In a vote on March 16, Republican members of the Iowa House of Representatives passed House File 802, banning government agencies and public universities from teaching “race or sex stereotyping” and “racial scapegoating” in diversity and inclusion training courses.
“I reject absolutely and with great enthusiasm the idea that we must adopt racist ideology –and scapegoat races of people, marking each individual as either ‘oppressor’ or ‘oppressed’ –in order to stop racism and foster inclusiveness,” said Representative Steven Holt, R-Denison, the bill’s sponsor, according to KCCI-TV.
House Democrats accused Republicans who supported the bill of attacking free speech.
“We can’t say on one hand we want freedom of speech-then stifle those sides,” said Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, a Democrat of Des Moines.
Representative Phyllis Thede, also a Democrat, called for an open discussion about race based on what critical race theorists call diversity and inclusion.
“We must talk about these terms in order for us to learn and grow,” she said, “I understand all of these terms because I have experienced them.”
But Holts says that critical-race theory-based diversity training courses have gone too far, promoting racist ideas that cause neo-segregation and national disunity.
“You can’t teach that everybody is X, Y, Z automatically –that the entire White race is this or that,” he said, “but you can certainly have discussions about all, I believe, of these issues.”
Representative Henry Stone, R-Forest City, Iowa’s first Asian American lawmaker supports banning critical race theory because he refuses to believe Iowans are inherently racist.
“To say that we teach diversity by talking about that the United States and Iowa are fundamentally –which means at its root –and systemically racist or sexist, I don’t believe that” he said, according to the Des Moines Register. “I do not believe that fundamentally, that everyone in here that’s sitting here is a racist. I can’t believe that.”
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