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GOP lawmakers seek ban on 'critical race theory' teaching in Ohio

Critical race theory is part of a scholarly movement that proposes examining U.S. history and modern society through a focus on the legacy of slavery and racism.
Credit: WBNS-10TV / Chris Poturalski
File photo - The Ohio Statehouse

Teaching so-called “critical race theory” would be prohibited in Ohio’s K-12 classrooms under a pair of bills introduced Tuesday by Republican state lawmakers that are similar to legislation introduced nationwide by GOP lawmakers.

Instructing students that one race or gender is inherently superior to another or that individuals could be considered racists by virtue of their skin color, would be prohibited under a bill introduced by GOP state Reps. Diane Grendell of Chesterland and Sarah Arthur of Geneva-on-the-Lake.

A second bill introduced by Rep. Don Jones of Freeport contains similar provisions and also prohibits teaching that the advent of slavery constituted the true founding of the United States.

Neither bill actually uses the phrase “critical race theory,” though Jones criticized the concept by name in a news release. Critical race theory is part of a scholarly movement that proposes examining U.S. history and modern society through a focus on the legacy of slavery, racism and discrimination. Critics say it proposes that the United States is a fundamentally racist country.

Jones called the theory anti-American, saying “it is designed to look at everything from a ‘race first’ lens, which is the very definition of racism.” Similar bans have been proposed by lawmakers in at least 16 other states, including Tennessee, where the governor signed a bill into law Monday.

Proponents say the concept is being misconstrued and is a way to discuss the role of racism in society, such as discrimination in bank loans.