Arizona Lawmaker Proposes New Bill Banning Classes or Events Discussing Social Justice on College Campuses

Published on
by
New York Daily News

Arizona Lawmaker Proposes New Bill Banning Classes or Events Discussing Social Justice on College Campuses

 Arizona Rep. Bob Thorpe wants to ban all activities from college campuses in the state which "are designed primarily for a particular ethnic group" and "promote social justice toward a race." (Photo: Ryan VanVelzer/AP)

Is this where our country is going?

A conservative Arizona lawmaker, Rep. Bob Thorpe, is proposing a far-reaching law in Arizona, House Bill 2120, banning virtually every college event, activity or course which discusses social justice, skin privilege, or racial equality. Violating the law would allow the state of Arizona to levy multimillion-dollar fines and penalties against universities — removing at least 10% of their state aid.

This is no joke. Arizona already passed a law targeting ethnic studies in the state. They are fulling willing and able to pass this bill as well.

Please allow me to highlight some of the most disturbing sections of the bill.

It would ban any courses, activities, or events that:

“Are designed primarily for a particular ethnic group.”

“Promote social justice toward a race.”

“Advocate solidarity based on ethnicity.”

Strangely, so as to not appear anti-Semitic, the bill then makes a very particular allowance for any and all discussions of the Holocaust.

According to Tucson.com:

Thorpe said Thursday his bill is aimed specifically at things like a “privilege walk” exercise sponsored by the University of Arizona and a course entitled “Whiteness and Race Theory” at Arizona State University.

The former is described in UA literature as helping participants “recognize the privileges that they have been granted and to learn about the backgrounds of their peers.”

Among the exercises is telling students to step forward if they meet certain criteria, like having more than 50 books in a home, going to a private school or having inherited money. Conversely, those who were raised in a single-parent household, had to rely on public transportation or were ashamed of their clothes while growing up take a step back for each.

Participants are supposed to notice where they are in relation to others.

All of this is completely and utterly disgusting. That an aloof lawmaker wants to actually oversee and monitor individual activities and events to prohibit students and staff from discussing economic and skin privilege in this country is not just petty, it’s deeply problematic. What is his aim here?

It appears that Bob Thorpe actually has a bigger problem with students and staff discussing white privilege than he does with the unfair privilege itself. That should disturb all of us. For all of their talk about local rights, it’s deeply telling to see conservative lawmakers go so far as to say what individual dormitory directors and instructors can and cannot discuss with their students. Conservatives like Thorpe are fully willing to be control freaks when it protects white supremacy and cultural hegemony — then say they stand on the principles of local control when it benefits them.

I have a hunch this bill is not an anomaly, but a troubling sign of things to come.

Shaun King

Shaun King is a columnist for the New York Daily News. Follow on Twitter: @ShaunKing

Share This Article