News Story

Democrat Claims Bill Banning Racialized Curriculum Cancels Race History Lessons - It Doesn't

Here’s what two pending bills would do

A Nov. 5 op-ed written by Democratic state Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden and published by Bridge Michigan claims that Republican legislation restricting racialized curriculums in public schools would bar her great-grandfather’s lynching from being included in lessons.

“Now, Republicans in the Michigan Legislature want to prevent this type of story from being told in our schools. What happened to my great grandfather was not an uncommon occurrence for that time and it should be told and discussed. But, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle don’t want our children not to know it happened by advancing HB 5097.”

But no bills have been introduced that would prohibit events related to America’s troubled history of race relations from being taught.

Two bills related to race-based public school curriculums have been introduced this year by Republican lawmakers. Neither would prevent school history lessons from including events like the 1916 lynching of Jesse Washington, the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, or the 1943 Detroit race riot that triggered passage of an Emergency Powers of Governor law.

Senate Bill 460 would prohibit a curriculum that includes “coverage of the critical race theory, the 1619 project, or any of the following anti-American and racist theories":

  • "That any race is inherently superior or inferior to any other race.
  • "That the United States is a fundamentally racist country.
  • "That the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution are fundamentally racist documents.
  • "That an individual's moral character or worth is determined by his or her race.
  • "That an individual, by virtue of his or her race, is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously."

The bill is pending in the Senate after being reported by the Education and Career Readiness committee on a party-line vote.

On Nov. 2 the Michigan House passed House Bill 5097 to prohibit public schools from adopting a “race or gender stereotyping” curriculum that includes the following “general or particular statements”:

  • That all individuals comprising a racial or ethnic group or gender hold a collective quality or belief
  • That individuals act in certain ways or hold certain opinions because of their race or gender
  • That individuals are born racist or sexist by accident of their race or gender
  • That individuals bear collective guilt for historical wrongs committed by their race or gender
  • That cultural norms or practices of a racial or ethnic group or gender are flawed and must be eliminated or changed to conform with those of another racial or ethnic group or gender
  • That racism is inherent in individuals from a particular race or ethnic group or that sexism is inherent in individuals from a particular gender
  • That a racial or ethnic group or gender is in need of deconstruction, elimination, or criticism
  • That the actions of individuals serve as an indictment against the race or gender of those individuals

The bill passed 55-0, with Republicans all in favor and Democrats abstaining from the vote.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.