Censorship and CRT

Hello and welcome to this page from The Historic Present that’s dedicated to our coverage of the rising move to censor K-12 and university teaching in the United States by banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and every other possible manifestation of the actual history of race in our country.

We’re calling this page “Censorship and CRT” just to keep it short, like a page name should be, but be aware that the specific, not-widely taught entity that is CRT is not the only target of state lawmakers and university stakeholders who wish to prevent Americans from learning about racism past and present.

We’ll keep updating it until that sad, infuriating task is no longer required.

It all began on October 20, 2020, with this initial post:

Truth v. Myth: Trump’s Executive Order on Diversity Education – “Welcome to the beginning of our series on the Trump Administration’s September 22, 2020 Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. You can find the official White House version of this executive order here. We’ll be quoting from it extensively as we work our way through this insidious piece of doublespeak.”

Now let’s have the most recent on top:

JANUARY 11, 2021 – Fuchs is leaving UF – will censorship remain? – Back on November 1, 2021, we first posted about president Ken Fuchs at the University of Florida and his rationale for preventing three political science department faculty members from testifying against Florida’s unconstitutional voting restriction law, which was that “despite the economic challenges faced by the State of Florida due to Covid, our elected officials invested even more in the University of Florida this past year, for which we are incredibly grateful.

DECEMBER 15, 2021 – A Template for Academic Freedom – “Three faculty members… wrote this two-page template for an Academic Senate Resolution that faculty at any institution can adapt to present to their own Academic Senate. The goal is to “get as many faculty senates as possible to adopt a resolutions called ‘Defending Academic Freedom to Teach about Race and Gender Justice and Critical Race Theory.’”

DECEMBER 9, 2021 – Pushback on book-banning and gay silencing in Texas – Two stories involving academic freedom in Texas came out recently within a few days of each other. The first involves librarians who created the Twitter hashtag #FReadom (freedom and reading = freedom to read) to inundate the Texas legislature hashtag #txlege with protests against the growing movement to ban books that Republican legislators and Republican governor Greg Abbott feel are inappropriate.

NOVEMBER 24, 2021 – November 2021 round-up: attacks on academic freedom in Florida and Texas – “There’s a lot to include in any wrap-up of the battle going on in the U.S. right now to make colleges and universities nothing more than weapons in the hands of Americans who want to dismantle our democracy. Through sheer chance, we began our coverage of the University of Florida on the first of this month, and that story has continued to evolve throughout November.”

NOVEMBER 1, 2021 – Freedom of double-speak – “We’re back once again to flag just one of the many open, unembarrassed attacks on our democracy going on right now, and it’s clear that this is not going to stop until that work is accomplished, or an equally powerful bloc of pro-democracy Americans occupy positions of authority in federal, state, and local governments, in K-Ph.D. education, and in corporations.”

AUGUST 17, 2021 – Nebraska update, site upgrade, and a new home for our posts on banning teaching about racism – “Hey, it’s a positive update for once! In fact, there are a couple of them to share.”

JULY 28, 2021 – This time it’s Nebraska: another state to ban teaching about racism? – “This time it’s Nebraska. On July 26, Governor Pete Ricketts tweeted (because Twitter is where state policy should be formed and debated) that I strongly urge the Board of Regents to pass the resolution opposing the imposition of Critical Race Theory on students, so we keep academic freedom alive and well at the University of Nebraska.”

JUNE 7, 2021 – Oklahoma and Kansas ban diversity education – “…if it seems like the HP only rears its head when another state legislature or university initiates a crackdown on democracy, in the form of banning instructors from teaching American students that racism was, and is still, a real thing that we are all a part of, some of us benefiting from it even without trying to, others of us suffering from it, then… you’re right!”

MAY 24, 2021 – Jen Psaki on the proposals to penalize the teaching of racism – “Here, a very short video of Jen Psaki, press secretary for the Biden Administration, dealing with it more concisely and definitively than we ever could.”

MAY 14, 2021 – New Hampshire bill would ban diversity training – “These grim updates have become part of the routine here at the HP–yet another state is pushing a bill through its legislature to stop the monstrous threat to democracy that is… democracy.”

MAY 3, 2021 – Idaho bans diversity training; or, Trump is not gone – “The Idaho House on Thursday approved legislation aimed at preventing public and charter schools and universities from teaching critical race theory, which examines the ways in which race and racism influence American politics, culture and the law.”

MARCH 23, 2021 – Trump is not gone – silence = death – “On March 18–just 5 days ago–we wrote about the Iowa state legislature working to incorporate the anti-justice language and intent of the Trump Executive Order 13950 of September 22, 2020 (Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping), which we spilled so much ink on late last year. The University of Iowa is being pressured by the state legislature to end diversity education for students and staff.”

MARCH 18, 2021 – Neutrality isn’t justice, silence = death – “Attempts to deny equality of opportunity by acknowledging racism do not die when an Order is rescinded.”

MARCH 2, 2021 – Biden Order on equity needs our help – “We left off in part 2 looking at the end of Section 4 and its directions for identifying methods to assess equity. Sec. 5 Conducting an Equity Assessment in Federal Agencies tasks the head of each agency, or someone they deputize, to consult with OMB to carry out a review of their agency…”

FEBRUARY 13, 2021 – Truth v. Myth: Biden Order defines racism as racist! (and anti-racism as anti-racist) – “We left off in part 1 looking at the end of Section 1 and its framing of equality of opportunity in positive economic terms. ‘Sec. 2 Definitions’ establishes the same for ‘equity’ and ‘underserved communities’.”

FEBRUARY 1, 2021 – Truth v. Myth: Biden Order on Advancing Racial Equity takes on Trump EO on same(?) – “As 2020 drew to a close, we did a Truth v. Myth close-reading series on the Trump Administration’s September 22, 2020 Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. Today, as 2021 rolls into its second month, we bookend that series with this: an examination of the Biden Administration’s January 20, 2021 Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

JANUARY 4, 2021 – Truth v. Myth: Trump Executive Order on diversity training, concluded… we hope – “We race through the concluding sections, noting the final problematic statements therein.”

DECEMBER 11, 2020 – Truth v. Myth: Trump Executive Order on diversity training; or, a return to McCarthyism – “Here we slog through Sections 4-6. Section 4 is Requirements for Government Contractors. This Order is, after all, directed toward “Executive departments and agencies (agencies), our Uniformed Services, Federal contractors, and Federal grant recipients”, so here’s where it gets very specific by outlining policy.”

DECEMBER 2, 2020 – Truth v. Myth: Trump Executive Order on diversity training redefines in order to mislead – “Every document has to define its terms. But when it redefines commonly used and accepted terms, be on the lookout for acts of bad faith.”

NOVEMBER 6, 2020 – Truth v. Myth: Trump Executive Order defines fighting racism as racist – “Today, we move on to the Order’s misrepresentation of anti-racism as a “destructive ideology.”

NOVEMBER 12, 2020 – Truth v. Myth: Trump Executive Order on diversity training “merits” criticism – “The Order picks up from where it left off–claiming that acknowledging the existence of racism is racist–by describing this acknowledgement as coercion.”