The Tennessee General Assembly has reportedly banned the teaching of critical race theory through a law that comes at the very end of a legislative session to withhold funding from public schools that teach about white privilege.
According to USA Today, Republicans introduced provisions that ban schools from instructing students that one race is responsible for the past actions against another, race privilege, or that the United States is fundamentally racist.
The ban comes amidst similar actions in other states, including Idaho and one proposed in Texas.
According to Britannica, critical race theory is an intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color.
On Wednesday (May 5), the bill prompted a long and spirited debate on the Tennessee Senate floor, where the chamber's three Black women each spoke out against the ban.
Senate Democratic Caucus Chairwoman Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, argued the bill promotes revisionist history, while Sen. Katrina Robinson, another Democrat, told her colleagues she was "deeply and profoundly offended" by it.
Sen. Page Walley of Bolivar was the lone Republican to vote against the measure. From the floor, he acknowledged that everyone’s stories need to be told.