Abbott Bans Texas Teachers from Discussing Racism in the Classroom One Day After Democrats in Congress Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

AUSTIN, TexasGov. Abbott today signed an “anti-critical race theory” bill into law that dictates how and if Texas K-12 teachers can talk about current events, America and Texas’ history of racism, and how our past has impacted our communities and social structures. The law takes effect on September 1.

Not only does the law forbid the discussion of certain topics, it also requires that if teachers do bring up such topics, they must also present “both sides”, a dubious proposition when discussing the history of racism in Texas and the United States.

For example, the law goes so far as to forbid the teaching or discussion of The New York Times’ 1619 Project which explains the history of American slavery since the first African slaves set foot on the original colonies.

Abbott’s action came one day after Democrats in the U.S. Senate passed legislation to make Juneteenth, a commemoration of when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free, a national holiday.

Texas Democratic Party Vice Chair, Dr. Carla Brailey, issued the following statement:

“Having white history overrepresented in public education while simultaneously banning the discussion of the negative impacts of that history is itself an example of institutional racism. Texas history is as diverse as the people who live here. We deserve to not only be included in the teaching of that history, but to have unfettered access to and discussion about the true foundation of our country.

“As if it weren’t abhorrent enough for state Republican lawmakers to draft this bill, our governor continues to disrespect fellow Texans of color, particularly Black Texans, by signing this bill into law the day after the Senate passed legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. The contrast between Republicans and Democrats has never been clearer. Learning about our history — all of it — allows for all members of our society to be fully seen and represented.

“How will Texas students learn about this important new federal holiday if their teachers are barred from discussing it? This is downright shameful on the part of Abbott and the entire Texas GOP and a disservice to Texans everywhere.”