News & Politics

Newsom Signs 'Ethnic Studies' Bill for High School Graduation Requirement—But Don't You Dare Call It Critical Race Theory

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

There’s a fevered race going on in Sacramento as the 2021 legislative session comes to a close. With over 800 bills sitting on his desk, California Governor Gavin Newsom has until midnight on Sunday to take action by either signing them into law, vetoing them, or allowing them to become law without his signature (also known as a “pocket signature”).

On Friday, Newsom signed into law AB-101, which amends California’s Education Code to include a course in “ethnic studies” as a requirement for all students to graduate from high school. Proponents are thrilled. “The inclusion of ethnic studies in the high school curriculum is long overdue,” the bill’s author, Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside) said in a statement. “Students cannot have a full understanding of the history of our state and nation without the inclusion of the contributions and struggles of Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans.”

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This bill, however, wasn’t always so “understanding.” After much criticism of AB-101’s far-left curriculum “being anti-semitic, too politically correct and filled with jargon” like “‘cisheteropatriarchy’ and ‘hxrstory,’ while describing capitalism as a system that exploits native people and other communities of color” among other complaints, the bill was put on hold. And presto, a new version of the bill was approved by the State Board of Education and supported by some Democratic legislators who initially opposed it. No Republicans supported it in the Assembly or the Senate.

Why not? The left says one thing and does another. While the left vehemently claims the new and improved AB-101 is in no way teaching the racist and bigoted critical race theory (CRT) in our schools—it’s “ethnic studies!”—we’ve seen this football before, Lucy.

And while Newsom claims “the legislation provides a number of guardrails to ensure that
courses will be free from bias or bigotry and appropriate for all students” because it no longer includes “curriculum that had been rejected by the Instructional Quality Commission due to concerns related to bias, bigotry, and discrimination,” Republicans know the left has simply changed tactics by renaming CRT as the innocuous-sounding “ethnic studies.”

While the ethnic studies requirement for graduation won’t be fully implemented for graduation until the 2029-2030 school year, ethnic studies will be taught immediately in our schools. Republicans and independents know the ethnic studies course is simply a sneaky way for the left to rename CRT while slowly introducing its hateful teaching in our schools. We know the complete inclusion of the CRT curriculum is their ultimate goal. The left does this rebranding regularly when they over-step on unpopular issues.

Don’t believe it? Ask yourself the following questions:  Why did the original bill include biased, bigoted, and discriminatory “curriculum that had been rejected by the Instructional Quality Commission” in the first place? Could it be because Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other radical leftist activists were involved in the writing of AB-101?  Why did the original bill exclude the Jewish community? Could it be because the left is known to be comfortable with anti-semitism and pro-Palestine rhetoric? Why did the bill use leftist PC jargon to refer to “capitalism as a form of power and oppression alongside white supremacy and racism”? Could it be because leftists hate capitalism and desire to teach it as racist?

So what exactly will be taught under AB-101?

Thirty-three sample lessons are organized into broader subsections of “General Ethnic Studies,” “African American Studies,” “Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x Studies,” “Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies” and “Native American Studies.” Lessons on antisemitism, Jewish American identity, Arab American Studies and Armenian migration are included in a separate section titled “Seeking Models of Interethnic Bridge-Building.”

Specific lessons include “Migration Stories and Oral History,” “#BlackLivesMatter and Social Change,” “Afrofuturism: Reimagining Black Futures and Science Fiction,” “US Undocumented Immigrants from Mexico and Beyond,” “The Immigration Experience of Lao Americans” and “This is Indian Land: The Purpose, Politics, and Practice of Land Acknowledgment.”

How could the curriculum of ethnic studies possibly be so “erroneously conflated with” the curriculum of the mostly peaceful CRT? Why, all those concerns are simply racist “misunderstandings of critical race theory” and are in no way what ethnic studies is. Ethnic studies just happens to include lessons on BLM as if it’s a legitimate “social justice movement” and not an arsonist-filled thug Marxist front group fueled by CRT that’s determined to “burn it all down.” And Afrofuturism, heck that’s just some harmless black literature that just happens to reimagine “a CRT future” where whites no longer wield any power and are deservedly low on the racial privilege totem pole. Pffft, and don’t even worry about having to teach that illegal immigrants and American Indians are the only true and deserving people of America’s land and opportunities because ethnic studies have that CRT trope covered as well.

What’s a parent to do now that this bill has passed into law? Assuming parents don’t join the mass exodus for home-schooling, California parents should get well-acquainted with Section 220 of California’s Education Code, which states:

No person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code, including immigration status, in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance, or enrolls pupils who receive state student financial aid.

In other words, the California Education Code protects every race—even whites—from discrimination and “hate crimes.” That protection includes protection against white-hate theology and revisionist leftist “painful” history “etched with woeful injustice” as its focus instead of all that is good and right about our nation.

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It’s time for all Californian parents and all parents, regardless of race, to stand up and hold our school boards to account for letting the CRT curriculum creep into our schools under the guise of ethnic studies. Even Newsom himself says that “what we’re doing here in California is unprecedented in both nature and scale.” He’s right. America’s parents must recognize ethnic studies for what it really is and not allow the left to complete their slide toward CRT no matter how much the left denies that’s what they’re doing.