Black lawmakers walk out of Mississippi Senate before vote on 'anti-Critical ...

Black lawmakers walk out of Mississippi Senate before vote on 'anti-Critical ...
Black lawmakers walk out of Mississippi Senate before vote on 'anti-Critical ...

All 14 black Mississippi state senators walked out before a vote on a bill that forbids teaching students at public schools and colleges that 'that any sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior or inferior.'

The bill later passed passed 32-2, with only two Democratic legislators - David Blount and Hob Bryan, both white - voting against it. It now heads to the Mississippi state House for approval.

The unprecedented walkout on Friday followed a two-hour debate when Democratic lawmakers asked whether or not Critical Race Theory (CRT), which centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people in society, is actually taught in Mississippi schools. 

'Have you identified one teacher, one school district where this is happening?' asked Senate Minority Leader Derrick Simmons. 

Senator Michael McLendon conceded on the Senate floor that he had not heard of any schools teaching students that they were inferior or superior based on their race, but said an overwhelming number of his constituents had raised concerns about the curricula being taught across the country based on what they heard 'on the national news.' 

The bill's passage makes Mississippi the latest state to take a legislative stance on Critical Race Theory - although the controversial teaching is never mentioned by name or defined within the document. Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Tennessee have already banned the academic theory, according to Newsweek.  

All 14 black lawmakers on the Mississippi state Senate walked out on Friday before a vote on Senate Bill 2113, which would outlaw teaching public school children and college students that any sex, race or national origin is 'superior or inferior'

All 14 black lawmakers on the Mississippi state Senate walked out on Friday before a vote on Senate Bill 2113, which would outlaw teaching public school children and college students that any sex, race or national origin is 'superior or inferior'

While the bill's author Senator Michael McLendon (pictured) conceded on the senate floor that he had not heard of any schools teaching Critical Race Theory, a number of his constituents had raised concerns about the curricula being taught across the country based on what they heard 'on the national news'

While the bill's author Senator Michael McLendon (pictured) conceded on the senate floor that he had not heard of any schools teaching Critical Race Theory, a number of his constituents had raised concerns about the curricula being taught across the country based on what they heard 'on the national news'

Senate Minority Leader Derrick Simmons (pictured) requested a roll call, and led all 14 black lawmakers out of the chamber before a vote was held

Senate Minority Leader Derrick Simmons (pictured) requested a roll call, and led all 14 black lawmakers out of the chamber before a vote was held 

'I had so many constituents in my district that were concerned over the teachings that they have heard from around the country, they want to make sure that this was not a problem with Mississippi, so that's why this bill was brought forward,' McLendon said when asked why he introduced the bill. 

'So it's a problem across the country; is it a problem in Mississippi?' Simmons asked. 

'Well, we try to make laws for the future as well as today,' McLendon replied.

Simmons requested a roll call, which led all 14 black lawmakers to walk out of the chamber before a vote was held. 

Republicans have a supermajority on the legislative body, and do not need a single Democratic vote to pass legislation. Senators David Blount and Hob Bryan, who are both White, were the only two legislators to vote against the bill.

Simmons called the bill 'vague' in a statement issued after the walkout, and bemoaned that its wording didn't 'create boundaries.'  

'We felt it was unfair to have such a bill introduced or passed as it really demeans a large segment of our population,' he wrote. 

'We felt like it was a bill that was not deserving of our vote,' he told reporters. 'We have so many issues in the state that need to be addressed. We did not need to spend time on this.'

Senator John Horhn argued that portions of Mississippi’s history that would no longer be able to be taught should the bill become law.

'I think this bill is going to put a chilling effect on that journey. I think it’s going to slow us down on coming together, and I think it’s going to drive a wedge between us that doesn’t need to be driven,' he said.

Simmons is pictured as he called on black senators to walk out in protest

Simmons is pictured as he called on black senators to walk out in protest

Senator John Horhn (pictured) argued that portions of Mississippi’s history that would no longer be able to be taught should the bill become law

Senator John Horhn (pictured) argued that portions of Mississippi’s history that would no longer be able to be taught should the bill become law

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