A state attorney general has issued a warning that critical race theory – that ideology that essentially concludes whites are oppressors and blacks are victims – violates federal law and his own state constitution when used to impose different results or requirements on individuals.
“Any effort to take account of race in a way that differently accords benefits or opportunities or creates a hostile environment in an educational institution is almost certainly unlawful under the Equal Protection Clause and Title VI,” wrote Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in a letter to a state lawmaker.
“This includes overt racial segregation or other discrimination, however well intended, as well as any form of racial stereotyping or scapegoating. A racially hostile environment could also be created through curricula, instruction, or other programs or activities that communicate the following ideas:”
Rutledge then listed:
- that an individual, by virtue of race, deserves praise or criticism for taking or failing to take some action or stand, or for supporting, opposing, or failing to support or oppose some cause;
- that certain character traits or beliefs are proper to individuals of some races but not others;
- that an individual, simply by virtue of race, is oppressive or oppressed, privileged or victimized, whether consciously or unconsciously;
- that an individual, simply by virtue of race, should feel discomfort, resentment, guilt, or distress;
- that an individual’s moral character, standing, status, or worth depends on one’s race;
- that an individual is personally accountable for actions committed in the past by other individuals of the same race, or
- that an individual, simply by virtue of race, should be discriminated against or adversely treated.
The letter came in response to a question from State Rep. Mark Lowery, a Republican, who asked, “Does the introduction of practices based on ‘antiracism’ and critical race theory in Arkansas public schools and universities violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Article II of the Arkansas Constitution, or other applicable nondiscrimination laws?”
The National File reported Rutledge wrote, “The answer to your question is yes. With certain qualifications set forth below, instituting practices based on critical race theory, professed ‘antiracism,’ or associated ideas can violate Title VI , the Equal Protection Clause, and Article II of the Arkansas Constitution.”
The Biden administration has actively pursued CRT actions, and repeatedly has been struck down by courts. For example, the administration created a program to provide special loan benefits to all borrowers – except whites, a decision that a judge rejected.
The letter said, “Although the First Amendment protects individual expression, it does not immunize a person or educational institution from violating others’ rights under Title VI, the Equal Protection Clause, or the Arkansas Constitution by engaging in prohibited race-based practices.”
The New York Times also launched its “1619 Project” to endorse a race-based view of America, and while many schools have adopted that agenda, others have banned it.
The letter said, “The existence of a racially hostile environment ‘must be determined from the totality of the circumstances.’ In many instances, instituting pedagogical practices based on critical race theory, ‘antiracism,’ or associated ideas will violate the law.”
The letter continued, “But it is important to note that the unlawfulness of such practices does not preclude teaching the history of racial injustice or our Nation’s longstanding and continuing efforts to realize what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized as the dream expressed in our founding creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. Thus, the law does not prohibit teaching about the history of slavery, Jim Crow laws, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan. Nor does it prohibit teaching about the Constitution and the abolition of the slave trade, the abolitionist movement, the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War Amendments, and the civil-rights movement. These are indispensable topics for history and civics education.”
Rutledge pointed out that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 alone forbids actions based on race that deny or provide a benefit, subject one to segregation, restrict a benefit, treat people differently or deny any opportunity.
And the U.S. Constitution requires that “no state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'”
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