South Carolina, despite their claims to contrary, has never been a state eager to embrace racial justice. The latest example of the state’s regressive racial thinking is Proposed Bill SC S0424. Like many states ruled by conservatives, the Palmetto State’s legislature is in a tizzy about what they think Critical Race Theory (CRT) is. Because those spreading the moral panic about CRT lie about it and the white legislators who listen to them don’t really care about what CRT actually, many legislatures are proposing the “banning” the teaching of CRT. South Carolina has proposed legislation that is the perfect exemplar of the deep and eagerly embraced ignorance of the anti-CRT crowd. Proposed Bill SC S0424 reads, in part:
(9) an individual must be compelled to affirm, accept, adopt, profess, or adhere to concepts, forms of language, or definitions not firmly and widely established, empirically or scientifically accurate, or that are controversial or theoretical, such as:
(a) gender theory, including nonbinary pronouns or honorifics;
(b) unconscious or implicit bias; or
(c) that race or biological sex are social constructs;
I’m going to leave aside the gender issues in the post and focus on the idea that race is a social construct. It would seem that South Carolina wants to ban ideas like this one:
In one word, the term race is only a product of our mental activities, the work of our intellect, and outside all reality. Science had need of races as hypothetical limits, and these “products of art,” to use Lamarck’s expression, have become concrete realities for the vulgar. Races as irreducible categories only exist as fictions in our brains. They exist in us but not outside us. We can never sufficiently insist on this fact, which is elementary and undeniable to all truly scientific minds and to those desirous above all of ascertaining the truth.
That quotation is not from some wild-eyed “Cultural Marxist” but from French writer, Jean Finot’s book Race Prejudice published in English in 1907. In the subsequent century, Finot has been proven correct, “truly scientific minds” know that “races as irreducible categories only exist as fictions in our brains.” If South Carolina had its way, its schoolchildren would not be taught the best genetic science of the 21st century.
On the next page, I’ll explain why.