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Oklahoma Bill Would Ban Certain Ways Slavery Is Taught In Schools

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The fight for how slavery is taught in American schools continues in Oklahoma after a Republican legislator introduced a new bill, according to NBC News.

State Rep. Jim Olsen filed House Bill 2988 this month, drawing backlash from politicians, teachers, and other parties over its proposed provisions, reporters learned. The bill would prohibit public school districts and state agencies from teaching students that “one race is the unique oppressor” or “another race is the unique victim in the institution of slavery.”

The proposed law would also ban teaching that the United States “had slavery more extensively and for a later period of time than other nations,” or “has more culpability, in general than other nations for the institute of slavery.”

Public schools could have up to 5 percent of their monthly state funding withheld if they fail to comply with this law. Two to four-year higher education institutions in the state could see the same penalties, except they could see up to 10% of their funding withheld, according to reports.

“It insists upon in teaching [slavery] in balance and in context,” Olsen told KFOR about the bill. “It doesn’t prohibit anybody from teaching that America had slavery, that it was evil. … It doesn’t prohibit teaching that we’re better for not having slavery.”

Critics quickly slammed the bill, from individual lawmakers to whole organizations.

“They are cranking this legislation out faster than the courts can keep up. In the meantime, we have no intention of lying to our students or bowing to this assault on truth and academic freedom,” according to a statement from the University of Oklahoma’s Chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

State Rep. Monroe Nichols (D), who represents Tulsa and other cities, found Olsen’s actings “a little strange but not all that surprising.”

“He’s now added his name to the list of folks … Holocaust deniers, 9/11 deniers, Sandy Hook deniers, and then we have Jim Olsen with his denial of American Slavery,” he added.

If passed, the bill would go into effect on Nov. 1, 2022.

“The fact that Jim Olsen chooses to fight to romanticize the legacy of slave owners in the American south is a little strange, but not all that surprising.”

— Rep. Monroe Nichols (@Monichols) December 15, 2021

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