If you let conservatives in the Indiana legislature tell the story, indecisiveness killed a bill to eliminate critical race theory teaching and content from state schools.
But it also showcased that the scope and strength of arguments against CRT make them vulnerable to defeat. From the Indianapolis Star:
Even though Republicans have a supermajority in the General Assembly, Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, said he didn’t have the votes to support the bill that was inspired by nearly a year of debate about “critical race theory” in the state’s public schools.
They were largely divided into two camps after a Senate committee watered it down in the face of opposition.
“We had some members of our caucus who felt like it didn’t go far enough,” he said. “We had some members of our caucus that felt like it was too much of a burden on education and just not good policy that we wanted to move forward.”
Equal Opportunity Erasing
That last sentence is what makes CRT legislation challenging. Race is so intertwined in history, culture, and politics that complete abandonment undercuts the ideals and opportunities of those who want to get rid of it.
You can’t have a conversation about Abraham Lincoln without talking about his role in abolishing slavery. You can’t talk about Lyndon Johnson without civil rights legislation. And you can’t champion historically Black institutions of the south, or let them exist for that matter if race is removed from public education.
Federal holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth exist with critical race theory observances. Schools and businesses are typically out on these days, and politicians of all stripes use the day to promote civil services, racial tolerance, and unity. Are these days to be wiped from districts’ calendars? Would any politician be willing to say these holidays are unpatriotic?
When legislative lines get re-drawn, school board lobbying and policy advocacy become a new game with fresh faces. How will Republicans, who largely champion re-drawing lines for political staying power, consider a future of changing school district demographics and concerns? Ohio may be a precursor to a national view in the coming years.
Schools have an interesting way of keeping society honest. They tell the story of American desegregation more clearly than any other industry or national subculture. They are the source of reformation of mind and sprit when it comes to racial attitudes and concepts.
No one wants race to go away as a topic, but just that people don’t go about having it as loudly as they are now.