Extreme views taken by some local, state and federal political leaders who seek to limit what history can be taught in schools and undermine how black officials perform their jobs are among the top threats to democracy for black Americans, the National Urban League says.
Mark Morial, a former New Orleans mayor who leads a civil rights and urban advocacy organization, pointed to a recent example: the vote this month in the Republican-controlled Tennessee House. Expel the two black representatives For violating a legal rule. The pair attended a Gun control protests Three students and three staff were killed after firing inside the chamber at a Nashville school.
“We’ve had censorship and suppression of black history, and now this,” Morial said in an interview. “This is another fruit of the same poisonous tree, an attempt to suppress and contain.”
Both were Tennessee legislators Fast reset returned to work in the House after an uproar by leaders in their district and beyond the state.
The Urban League’s annual State of Black America report, released Saturday, is based on data and surveys from several organizations, including UCLA Law School, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. The collective findings reveal an increase in hate crimes in recent years and efforts to change classroom curricula, efforts to make voting more difficult, and the normalization of extremist views in politics, the military, and law enforcement.
One of the most prominent areas examined is the so-called Critical race theory. Scholars in the 1970s and 1980s developed it as an academic framework for what they saw as a lack of racial progress after the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. The theory centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they work to maintain white supremacy in society.
Director Taifa Alexander said the Forward Tracking project, part of the UCLA Law School, began in 2020 in response to protests over the killing of George Floyd and an executive order by then-President Donald Trump restricting diversity training.
The project’s website shows that 209 local, state and federal government agencies have introduced more than 670 bills, resolutions, executive orders, opinion papers, statements and other measures. Critical race theory From September 2020.
Anti-critical race theory is “itself a living organism. It’s always evolving. There are always new targets to attack,” Alexander said.
He said the extended scope of these laws will lead to major gaps in understanding history and social justice in teaching some aspects of the country’s ethnic conflict.
“This anti-CRT campaign is going to frustrate our ability to reach our full potential as a multinational democracy” because information that future leaders can use to address the issues will be missing, Alexander said.
One example, he said, was the rewriting of Florida elementary school material about civil rights figure Rosa Parks and her refusal to give up her seat to a white rider on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 — an incident that sparked a bus boycott there. One amendment dropped the mention of race entirely, a change first reported by The New York Times.
Florida has been the center of much action, including opposition AP African American StudiesBut it is not alone.
“The things that are happening in Florida have been replicated, or the governors of similarly situated states have claimed they will do the same,” Alexander said.
In Alabama, a proposal to ban “divisive” ideas passed a legislative committee last week. Last year, the administration of Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, withdrew a series of policies, memos and other resources related to diversity, equity and inclusion that it identified as “discriminatory and divisive concepts” in the state’s public education system.
Oklahoma public school teachers are prohibited from teaching certain concepts of race and racism under a bill Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law in 2021.
Daniel A. Varela/AP
On Thursday, Llano County Commissioners Court in Texas held a special meeting to consider closing The entire public library system is down Instead of following a federal judge’s order to return a slate of books on topics ranging from teen sexuality to bigotry to the shelves.
After hearing public comments for and against the shutdown, commissioners decided to drop the item from the agenda.
“We will suppress your books. We will suppress conversations about race and racism, and we will suppress your history, your AP courses,” Morial said. “It is singular in its efforts to suppress blacks.”
Other topics in his group’s reports address extremism in the military and law enforcement, energy and climate change, and how current attitudes can affect public policy. Missouri and Mississippi have proposals from predominantly white legislatures that would transfer some government authority from majority black cities to the state.
In many ways, the report raises concerns about everything from how much K-12 students should be taught about racism and sexism in a country deeply divided in recent years to the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
In last year’s election, 40 percent of voters said their local K-12 public schools were not teaching enough about racism in the United States, while 34% said it already was too much, according to AP VoteCast, a comprehensive survey of American voters. 23 percent said the current curriculum was correct.
About two-thirds of black voters said more should be taught about the topic, compared with about half of Latino voters and about one-third of white voters.
Violence is a major area of concern included in the Urban League’s report, especially in light of mass shootings in 2022. Grocery store in Buffalo, New York. The alleged shooter left a manifesto promoting the “Great Replacement Theory” as a motive for the killings.
Data released by the FBI this year indicates that hate crimes increased between 2020 and 2021. African Americans were disproportionately represented, accounting for 30% of all incidents where bias was known.
By comparison, the second largest racial group targeted in the single incident category was white victims, who made up 10%.
Rachel Carol Rivas, deputy director of research for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, said that when all activities are tabulated, including hate crimes, speech, discrimination incidents and online distractions, “we see a very clear and relatable threat to America. The disproportionate impact on black Americans.” .”