FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Controversy surrounds a curriculum that has sparked national conversation about the role of race and racism in schools nationwide, also known as Critical Race Theory.
In Arkansas, two bills were introduced this legislative session to ban teaching Critical Race Theory in public schools. While legislators are out of session and the bills are stalled, State Representative Nicole Clowney (D-86) said the theory is still under attack in the meantime.
The fact is, racial inequities are real it doesn’t take any special knowledge to look around the world and see that.”-STATE REPRESENTATIVE NICOLE CLOWNEY (D-86)
Civil Rights and Black Politics Professor, Dr. Najja Baptist said the theory looks at how minorities are still targeted today through laws and policies. For example, school funding being based on its property values, resulting in less funding for schools in minority communities that Dr. Baptist said face things like residential segregation.
“Critical race theory becomes problematic to some people because they talk about the patterns,” he said.
State Representative Mark Lowery (R-39), who proposed the two bills, said otherwise. Lowery said the bill is divisive, especially considering the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 that prohibited discrimination.
We have been working towards that more perfect union ever since… trying to get to that point where we- true in our institutions and in our teaching- prove that all men are created equal and endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights.”-STATE REPRESENTATIVE MARK LOWERY (R- 39)
Lowery is now calling on Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to issue an opinion on whether the theory violates the Equal Protection Clause, hoping her opinion will impact teacher’s thoughts on the curriculum while the bills are stalled.
It is teaching, it is instruction in classrooms or communities or even churches that gets students to a point where they may have prejudice.”–-STATE REPRESENTATIVE MARK LOWERY (R- 39)
Arkansas is not the only state that has seen legislation trying to ban these lessons in schools. Similar measures became law in three different states this year and were proposed in more than a dozen others.
Teaching that racial inequities exist is something that we should all strive to do. It’s a fact.”-STATE REPRESENTATIVE NICOLE CLOWNEY (D-86)