Texas is bigger than France, but banning critical race theory makes us dumber – .

Texas is bigger than France, but banning critical race theory makes us dumber – .

This bumper sticker seemed to be a standard feature on pickup trucks when I moved to Texas in 1989. As a professor of French history, I was confused by this statement. Yes, Texas was about twenty thousand square miles larger than France – the equivalent of twenty King Ranches. Of course, I understood that it was a declaration of Texan pride.

But why France and not, say, Sweden or Spain. Was it because the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France was taller than the one in Paris, Texas? Or that 1989 marked the 200th anniversary of the fall of the Bastille and not of the Alamo? Who can say?

Still, the bumper sticker came to mind when I first heard of Bill 3979. Right now, most Texans – and many non-Texans – know that this is the bill Gov. Greg Abbott signed last month that dictates how teachers can talk about the history of racism and current affairs. Among the provisions of the law, history teachers must describe slavery and racism as “deviations, betrayals, or breaches of the genuine founding principles of the United States.” In addition, they should “strive to explore the topic from diverse and conflicting perspectives without showing deference to any particular perspective”.

That’s not all. Legislators in our states must also strive to add even more provisions. Declaring the bill was just the start, Abbott asked fellow Republicans that “more needs to be done” during the current special session. I suggest they think about how another Conservative government – a government that didn’t speak Texan – also decided to legislate how history should be written and taught.


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