AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas lawmakers are aiming to keep critical race theory out of schools, this time on college campuses.
Rep. Cody Harris, R-Palestine, filed House Bill 1607 on Wednesday, which would take away state funds from universities that teach critical race theory.
In the 2021 legislative session, Texas banned this concept from being taught in K-12 public schools. This year’s bill contains similar language, proposing that any institution of higher education may not teach that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is not inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
Nexstar reached out to Harris’ office for further comment, but he was not available in time for this report.
Republicans have said the bill is meant to keep racist ideologies out of the classroom, while Democrats said it would perpetuate them — leaving professors like Eric McDaniel, who teaches government at UT-Austin, somewhere in the middle of the debate.
He said this would undercut his ability to have nuanced conversations about race if this bill were to become law.
“At the core of this, what they’re trying to do is limit how we can discuss race,” McDaniel said. “This is really at getting at systematic racism and systematic sexism, with the idea being that you have to ignore the fact that policies [that] have been put forth in the past have given benefits to certain groups in perpetuity, and therefore, undercut other groups.”
He thinks many politicians have mislabeled or misunderstood what CRT is, and doesn’t want to lose the ability to have in-depth conversations with students about the intersection of race and policy.
“It’s really a discussion of policy and how policies made in the past affect things today, which I think nobody would disagree with,” McDaniel said. “Not being able to talk about policy and not being able to talk about the effects of things and how they have long-term effects on people’s lives means there are so many things that I cannot discuss.”
During his inauguration speech, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested eliminating CRT curriculum on Texas campuses will be a priority.
“If you are having or teaching [CRT] to our college students, we will ban it in college,” Patrick said during his inaugural address. “I don’t want the teachers in our colleges saying America is evil and capitalism is bad, and socialism is better. And if that means some of those professors who teach that don’t come to Texas, I’m OK with that.”