Never let Republican officials, especially in the state of Texas, tell you they’re anti-censorship or anti-indoctrination. The clear-as-day truth is that GOPropagandists across America are only against censorship when they feel conservatism is being silenced and they’re only against the kind of indoctrination that doesn’t involve pledges of allegiance, aggressive patriotism and adherence to education that presents the nation as a “shining city on a hill” and one that is socially and morally blemishless—which is a tall order for a country that has facilitated slavery and/or legally-sanctioned racism for the vast majority of its existence.
Texas is quickly becoming the mecca of race-based censorship.
It’s already a state where legislators are on a mission to ban any and all books from school libraries that even remotely seek to examine racial or gender-based disparities and cultural differences. It’s a state that passed a law that ditches requirements for K-12 educators to teach, among other things, the works of Martin Luther King Jr., the women’s suffrage movement and that the Ku Klux Klan was “morally wrong.”
But for Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, even all of that just isn’t enough.
On Wednesday, we reported that the Faculty Council at the University of Texas approved a nonbinding resolution defending the academic freedom of faculty members to teach about race, gender issues, and critical race theory—a thing Republican legislators can’t accurately identify but want banned into oblivion all the same.
Patrick is such a passionate white nationalist that even a resolution that isn’t even legally binding is worth going to war against so long as it includes a mere mention of CRT.
Now, according to the Austin American-Statesmen, Patrick is pledging to end tenure for new professors who teach CRT in public colleges.
“Tenure, it’s time that that comes to an end in Texas,” Patrick said at a Friday news conference. “Right now, tenure is reviewed about every six years, and pretty much anything you do in those six years, there’s nothing the university could do about it. They can’t fire you.”
“We are not going to allow a handful of professors who do not do not represent the entire group to teach, and indoctrinate students with critical race theory that we are inherently racist as a nation,” he continued.
Patrick, of course, is doing a lot of pretending in that last sentence alone. He’s pretending that only “a handful of professors” advocate teaching CRT knowing the Faculty Council passed the resolution 41-5. He’s also pretending that it matters to him when some professors “do not represent the entire group,” because he’s demonstrated that he’s fine with a small group overwriting the rest so long as that small group is as anti-CRT as he is.
He’s also pretending to even know what CRT entails.
He sure is mad about it though.
“To these professors who voted 41 to five telling the taxpayers, and the parents and the Legislature and your own Board of Regents to get out of their business (and) that we have no say in what you do in the classroom, you’ve opened the door for this issue because you went too far, and we’re gonna take this on,” Patrick said. “It’ll be a top priority.”
It’s one thing for politicians like Patrick to ban CRT from public K-12 schools, where it was never taught in the first place anyway. But to ban it from the institutions where it is rightfully taught and has been since its conception in the 1980s—schools and classes that students attend voluntarily—well, there’s a word for that: Censorship.
“What the (lieutenant governor’s) actions and words tell me is that not only has he been waiting for an opportunity to ban ideas that are counter to his own, he has been preparing to attack tenure as well,” Andrea Gore, chair of the UT’s Faculty Council’s Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, said of Patrick’s white and fragile tirade.
Jeff Blodgett, president of the Texas Conference of the American Association of University Professors, agrees.
“It is clear that the motivation to eliminate tenure is driven largely by ideology,” Blodgett said in a statement. “Rather than being politicized, the concept of tenure should be embraced by those who truly believe in free speech. While we might not always like someone else’s opinion, we should all stand up for their right to express that opinion.”
Pat Heintzelman, the Texas Faculty Association President, also agrees.
“The lieutenant governor’s job is to give our public institutions of education the support they need for student success, and that means encouraging professors and students to discuss theories and issues that some people may find uncomfortable,” Heintzelman said. “Patrick, instead, seems intent on ignoring the First Amendment rights of faculty members and their students.”
It’s almost as if actual educators know more about academics than racist politicians on a mission to rid the world of what they don’t care to understand. Go figure.