The Tennessee senate has passed a bill to restrict what may be taught in their universities. The bill is fairly long, including rules for assessment and enforcement, but I’ll just excerpt the list of “divisive concepts” you may not teach.
(1) “Divisive concept” means a concept that:
(A) One (1) race or sex is inherently superior or inferior to another race or sex;
(B) An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously;
(C) An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of the individual’s race or sex;
(D) An individual’s moral character is determined by the individual’s race or sex;
(E) An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;
(F) An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual’s race or sex;
(G) A meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist, or designed by a particular race or sex to oppress another race or sex;
(H) This state or the United States is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist;
(I) Promotes or advocates the violent overthrow of the United States government;
(J) Promotes division between, or resentment of, a race, sex, religion, creed, nonviolent political affiliation, social class, or class of people;
(K) Ascribes character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, privileges, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the individual’s race or sex;
(L) The rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups;
(M) All Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;
(N) Governments should deny to any person within the government’s jurisdiction the equal protection of the law;
(O) Includes race or sex stereotyping; or
(P) Includes race or sex scapegoating;
Great! (J) means we can kick the Young Republicans off campus.
You can see what they’re trying to do, and it’s antithetical to the university’s purpose. I agree that one race or sex is NOT inherently superior to another, but does this bill mean I couldn’t discuss that, at all, in the classroom, even if my goal is to discuss how I came to that conclusion? We’re just supposed to accept it by legislative fiat? Hey, all you students, memorize this statement, don’t question it, your Republican overlords demand it.
Some restrictions I vehemently disagree with. We can’t say that
This state or the United States is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist? But it was and is. We were founded on slavery, women weren’t allowed to vote, etc., and Tennessee Republicans want to prevent people from saying the facts?
Even better: they can fine you up to $5 million for saying what I just wrote.
I can tell where the Republican obsessions lie. This is implicitly a bill against diversity, or any questioning of the wealthy white male American imaginary version of reality. Consider that earlier this year the GOP chastised a new member of the state congress for not conforming to the unwritten laws of what a congressperson looks like.
“If you don’t like rules, perhaps you should explore a different career opportunity that’s main purpose is not creating them,” wrote the Tennessee House GOP on Twitter.
The tweet was a reply to Rep. Justin J. Pearson (D-Shelby County), writing, “We literally just got on the State House floor and already a white supremacist has attacked my wearing of my Dashiki.”
A dashiki is a traditional West African loose-fitted shirt. On Thursday, Pearson wore a black one in the chamber.
(Foreshadowing: later, they’d find an excuse to kick Mr Pearson out.)
A dashiki is respectful, and can be a formal, kind of attire. They have a dress code that both requires a conservative Western style, and has different requirements for men and women. But hell no, they don’t enforce any kind of discrimination. It’s a meritocracy, don’t you know.
President Botha gives you the facts.
This bill is likely to be illegal and unconstitutional.
There is that First Amendment Freedom of Speech part of the US constitution.
It’s also an extreme example of thought control.
A fine of $5 million for saying something obvious?
A bunch of wimps here.
Stalin would have just had them shot.
What is the penalty for calling the War of Northern Aggression the US Civil War or mentioning that Tennessee was once a slave holding state?
Ada Christine says
the state abridging the right to freedom of speech? sure, it’ll be fine.
Oregon school board drops ban on gay pride and other symbols
A school board in Newburg, Oregon was taken over by right wingnuts.
They prohibited BLM and Rainbow symbols in the schools.
Got taken to court and lost.
“The local teachers’ union said the court settlement includes the school board reimbursing both the National Education Association and the Oregon Education Association for part of their legal fees.
The Yamhill County Circuit Court ruled earlier that the school board’s policy violated the state constitution’s free speech guarantee.”
Well, at least
isn’t a problem; the real problem with a so-called meritocracy is that it’s an impossible fantasy.
…What a bunch of idiots. No questioning of the systems of the status quo allowed, huh? And they wonder why educated people overwhelmingly reject their ideology.
So, you are allowed to teach that a group of races are inherently superior or inferior? Or that a single race is, under the current circumstances, but not inherently, superior? And that’s before we even get to the question of how “race” is defined for this purpose.
This has so many holes, the only use I see is as a case study for poorly-made legislation. But then again, that might be construed to violate sub-rule (L).
