OLYMPIA, Wash. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Critical race theory (CRT) is being forced on Washington's K–12 educators.
Over the weekend, Washington's Democrat governor Jay Inslee signed into law Senate Bill 5044 (SB 5044). The new legislation compels teachers across the state to partake in training focused on ending so-called systemic racism in public schools. It states:
The legislature plans to continue the important work of dismantling institutional racism in public schools and recognizes the importance of increasing equity, diversity, inclusion, antiracism and cultural competency training throughout the entire public school system by providing training programs for classified staff, certificated instructional staff, certificated administrative staff, superintendents and school directors that will be provided in an ongoing manner.
Supporters of the law, according to a report by the state senate, claim SB 5044 helps immigrant students and students of color "feel safe, heard and understood."
But critics aren't buying it and petitioned the governor last month to veto the legislation. Others say bills like these are shrouded with Marxist language — language attributed to critical race theory, which teaches history through a lens of racial conflict (as opposed to Marx's class conflict).
One human resources expert and author, Jim Stroud, holds that training like this leads to more bullying and anxiety in work settings.
"You work with your co-workers, you had good friendships, good team-building exercises, everything is fine," he illustrates. "After the training, you're looking at your co-workers in a different way. You're wondering, okay, I thought you were my friend, but because of this training, I now believe that you're oppressing me, so I don't really know if we're really friends."
Amid these concerns, Republican states are doing the opposite of Washington. Republican governors are banning educators from teaching critical race theory.
Just last week, Oklahoma's Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 1775, banning curricula that teach "one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex" or that "an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously."
In Texas, there are two bills prepared to ban the "woke" philosophy. Last week, Senate Bill 2202 passed the upper chamber in an 18–13 vote. House Bill 3979, meanwhile, is set to be considered as early as this week in the lower chamber.
Idaho's Gov. Brad Little signed House Bill 377 on April 30, prohibiting teachers from promoting ideas that tell students "any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color or national origin is inherently superior or inferior."
For Catholics, the debate is still about fighting Marxist philosophies, as Pope Pius XI instructed in Divini Redemptoris, his 1937 encyclical against atheistic communism.
There is also an issue of preserving fraternity, as critics often label critical race theory "divisive." This kind of division, according to Pope Francis' latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, is harmful to human relationships:
At a time when various forms of fundamentalist intolerance are damaging relationships between individuals, groups and peoples, let us be committed to living and teaching the value of respect for others, a love capable of welcoming differences, and the priority of the dignity of every human being over his or her ideas, opinions, practices and even sins.