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Idaho Advances Bill Prohibiting Study Of Critical Race Theory In Public Schools And Universities

The bill is part of the Republicans' ongoing effort to ban ethnic studies across the country.

An Idaho bill aiming to ban the study of critical race theory is awaiting the governor's signature after passing the state House and the Senate reports CNN.

The subject, which scholars describe as the study of inequality and racism in the U.S., is viewed differently by proponents of the bill. 

According to the Idaho lawmakers, the goal is to prohibit public schools, including public universities, from teaching that "any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior."

The bill claims critical race theory seeks to "exacerbate and inflame divisions on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or other criteria in ways contrary to the unity of the nation and the well-being of the state of Idaho and its citizens."

Kimberlé Crenshaw, a founding critical race theorist and a law professor at UCLA and Columbia universities, disagrees with the lawmaker's perspective of the subject.

"It's an approach to grappling with a history of white supremacy that rejects the belief that what's in the past is in the past and that the laws and systems that grow from that past are detached from it," Crenshaw told CNN.

Idaho state Rep. Julianne Young and Sen. Carl Crabtree, who sponsored the bill, said the legislation doesn't prohibit the study of any specific subject.

"There are concerns that, in isolated instances, students have felt intimidated or coerced into certain ideologies. Every student deserves a learning environment where they can think freely and learn without prejudice," Crabtree said in an email to CNN.

Young said critical race theorists teach discrimination.

"I support teaching in the classroom that values history and experience, encourages compassion, and treats every individual with respect," the lawmaker said.

Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin assembled a task force earlier this month to "examine indoctrination in Idaho education" and to protect "young people from the scourge of critical race theory, socialism, communism and Marxism."

"As I have traveled around the state and spoken with constituents and parents, it has become clear to me that this is one of the most significant threats facing our society today," McGeachin said in a statement. "We must find where these insidious theories and philosophies are lurking and excise them from our education system."

Idaho students and teachers protested the bill on the capital steps on Monday before the Senate vote, KIVI reported

“As a student, I learn best when I'm allowed to teach myself. I love research projects and individual learning where I can go as in-depth as I want and make my own opinions about things and then share my findings and my reasoning with my class. This bill restricts that learning process,” said Shiva Rajbhandari, a Boise High School sophomore.  

The proposed Idaho bill is part of Republicans' ongoing effort to ban ethnic studies across the country. As Blavity previously reported, conservative lawmakers also proposed a bill earlier this year to stop schools from teaching "The 1619 Project," a study published by The New York Times to shed light on the reality of American slavery.

Former President Donald Trump also spearheaded the "1776 Commission," aiming to prevent students from learning about racial equality. Trump's report, however, was discarded after President Joe Biden took office. 

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