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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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’.”

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…”

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 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.”

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.”

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 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.”

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!”

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.”

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.”