On Tuesday, the Memphis City Council adopted a resolution opposing the state legislature’s ban on critical race theory.
The item was added last-minute to the council agenda. Council members Martavius Jones, Michalyn Easter-Thomas, JB Smiley, Cheyenne Johnson, Rhonda Logan, Jeff Warren, Ford Canale, Frank Colvett, Edmund Ford, and Chase Carlisle sponsored the resolution. The council voted unanimously in favor of the resolution without discussion.
As The Tennessee Star reported, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the bill effectively banning critical race theory earlier this month after much debate. The legislature had to create a conference committee in order to resolve conflict over the outright ban on critical race theory.
The committee not only approved the legislation – it added three more provisions concerning the prohibited types of conclusions typically advanced by critical race theory. All of the provisions are reproduced below:
- One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;
- An individual, by virtue or the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously;
- An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of the individual’s race or sex;
- An individual’s moral character is determined by the individual’s race or sex;
- An individual, by virtue or the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;
- An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual’s race or sex;
- A meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist, or designed by a particular race or sex to oppress members of another race or sex;
- This state or the United States is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist;
- Promoting or advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government;
- Promoting division between, or resentment of, a race, sex, religion, creed, nonviolent political affiliation, social class, or class of people; or
- Ascribing character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, privileges, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the individual’s race or sex; or
- The rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups; or
- All Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; or
- Governments should deny to any person with the government’s jurisdiction the equal protection of the law[,]” read the added provisions.
State Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) introduced the amending language at the beginning of the month. Since introducing the legislation, Ragan expressed some deep and varied criticisms of critical race theory. He called those who implement and support it “hucksters, charlatans, and useful idiots peddling identity politics.”
Schools in violation of this ban would be disciplined by Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. The legislation outlined Schwinn’s role as the one who decides how much of state funding would be withheld from a school if they violated the law on teaching critical race theory.
The council didn’t clarify if they intended to take further action beyond a resolution opposing the critical race theory ban.
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