Akira MacKenzie says
Right-Wingers: “Dissent is being stifled! Academic freedom and free speech on campus are being infringed by ideologues!”
Also Right-Wingers: “HERE’S A LIST OF THE STUFF WE DON’T WANT YOU TO TEACH BECAUSE IT’S WOKE, COMMIE, DOO-DOO!!!”
I’m surprised they didn’t throw in some YEC and climate-change-denialism in there.
Akira MacKenzie says
What’s so fucking great about meritocracy?
All the power and money goes to the “winners” while everyone else who can’t “win” suffers.
Wait, I think I answered my own question.
Is this right wingnut list of illegal speechand ideas an example of Cancel Culture, Deplatforming, or Freedom?
It is difficult keeping their delusions sorted out.
CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says
So they should have no problem denouncing… oh.
Article: TheHill – House Republicans refuse to join Democrats in denouncing white supremacy
Letter (pdf): The Democrats’ request
And those are the same people who say that they need unrestricted access to firearms to protect them from a tyrannical government that restricts their freedom.
Their idea of freedom is for everyone to think, do, look like them or you will be punished until you do (and if you cannot change the offending aspect, you need to disappear from “their” country).
Evil Dave says
The biggest problem with “Meritocracy” is that those who invoke it appear to have no objective metric to determine an individuals “merit”. Instead, they assume that members of groups they favor (usually white males) have earned their places by “merit”, while anyone else has not.
Rich Woods says
I look forward to the Religious Studies and Theology schools staying silent on the concept of Original Sin.
Give them time, we’ll see Christian Taliban editing of college anatomy and physiology books to censor out the “ladies bits” as obscene, so that OB/GYN literally won’t know what the anatomy they’re to operate upon looks like. I’ve actually saw such “editing” done with black marker by religious police abroad in such college level books.
As for conservative western attire, OK, since a dashiki is evil, the next day I’d be in full battle rattle of current issue camouflage fatigues, Interceptor body armor with plates and a loaded M4 strapped to my chest with 800 round combat load. That’s a decidedly conservative attire.
When they gripe again, “No taxation without representation!”.
I graduated from the George S. Patton School of Diplomacy. Our motto, “If they give you any guff, run it over with a tank like we did with the Bonus Army”.
F: A person should not feel anguish etc. I do remember hearing about and, later seeing pictures, movies, and so on about racial inequality, slavery, lynchings, the Holocaust, starting when I was about 10, in the early 1960s. Did I feel “anguish”? Actually, I felt pissed! That feeling persisted: to the present day, when I learn about injustice, I get angry. Getting politically active gave me a place to channel that anger, to actually do something to help. I think the reason these Rethugs are passing laws that prohibit teaching about horrors like slavery–and about people who self-emancipated–is not that they don’t want students to feel “anguish.” They don’t give a damn about anguish. What they care about is anger: they don’t want another angry generation. That could lead to, I dunno, the anti-war movement, Stonewall,… (P.S. I love these angry young people now!)
Pierce R. Butler says
(O) Includes race or sex stereotyping; or
(P) Includes race or sex scapegoating;
So, under this law, virtually no films or television shows (never mind False Noise) allowed on any Tennessee campus?
I think you may have misinterpreted (J). It clearly means you can’t resent a person based on party affiliation, so long as it’s GOP. It doesn’t apply to representatives who are black Democrats, especially those who wear conspicuously violent clothes.
Under (F) we don’t want any of our kids to feel discomfort about their education, so we’ve outlawed inclusion of any history concerning blacks. Slavery never existed here in the South — I’m not sure what happened in other parts of the country, however. That’s why my neighbor flies the Southern Heritage flag (you know, the stars and bars) with the American flag underneath.
With meritocracy, (G), we stand proud of our record of women and minorities holding government jobs. All two dozen — but we’re particularly proud of Marsha Blackburn.
My home state has successfully turned our legal system back to the mid-nineteenth century, and we’re aiming for the eighteenth. We’re not there yet, but we expect to beat Texas and Florida.
Tabby Lavalamp says
Well, this is what you get when the state is run by people who believe in fantastic mythological nonsense like God, angels, meritocracies, and racism not being systemic.
“(I) Promotes or advocates the violent overthrow of the United States government;”
At least they’ve come around to cracking down on the Jan 6 revolt…