Gov. Chris Sununu says he “doesn’t like Critical Race Theory as much as anyone,” but he still intends to veto GOP-backed legislation banning government employees and contractors from advancing its ideas.
Critical Race Theory (CRT), which teaches that all White people are racist and American society is infused with “systemic racism,” is popular among New Hampshire progressives. One of its best-known national advocates, Ibram X. Kendi, describes “whiteness” as inherently problematic to society and advocates discrimination as part of an “anti-racism” solution.
“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination,” Kendi said.
New Hamshire Democrats have attacked GOP efforts to keep the controversial ideology out of publicly-funded spaces, calling Republican rejection of the race-based ideology “racist.”
The issue has moved beyond theory in the Granite State, where school districts like Manchester and Hanover have embraced it.
On Wednesday, NHGOP House members put language banning “divisive concepts” like CRT in the state budget, bringing a rebuke from Sununu for adding non-germane issues in a budget he says he would never sign.
At Thursday’s weekly press conference, Sununu was asked if he believed there was a middle ground on the issue.
“The ideas of Critical Race Theory and all of this stuff, I personally don’t think there’s any place for that in schools,” Sununu said. He then repeated his concerns that banning this speech by government employees and contractors could lead to more speech restrictions in the future.
“When you start turning down the path of government banning things, I think that’s a very slippery slope,” Sununu said. “What we consider a divisive comment on one side of the aisle today is going to open up the door to another divisive comment on the other side of the aisle tomorrow. And next thing you know, over the next few years, all we’re doing is banning what we can and cannot be talking about.”
New Hampshire Democrats and progressives continue to insist that, not only is it wrong to ban CRT from government-funded programming, it would be racist not to implement it. Earlier this week, several Granite State Democrats participated in a webinar arguing that “critical race theory is essential.” The NH ACLU tweeted rejecting CRT “sends the message that NH is not committed to combatting racial discrimination & injustice.”
Opponents say it’s wrong to force employees to sit through training that accuses them of racism simply for being White in order to keep their jobs. Parents of multi-racial children are particularly upset over classroom instruction that — as state Rep. Daryl Abbas, who is of Arab descent and married to an Irish Catholic woman said — “would teach my son that his mother is racist because she’s white but his father isn’t because he’s not.”
Sununu was asked about Abbas’ statement and said he didn’t know enough about the representative’s story to comment. However, he claimed such instruction is already banned in New Hampshire classrooms.
“We already have protections in place for discrimination in classrooms. You cannot discriminate against a student regardless of their race, whether it’s a person of color, whether it’s a White or Caucasian student, teachers cannot be up there dictating who is better than another, and who did wrong simply because of the color of their skin,” Sununu said.
Supporters of HB 544 say that’s clearly not true as it’s being used in state classrooms right now.