An Oklahoma bill seeks to ban teaching ‘divisive concepts’, but not everyone agrees on what that means; some think the bill is more harmful

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A bill that would ban teaching divisive concepts concerning race in schools has been filed at the State Capitol. Its author says America has become too preoccupied with the color of people’s skin. Opponents say its frustrating to see these types of bills in light of recent racial injustice.

The author of Senate Bill 803 says that racism is actually being taught in the classroom under the guise of diversity.

“We reject any type of racial supremacy, we want to really realize that more perfect union,” said Sen. Shane Jett.

The Republican from Shawnee says his bill would make the teaching of divisive concepts concerning race a fireable offense in Oklahoma public schools. Citing concepts like “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” as being divisive.

“It divides Americans into two basic camps, your white and you are part of an oppressive regime or you’re a person of color and you’re oppressed,” said Jett.

“It was racially insensitive I thought. It was not a well-written bill; it seems like it said we don’t care and we are going to say these things,” said Sen. George Young.

The Democrat from Oklahoma City says its frustrating that SB 803 has been filed given the racial injustices of the last year.

“You are going to penalize teachers that teach the truth,” said Young.

But Jett says past racism in our nation should be taught, like the Tulsa Race Massacre and the drug store sit-ins.

“We should recognize that America was born in an incredibly unjust world.” Said Jett.

But he says the concept of Critical Race Theory is being taught in schools in New York and California and its a huge problem.

“It’s causing young people in the class room to question the validity, the sanctity, the justice of the very system that has created the system where these dialogues can happen, and Critical Race Theory and Marxists activist are taking advantage of American good will and trying to teach our children lies,” said Jett.

The Purdue University website describes Critical Race Theory as “a theoretical and interpretive mode that examines the appearance of race and racism across dominant cultural modes of expression. In adopting this approach, CRT scholars attempt to understand how victims of systemic racism are affected by cultural perceptions of race and how they are able to represent themselves to counter prejudice.”

“Every single second for our black, indigenous people of color in our state and nation is about race; race is an active issue,” Said Shannon Fleck, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.

Some city leaders think the bill is very flawed.

“It’s offensive to all people in Oklahoma that conversations about racism are so divisive that they shouldn’t be happening. That’s the opposite of how to solve problems in our country and in our state,” said Fleck

The bill was not heard in the Senate Education Committee Meeting on Tuesday, but still could be heard at some point before May.

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