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30 House Republicans introduce bill to stop government from fighting racism

The bill was filed by Rep. Burgess Owens of Utah.

By Oliver Willis - May 17, 2021
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Burgess Owens

Thirty House Republicans on Friday introduced legislation that would prevent the federal government from supporting efforts to fight racism, sexism, and gender discrimination.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT) and has 29 co-sponsors, including Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Brian Mast (R-FL), Chip Roy (R-TX), and Ronny Jackson (R-TX).

H.R. 3235, if passed, would reinstate an executive order issued by Donald Trump that prevented the federal government from funding programs that included material on combating racism and gender stereotypes in the workplace.

Trump’s order, issued on Sept. 27, 2020, prevented federal contractors from conducting trainings for their employees that “inculcate” what the order called “divisive concepts,” including that “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist” and that “meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.”

President Joe Biden rescinded the order on Jan. 20, his first day in office.

In his executive order, Biden said:

Our Nation deserves an ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda that matches the scale of the opportunities and challenges that we face.

 

[…]

 

Affirmatively advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity is the responsibility of the whole of our Government.  Because advancing equity requires a systematic approach to embedding fairness in decision-making processes, executive departments and agencies (agencies) must recognize and work to redress inequities in their policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity.

The bill introduced by Owens claims that advancing equity is based on “critical race theory,” about which it says, “Critical Race Theory, according to Heritage Foundation visiting fellow Chris Rufo, is ‘the idea that the United States is a fundamentally racist country … ‘ … Critical Race Theory is, at its core, un-American, discriminatory, and based on Marxist ideology.”

It echoes Republican talking points about accurately discussing the role of systemic racism. Republicans have repeatedly attacked “critical race theory” as part of their campaign to undermine the fight against discrimination.

“I grew up attending segregated schools in the Jim Crow South during a time when people were treated differently based on the color of their skin. Critical Race Theory preserves this way of thinking and undermines civil rights, constitutionally guaranteed equal protection before the law, and U.S. institutions at large,” Owens said in a statement accompanying the release of the legislation.

The congressman gave an “exclusive” look at his proposed bill to the conservative Daily Caller, co-founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has himself made many racist statements on his program. The Daily Caller has repeatedly hired white supremacists to contribute to the publication.

Invoking “critical race theory” has also become a staple of Fox News.

Burgess also introduced a resolution attacking “critical race theory” in education.

In addition to sponsoring the bill, several Republican House members released statements supporting it.

“We are the United States of America, but Critical Race Theory wants to make us the Divided States of America,” Boebert wrote.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI), who also co-sponsored the bill, claimed that critical race theory “is the vehicle du jour of people who want to destroy America.”

The legislation is unlikely to get a full vote or pass while Democrats have a majority in the House.

In a separate legislative proposal, House Republicans on May 12 introduced legislation opposing anti-racist diversity training for federal civil and military employees, describing such training as “racist” and evidence of “critical race theory.”

Echoing Trump, Republicans have attacked initiatives like the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” aimed at expanding the history of America’s founding and growth to include the experiences and contributions of enslaved Americans.

Republicans who have attacked efforts to address discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, continue to support figures like Trump, who repeatedly publicly embraced and embraces bigoted ideas and rhetoric.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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