MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A newly filed bill in the Alabama Legislature would make teaching critical race theory in schools a fireable offense.
On Friday, bill sponsor Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens) spoke with CBS 42 about the proposed legislation.
“The bill deals with types of theories that are taught in K-12 and higher education like critical race theory,” Crawford said. “It deals with what we will not teach in our schools as far as one race is an oppressor, and one is oppressed.”
Crawford said the bill forbids not just racial differentiation, but distinctions around sex and national origin.
“That’s because we have seen some discrimination against Asian-Americans,” he said.
Asked if he thought Black people, like Asian-Americans, have been oppressed in Alabama, Crawford said although it may have happened in the past, it is not true today.
“I would say that in our history that is true — in the history of our country and our state. I’m sure there’s racism, but it’s not like it used to be.”
Read the full bill here:
In reference to current challenges for the Black community emphasized by some scholars, including mass incarceration and voter suppression, Crawford said he does not agree that they are a sign of oppression.
“I don’t think people are oppressed because of the color of their skin,” he said. “As far as who’s in prison, I don’t believe you can look at it as a race thing. There’s so much crime going on, but a lot of the Blacks that are a victim of crime are from other Blacks.”
Federal statistics show that most murders occur within one’s own race, whether white or Black.
Crawford said he did not hear from educators or parents before filing the bill, but did speak with a member of the state school board, whom he did not name. He said he would support the state board of education banning the teaching of critical race theory “in a heartbeat.”
Crawford said he learned about critical race theory when a discussion about the topic began amongst state lawmakers during the last legislative session. “And it seems like it’s gotten worse since then,” he emphasized.
State superintendent Eric Mackey has said that critical race theory is “certainly not” being taught in Alabama schools. Some higher educational programs, particularly in law schools, do teach the subject. Crawford said he wasn’t necessarily sure whether the bill would outlaw a class specifically focused on critical race theory, however.
“This bill encourages free thinking,” he said. “I don’t know what the class would be teaching. If folks have an opportunity to discuss, then maybe it would be okay, but to say we’re going to teach it as truth in law school is not okay.”
Crawford said his bill is likely to be combined with two others that deal with the same topic during the next legislative session. Barring a special session, the state legislature’s next meeting will be in 2022.