State News

Southfield rep gives Lansing colleagues a history lesson: 'It happened in my family'

November 04, 2021, 6:53 AM

After Michigan Republicans jumped on their latest hobbyhorse -- banning a curriculum that doesn't exist at the K-12 level in the state -- Rep. Kyra Bolden, D-Southfield, gave them a reality check.

Rep. Kyra Bolden, D-Southfield

In the form of reality. 

Michigan Advance reports on Bolden's floor speech in the House in Lansing:

“It happened to my family. Slavery happened; lynching happened; red-lining happened; government-sanctioned violence based on race happened,” Bolden said. “I, too, would like to stick my head in the sand and pretend it didn’t, but I can’t because it happened to my family and many other families in this nation.”

Bolden's speech was in reaction to this:

Republicans in the state House passed a bill Tuesday that would prohibit schools from teaching any curriculum that includes the “promotion of any form of race or gender stereotyping or anything that could be understood as implicit race or gender stereotyping.”

Democrats oppose the bill, saying that it “whitewashes” American history. But Democrats refused to vote on the bill, which passed with a 55-0 vote, because Republican leadership cut off floor speeches before Rep. Cynthia Johnson (D-Detroit), a Black woman, was able to speak about the bill.

Presumably Republicans think they're prohibiting so-called "critical race theory," which educators have said over and over is not being taught in Michigan. A Senate version of the House bill explicitly names it as such.

Bolden said her great-grandfather's lynching in the 1930s was covered up as a drowning. 

The bill now heads to the state Senate. If passed, a veto from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected.

Read more:  Michigan Advance

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