Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a bill Friday that will ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the state’s public schools.
CRT is a Marxist-based philosophy that embraces the concept that all social and cultural issues should be viewed through the lens of race and racial identity.
Critics of CRT say its emphasis on identity politics creates greater division, rather than unity.
Stitt said in a video statement on Twitter:
Now more than ever, we need policies that bring us together, not rip us apart. And as governor, I firmly believe that not one cent of taxpayer money should be used to define and divide young Oklahomans about their race or sex. That is what this bill upholds for public education.
Stitt read from HB 1775: “No teacher shall require or make part of a course that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.”
He explained that while historic events such as the Oklahoma City bombing, the Tulsa Race Massacre, and the Oklahoma City lunch counter sit-ins, should be part of school curricula, they should be taught “without labeling a young child as an oppressor or requiring he or she feel guilt or shame, based on their race or sex.”
The governor continued:
I refuse to tolerate otherwise during a time when we are already so polarized. We cannot revert 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.
Democrats said the bill was unnecessary, reported the Associated Press.
“It is more than divisive,” said Alicia Andrews, chairperson of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. “It is exclusive and it acts to erase the existence of segments of our population.”
The report noted the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission also asked Stitt to veto the bill.