sought to prohibit discussion on privilege and white supremacy in schools, Owens said: “In the long term, bills of this nature, and those that intend to censor the way that race and systemic racism is discussed in the classroom are way more harmful to students.”

“Protecting education means being honest about the parts of our history that hurt, particularly chattel slavery, and being proactive in ensuring that we end current reproductions of racism and inequity in classrooms and beyond,” she added.

Ameila Moore, an associate professor at the University of Rhode Island who had opposed Morgan’s bill, stated, “Utilizing civil rights-era figures to talk about equality” is a cunning act. She noted, “I think there is an intentional misunderstanding. And perhaps the people like Patricia Morgan are not aware that they are being manipulated by other powers who are trying to reframe what we're capable of discussing as Americans.”

A parent identified as Ian Prior from Loudoun County, Virginia, also supported teaching CRT as he said, “Loudoun County Public Schools keep saying, ‘well, we don't take teach Critical Race Theory. Okay, well... it's not like physics or chemistry. It's a theory, right? It's a philosophy of looking at the world and, and equity-based education is the execution of that philosophy,” before adding: “If you were somebody that's for equality, you certainly appreciate diversity. You appreciate the equal opportunity for people to succeed in a colorblind meritocracy.”

And scholar Kyiarah Bridges believes CRT is an “[a]cknowledgement that racism is a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, that replicate racial inequality. This dismisses the idea that racist incidents are aberrations but instead are manifestations of structural and systemic racism.”

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