Louisiana GOP lawmaker wants schools to teach the 'good' of slavery

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GOP state Rep. Ray Garofalo Jr. introduced a bill to ban teaching 'divisive concepts' in schools.

A Louisiana Republican state representative said Tuesday that he wants to ban schools from teaching "divisive concepts" such as systemic racism and sexism, and instead wants to teach students about the "good" of slavery.

State Rep. Ray Garofalo Jr. made the comments during a debate over his bill, H.B. 564, which bans schools from teaching students, "That either the United States of America or the state of Louisiana is fundamentally, institutionally, or systemically racist or sexist."

"If you are having a discussion on whatever the case may be, on slavery, then you can talk about everything dealing with slavery: the good, the bad, the ugly," Garofalo Jr. said, according to video posted by the Louisiana Democratic Party.

The comment led to laughter within the committee hearing on Garofalo's bill and was immediately condemned by a member of his own party.

"There is no good to slavery though," state Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, a Republican, replied.

Garofalo's bill is modeled off legislation from Republican state lawmakers in Idaho and Florida, who are looking to ban schools in their states from teaching critical race theory, the theory that race is a social construct "that is used to oppress and exploit people of color."

Republicans in the Idaho state House passed a bill on April 22 that bans the teaching of critical race theory. And back in March, Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wanted to ban schools in his state from teaching "unsanctioned narratives like critical race theory," according to the Associated Press.

"There is no room in classrooms for things like critical race theory," DeSantis said at the time, according to AP's report.

The movement to limit what schools can teach started in the waning days of Donald Trump's tenure, when he signed an executive order in September 2020 to promote "patriotic education."

His executive order sought to ban the teaching of the New York Times' "1619 Project," which looks at American history beginning in 1619, when slaves were first brought to the country.

Trump said in remarks ahead of signing the order: "Critical race theory, the "1619 Project," and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that bind us together. It will destroy our country."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.