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Opinion | We finally agree on something

This legislation is long overdue. Too many divisive concepts have been allowed to float through the classrooms and state-run workspaces of our state – especially when it comes to race, sex and religion.

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Alabama’s Republican legislators and I finally agree on something. We need to stop promoting “divisive concepts” in our state.

Earlier this week, the Senate Government Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to SB292, which will ban the teaching “divisive concepts.” It would “prohibit this state and any of its political subdivisions or agencies from promoting or advancing certain concepts regarding race, sex, or religion in certain teaching or training,” according to its opening lines.

It also disallows “teaching or training employees, contractors, teachers, or students to adopt or believe certain concepts regarding race, sex, or religion.” Any employee who violates the bill, if it becomes law, could be disciplined or even fired.

This legislation is long overdue. Too many divisive concepts have been allowed to float through the classrooms and state-run workspaces of our state – especially when it comes to race, sex and religion.

Of course, my list differs a bit from the one in SB292. But don’t let that bother you. The point here is indoctrination and the dissemination of propaganda. It’s about being sensitive to the sensitivities of those who may not like the truths that history or current events tell.

Here are a few from my list:

Columbus discovered America. What?? How is a place “discovered” that had its own fully functioning existence? Sure, it may have been news to Columbus or other European explorers, but this continent’s existence was well known to the many indigenous people who were already here.

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And – here’s a surprise for some of you – archeologists believe it was also known to African mariners and explorers who had already made the trip across the Atlantic. They point to the pyramids in Mexico and other archeological evidence that have a direct connection to African culture and history.

Columbus? Give me a break. That joker was lost. Totally unhistorical. And definitely divisive.

Black children should be thankful for slavery because it rescued them from having to live in an African nation and allowed them to become Christians. Yep, that’s what some white heritage groups have taught in some Alabama schools at the invitation of principals.

So black students should be thankful for the evil institution that dehumanized their ancestors? The institution that made them property for 246 years, and laid the foundation for at least another 100 years of legalized segregation and brutalization?

Please. That’s ridiculous. As is the “saved you from living in Africa” and “taught you Christianity” arguments. Africa’s development as a continent of nations was disrupted and damn near destroyed by colonial imperialist powers from Europe. No honest evaluation of African history can be done without considering that.

As for Christianity, read your Bibles. Start in Genesis 2, where the rivers of the Garden of Eden are described. Note their location. It’s Africa.

Skim the Old Testament. Skip to the New Testament. Africa and its people are highlighted all through both. Judaism and Christianity were on the African continent long before they reached Europe or America.

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But even if you refuse to accept the truth about Africa’s geo-political history or Christianity’s ancient African roots, how could anyone in good conscience try to sanctify and sanitize slavery? Totally, indisputably divisive.

Only males and females can fall in love or marry, not two people of the same sex. The divisiveness here is so obvious. More than 3,000 same-sex couples got married from 2015, the year it was legalized in Alabama, through 2017. That’s at least 6,000 people for whom the concept of love and marriage only being eligible to heterosexuals was a divisive concept. Not to mention members of their families, friends and other supporters.  

By 2019, because some probate judges wanted to continue to uphold this divisive idea, a law was passed that no longer requires a couple to get a signed marriage license from the probate office. State Rep. Wes Allen, the Pike CountyRepublican who now is a candidate for Secretary of State, was a probate judge at the time. “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, as do a lot of Alabamians,” Allen said to an AL.com reporter.

Great. Then don’t marry a man. And stop being so divisive.

I could go on, but there are so many divisive concepts and so little time. Republicans are right that this needs to stop.  

But they need to scrap their list and look at mine. And maybe they need to look at yours, too. After all, why should only one group be allowed to define our state’s propaganda?

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Written By

David Person is a media personality and consultant who has been working in the Huntsville market since 1986 as a talk show host, columnist, and director/producer. David co-hosts the podcast Alabama Politics This Week.

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