New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Rep. Matt Wilhelm (D-Manchester) wants his caucus to overturn the state’s anti-discrimination law that’s keeping race-based curriculum out of the state’s classrooms.

“House Democrats will fight to pass HB 1162 to repeal the GOP’s prohibition on teaching real history known as the ‘divisive concepts ban’… putting a draconian target on important curriculum in our children’s classrooms,” Wilhelm said in a social media video post.

The phrase “divisive concepts” doesn’t appear in the legislation Wilhelm refers to, but instead, the legislation bans classroom content and government training that teaches any group is superior or inferior to others. (The text of the anti-discrimination law is here.)

Under the current law that Democrats want to repeal:

  • I: You can’t “teach, advocate, instruct, or train” people that one group is inherently superior or inferior to another.
  • II: You can’t teach that people are inherently racist, sexist, etc., based on the group they’re in.
  • III: You can’t teach that people should be discriminated against based on their group.
  • IV: You can’t teach people not to even try to treat people in other groups equally (the “race shouldn’t matter/colorblind” approach)

In an interview this week, Gov. Chris Sununu said teaching under the state’s guidelines “should be a no-brainer. You can’t tell a White kid that he should feel guilty about being White, can’t tell a Black kid he has a propensity for crime, can’t tell an Arab kid that he comes from a bunch of terrorists.”

Rep. Peter Petrigno (D-Milford), the sponsor of HB 1162, posted Sununu’s quote on social media with this rejoinder:

“Gov. Sununu weighed in on my bill HB1162, which would repeal the ‘divisive concepts’ law. I object to the implication that such instruction is happening. It’s an insult to our teachers! The law’s real objective is to silence teachers’ voices and give cover to hate groups.”

But examples of race-based instruction before the anti-discrimination law was passed were widespread.

The most significant was the Manchester School District’s mandate for some employees to take “white privilege” training. Part of the training included a webinar entitled “What Is White Privilege, Really?” in which the instructor tells participants the goal of the training is to “expand our definition of white privilege as both personal and systemic and to understand the function of whiteness as a pillar of white supremacy and power.”

After the mandate was made public, the school district reversed course.

And despite denials at the time, the Laconia School District was using the work of Ibram X. Kendi, a leading proponent of race-based educational content.

Kendi is the author of “How to Be an Antiracist” and “Stamped from the Beginning,” both on the Laconia schools’ reading list. Those books tell students that White people are inherently racist, regardless of their behavior — a key tenet of CRT. Kendi told Slate magazine: “I can’t imagine a pathway to being antiracist that does not engage critical race theory. I mean, critical race theorists specifically over the last 40 years have been so foundational to providing a structural analysis of race and racism, which is to be antiracist is to have that structural analysis.”

Laconia also had materials for teaching White children in elementary school about their “privilege.”

Kendi’s race-based content was also found earlier this year on the Litchfield School District’s webpage until NHJournal began asking questions about it. District officials called it a mistake and quickly removed the “anti-racism resources” link from their webpage.

Asked for examples of race-based instruction that is currently banned from classrooms but should be allowed, Petrigno declined to respond. Asked specifically if Kendi’s content should be returned to classrooms, Petrigno also declined to answer.

The House is expected to vote on Petrigno’s bill Thursday morning.