President Joe Biden on Monday criticized Republican efforts to limit how educators discuss racial and systemic discrimination in schools, arguing that teaching these topics is not about “waking up,” but about acknowledging history.
During a speech at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast from the National Action Network in Washington, D.C., the president highlighted some of his administration’s recent accomplishments, including establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday — drawing opposition from some Republicans who denounced the effort as “identity.” . politics.”
“The idea that we should remain silent about the wrongs of the past, as if they didn’t happen? That’s not waking up, that’s being honest,” Biden said. “That’s talking about history.”
Biden’s comments come amid renewed efforts by some Republicans to ban “critical race theory” in schools. Critical race theory is an academic discipline that studies how race has influenced social, legal, and political structures, but the term has been used by Republicans in recent years as a blanket indictment of any discussion of systemic racism or discrimination. Across the country, Republican lawmakers have introduced bills to restrict how these subjects are taught in public schools, including banning books.
Recently, newly inaugurated Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed an executive order banning “indoctrination and critical race theory” in public classrooms. Sanders, who previously served as former President Donald Trump’s press secretary, defended the ban on TBEN News Sunday, arguing that teachers “shouldn’t teach our kids and our students ideas to hate this country.”
And in Florida, Republican Ron DeSantis wants to overhaul public universities, starting with the historically progressive New College in Sarasota, where he recently appointed six conservative trustees to the board.
“We must ensure that our higher education institutions are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideologies,” DeSantis, who is expected to become president in 2024, said during his inaugural address earlier this month . .