As a resident of Georgia, I’ll take any reminder I can get that there are still governors in the South who actually aim to serve the people. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper served just the jolt of optimism I needed in vetoing two pieces of legislation that unfortunately made it to his desk, but fortunately not passed it. With HB 805, North Carolina Republicans attempted to make the state the 37th in a list of 36 states that have passed anti-protest legislation, according to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, which tracks such legislation. The state bill left the door open for police to further criminalize protest and attach felony charges to protesters who “engage” in a riot that leads to death, serious bodily injury, or property damage, according to a summary of the bill.
“People who commit crimes during riots and at other times should be prosecuted and our laws provide for that, but this legislation is unnecessary and is intended to intimidate and deter people from exercising their constitutional rights to peacefully protest,” Cooper said in a statement released on Friday. Another North Carolina bill, HB 324, was aimed at restricting public school teachers from teaching the truth: that race and sex historically and currently impact a person’s experience in this country.
“The legislature should be focused on supporting teachers, helping students recover lost learning, and investing in our public schools,” Cooper said in a news release. “Instead, this bill pushes calculated, conspiracy-laden politics into public education.”
The bill is yet another attempt by Republican legislators to further whitewash history instruction in schools. Acting under the guise of protesting critical race theory, the crafters of thoughtless legislation making its way through the country seldom actually even mention critical race theory by name. They opt for broader language banning, for example, “the concept that a meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist” or “that all Americans are not created equal.” I don’t want to say if you’re Black you should be rolling your eyes, but I’m Black, the descendant of those once legally deemed three-fifths of a person. So, yeah, I’m rolling my eyes.
Legislators in Tennessee, Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas have acted to ban generalizations of critical race theory. In actuality, the theory is a framework for interpreting law that maintains racism’s reach has had particularly harmful effects on the legal system and laws that govern our society. Republicans have linked the theory to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ “1619 Project,” which correctly asserts that “no aspect of the country” has been “untouched by the years of slavery” that followed the first slave ship’s arrival to the coastal port of the English colony of Virginia in August 1619. And because the sight of thousands of white, Black, and brown people taking to the streets to protest the unjust murder of a Black man at the hands of a white cop apparently didn’t sit well with Republicans, they’ve ironically taken to trying to ban any discussion of what it really means to be Black in America. Ironically, because these white people are stripping the stories and histories of people of color from instruction while simultaneously claiming that exact thing doesn’t happen and we’re all living in perfectly equal harmony.
It would be laughable if it wasn’t so infuriating. But don’t get too angry. These white supremacists are also working to criminalize protest when—let’s just call a horse a horse—Black and brown people demonstrate for change. See treatment of Capitol rioters on Jan. 6 verse treatment of journalists of color covering protests in Minneapolis following George Floyd’s death, and here’s a hint: At least eight people were partially blinded at Floyd protests.
Daniel Bowes, director of policy and advocacy for the ACLU of North Carolina, wrote in a statement: “A better way to address the waves of protests we’ve seen in recent months would be for lawmakers to listen to calls of North Carolinians calling for reforms to address the harm of systemic racism.
“Creating harsher penalties for our state’s already vague and problematic riot laws does nothing to address the underlying issues that motivate people to protest or engage in civil disobedience,” Bowes said. “We should listen to the anguish behind the calls of protestors seeking to end systemic racism, not risk representing all constitutionally protected speech and protests as dangerous and criminal.”
Listening—what a novel concept.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.