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Abbott and Patrick Embraces Tepper’s Racist DEI Bill

From Voting Rights to DEI Programs: Texas Republicans’ Continued Attack on Equality

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick are embracing a controversial bill that aims to ban diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in higher education. The bill, introduced by Carl Tepper in the Texas House, would prohibit the funding, promotion, sponsorship, or support of DEI programs and offices.

Last week, Abbott’s office put out a memo warning universities against using DEI initiatives. Only days later, Patrick vowed to wipe out diversity hiring programs in Texas.

This bill is a massive piece of Texas Republicans’ white supremacist agenda and only their latest attack on freedom of expression. If passed, this bill’s impact would be significant and far-reaching. It would hurt marginalized communities in Texas, who would be denied access to essential resources and support systems that help mitigate systemic discrimination’s effects.

Texas has a long and troubled history with race relations, from the lynchings of Black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the ongoing struggle for voting rights and fair representation.

Despite efforts by civil rights activists, this legacy of racial violence continues to shape the state’s present-day racial landscape.

In addition to its history of lynchings, Texas has also struggled with issues of fair representation and voting rights. The state has a history of racially gerrymandered districts and voter suppression tactics aimed at minority communities. This has led to a lack of political representation for marginalized communities, who are often left out of the decision-making process and unable to have their voices heard in the political sphere. This ongoing struggle for voting rights and fair representation has resulted in a lack of progress in addressing systemic inequalities and has contributed to racial tensions in Texas.

Lunch-counter protest in Dallas, 1964

DEI programs address these historical injustices and promote a more equitable future for all Texans.

They provide students, faculty, and staff with the resources and support they need to address and combat discrimination in and out of the classroom. Without these programs, the cycle of systemic oppression is likely to continue.

Students from marginalized communities would feel the loss of DEI programs particularly acutely. These students face unique challenges in higher education, including higher poverty rates, discrimination, and limited access to educational resources. DEI programs provide critical support to help these students overcome these obstacles and succeed academically.

It is important to note that DEI programs benefit more than just marginalized communities. They help everyone, regardless of race, gender, or other identity factors. DEI programs create a more inclusive, welcoming, and respectful campus environment for all students, staff, and faculty. This benefits everyone by fostering community and creating a more productive learning environment.

The opposition to DEI programs is part of a more significant, troubling trend in the conservative movement, which seeks to roll back social justice and equality progress.

This trend is fueled by a toxic mixture of fear, hate, and misinformation, and it is up to all of us to stand against it. We must push back against the forces that seek to divide us, promote fear and hate, and instead work together to build a more equitable and inclusive future for all Texans.

The proposal to ban DEI programs in Texas higher education is a dangerous and harmful step in the wrong direction. It would hurt marginalized communities, undermine progress on social justice, and create a more hostile and unwelcoming campus environment. Instead, we must resist this bill and work to promote DEI programs so that all Texans can succeed and thrive. This will benefit not only marginalized communities but everyone and help create a more inclusive, respectful, and equitable society.

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