DES MOINES, Iowa — Members of the Iowa House signed a piece of legislation Tuesday for public schools, colleges, and other state entities prohibiting them from requiring diversity and inclusion training.
“The concept is you cannot teach that the entire nation is systemically racist, but areas of our society that are. I don’t think this bill forbids those things at all.” Republican Representative Steven Holt said.
Any “divisive topics” would be prohibited, in particular, from diversity training. According to the language in the bill, that also includes divisive lessons, like “one race or sex is inherently superior to another,” or the state of Iowa is “fundamentally racist or sexist.”
Democrats argue this will discourage schools and colleges, preventing those important conversations about biases.
“That is canceling reality. That is closing our eyes and trying to pretend if we don’t say implicit bias then it doesn’t exist. We can pretend we don’t have it,” Democratic Representative Mary Wolfe said.
The bill would not ban diversity training altogether.
This session, Republicans have brought a slew of criticisms, alleging political biases on behalf of university staffs. They say this legislation protects conservative speech by preventing it from being stifled on campus.