Black Mississippi Senators ‘Protest’ Vote to Ban Critical Race Theory

In Summary

Every Black senator in Mississippi, which is the Blackest state in the nation, refused to vote on a bill that would ban teaching critical race theory in schools.

Every Black senator in Mississippi walked out of the chamber Friday “in visible protest” of a bill that prohibits critical race theory from being taught in public schools, colleges and universities, per Mississippi Today

Senator Michael McLendon, a Republican, drafted the bill, despite admitting that critical race theory was not taught in Mississippi. Instead, he based the legislation on feedback received from many of his constituents who had heard about the teachings by way of the national news. 

RELATED: Bernice King: Critical Race Theory Isn’t a Problem, Racism Is 

Critical race theory is a legal theory that claims race is a social construct that is exploited to oppress people of color rather than a natural, biological trait, BNC previously reported

While many Democrats favor the teaching, most conservative media and Republicans, including Mississippi Senator Chris McDaniel, consider it an attempt to teach white students they are inferior to minority students and want it out of schools. 

“I’m trying to find the mischief in this bill and I don’t see it,” McDaniel said, per WLBT News, adding McLendon’s measure would have been the “most dynamic piece of civil rights legislation in this state’s history” if it had been proposed in the 1950s. 

RELATED: Oklahoma Faces Lawsuit for ‘Unconstitutional’ Critical Race Theory Ban

The measure, according to McLendon, will not eliminate the teaching of history and countless examples of racism and brutality against African Americans, but it will prevent “a child or a student from being told they are inferior or superior to another.” 

“We felt like it was a bill that was not deserving of our vote,” said Sen. Derrick Simmons of Greenville, per Mississippi Today. “We have so many issues in the state that need to be addressed. We did not need to spend time on this.” 

RELATED: Mississippi Museums Display Exhibits on Civil Rights-Era Killings 

Mississippi’s Senate is controlled by a Republican supermajority, allowing the bill to pass by a vote of 32-2.

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