Lonely Rhode Island Republican Tries For 'Don't Say Gay OR Racism' Bill
This week, Republican Rhode Island state Rep. Patricia Morgan introduced what has to be one of the absolute worst bills in the history of the state or anywhere. You may remember Rep. Morgan from the time last December when she announced on Twitter that she blamed "Critical Race Theory" for the the fact that she no longer has anyone she can refer to as her Black friend. Employing a #CRT hashtag, Rep. Morgan wrote, "I had a black friend. I liked her and I think she liked me, too. But now she is hostile and unpleasant. I am sure I didn't do anything to her, except be white. Is that what teachers and our political leaders want for our society? Divide us because of our skin color?"
I had a black friend. I liked her and I think she liked me, too. But now she is hostile and unpleasant. I am sure I didn't do anything to her, except be white. Is that what teachers and our political leaders really want for our society? Divide us because of our skin color? #CRT— Patricia Morgan (@Patricia Morgan) 1640703763
Given that Rep. Morgan is clearly the worst, it seems highly unlikely that the main reason this adult woman became "hostile and unpleasant" to her is because teachers were telling students that racism exists. But apparently she was so very scarred from this experience that, rather than working on becoming a more pleasant person herself, she chose to put forth a completely batshit "Don't Say Gay OR Racism" bill that has absolutely no chance of passing, being that she is only one of nine Republicans in the 75-person General Assembly.
Despite this, it's worth taking a look at some of the more bizarre components of this particular bill:
Racial slurs or terms that describe race, ethnicity, gender or religion in a pejorative context shall not be presented or used in schools. Examples of prohibited terms include "supremacy," "racial guilt," "racial fragility," and other racial slurs or terms used to cast negative opinions on individuals based upon race, ethnicity, gender, or religion.
Imagine thinking that talking about white supremacy and white supremacists is insulting to white people. Where does one even begin with that?
Ideological materials, worksheets, homework, texts or assigned reading, and/or mentored discussions that depict identity groups as oppressors and/or victims shall not be incorporated within the pedagogy or curricula of schools. Provided, historical, factual events shall be taught and presented as historical, factual events, as part of a high quality curricula.
And how exactly does Rep. Morgan imagine one would do that when "historical, factual events" involve certain identity groups acting as oppressors and others being oppressed?
History shall be taught using the standards, customs, and traditions in use at the time of the historical event.
It is hard to imagine that there is any context in which this would not be an entirely absurd idea, not just because it is deeply offensive, but because it would make the progression of history entirely confusing. If Rep. Morgan wants to present horrific things as "acceptable" simply because some people considered them "acceptable" at the time, then how would she explain why people then fought to end them?
"Slavery was totally fine and moral right up until the Civil War ended, at which point it became bad."
"Women were simply not capable of voting until 1919, due to their wandering wombs."
It's worth noting that this would actually make teaching much of the state's history rather awkward. Like most of New England, Rhode Island is not much for going along. It was founded by Roger Williams for the purpose of establishing religious freedom at a time when the "standards, customs and traditions in use at the time" dictated that everyone be a Protestant Christian. There were not witch trials in Rhode Island (though there were many suspected vampires). Hell, the state — frequently called "Rogue Island" — boycotted the Constitutional Convention on the grounds that the Constitution would not have permitted them to print paper money and that it, at the time, did not explicitly protect religious freedom (the good kind where people can be whatever they want, not the bad kind where they get to oppress gay people).
One Twitter user had, I believe, the perfect response to this, writing, "Bold of someone suggesting that we teach that Italians are subhuman when talking about the late 19th century in Rhode Island."
In case you are unaware, while it may be the smallest state, Rhode Island has the highest concentration of Italians (also the highest concentrations of Catholics, Portuguese people, and people who are related to me) in the nation, which is why this might not go over so well. Also why the state has the best food in the nation.
The sexualization of children shall not be permitted in educational or extracurricular activities. Sex education shall not explore sexual preference, gender dysphoria, or sexual lifestyles.
That's not the sexualization of children.
During discussion of the bill, when asked to cite specific things children were being taught that would be considered grooming for pedophilia, Rep. Morgan shared an example of something she thought might hypothetically happen.
When you can see two little girls who are best friends playing, seven years old, eight years old, playing on the playground and you say “You know someday — you like each other so much — someday you might marry one another!”
I mean, that would be okay, but it’s not okay for a teacher to set that expectation in an eight-year-old. They may get there on their own. They may! And that’s fine. But teachers shouldn’t be setting that expectation, and that’s what, I think, people are saying is the grooming part.
The scenario she just made up "is the grooming part." In case you were curious. Now, that would be a weird thing to say. It would be equally weird to say it about a boy and girl who are friends — although that's never stopped some people. This imagined scenario where teachers are explicitly telling children that they are gay or trans or pressuring them to identify as such is not happening outside of anyone's imagination. It's not a thing. Being told that gay and trans people exist, which kids know by these ages, is not the same thing as planning their future weddings in Provincetown or taking them down to the Providence Eagle for a leather show.
Again, it is unlikely that this nonsense is going to pass, but it's worth noting that there are even people in northern states trying to pull this nonsense. Rep. Morgan is not actually originally from Rhode Island, but Ohio. Given her output, it seems entirely likely that she moved to the state after hearing that George Lincoln Rockwell was born in Providence, assuming she'd find more fellow travelers in her worldview. Thankfully, this does not seem to have worked out particularly well for her.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse