A summer course on race and racism at Oklahoma City Community College has been canceled despite full registration for the class for fear it may violate a recently passed state law that bans educators from teaching about racial oppression.
House Bill 1775 (HB1775), passed in early May, has been hotly-contested during the past several months.
The Oklahoman reported at the time that while some lawmakers, such as the Oklahoma Republican Party, believed it should be signed into legislation so that “children are not indoctrinated by dangerous leftist ideologies,” others believed the bill would set a troubling tone for discussions on racial equality.
Representative Kevin West, R-Moore, told The Oklahoman that the bill would not prevent teachers from teaching history or force them to remove anything currently set in the state’s education standards.
“This bill simply says that teachers can’t force a student to answer that they are inherently racist or sexist or that they must feel personally responsible for things perpetrated in the past by people of a similar race or gender,” West explained.
How HB1775 Will Affect Education
HB1775 mandates that teachers are not allowed to teach these concepts as part of their history lessons:
- One race or sex is inherently superior;
- An individual, due to their race or sex, is inherently oppressive;
- An individual bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by members of of his or her race or sex;
- An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.
These stipulations will take effect on July 1.
Some Outraged by the Bill
Response to the bill on the internet has been mixed, but many believe that it stifles discussion on important racial issues. Others have noted that lawmakers introduced the bill in the same year as the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
As a lifelong Oklahoman, I feel shame that so many of our state's government officials continue to emulate the 1921 massacre cover-up by supporting the signing of HB 1775 in 2021. Thanks to media outlets & historians for telling this United States story.
— DBJackson (@DBJackson8) June 1, 2021
HB/SB 1775 well, #Oklahoma, your leaders have made it illegal to teach truth, critical thinking, in relation to race issues. The great American sin gets shoved under again. The Tulsa disgrace, all of it. #KevinStitt signed what you all apparently wanted. Can't heal hiding truth.
— AprendxMaestrx (@AMaestrx) May 30, 2021