A Republican state representative in Louisiana has gone viral for all the wrong reasons after he did some grandstanding during a House session addressing the topic of schools and colleges teaching critical race theory.
While discussing his bill that addresses “certain concepts related to race and sex in elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary education institutions,” Rep. Ray Garofalo Jr. went so far as to include slavery in his educational equation during his speech on the House floor on Tuesday.
“If you are having a discussion on whatever the case may be, on slavery, then you can talk about everything dealing with slavery: the good, the bad, the ugly,” Garofalo Jr. said.
He was quickly interrupted by his Republican colleague, Rep. Stephanie Hilferty: “There is no good to slavery, though.”
That prompted an outpouring of laughter before Garofalo Jr. tried to clarify his ignorant words.
“I didn’t mean to imply that,” he said of his apparent Freudian slip. “I don’t believe that and I know that’s not the case.”
The unfortunate moment has been immortalized on social media after a video of Garofalo Jr.’s words went viral, thanks in no small part to a tweet from Louisiana Democrats. Watch below.
Garofalo Jr.’s Louisiana House Bill 564 has been greeted with mounting opposition.
The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) issued a statement Tuesday claiming the bill does more harm than good.
“The truth is that systemic and institutionalized racism and sexism do exist. Denial of such truth telling – not indoctrination or blaming – prevents our state and country from an important acknowledgement that is required to move into a new day united,” BESE said. “We believe this bill would prevent the truth telling and honesty about our past required for writing a brighter future and history for all families here.”
The controversial topic of teaching critical race theory has been popping up across the country recently. In Idaho, the Senate on Monday passed a bill preventing public and charter schools and universities from examining the ways in which race and racism influence American politics, culture and the law.
One parents’ group in Virginia is fighting to keep critical race theory out of classrooms there because it is “based in racism against White people,” according to Fox News.
And in New York City, a parent at an elite private school that banned one teacher from discussing critical race theory is making a fuss because he said students are still being taught about it, the Daily Mail reported.
On the flip side, a school in Wisconsin on Monday reversed its ban on teaching critical race theory.
To be sure, the topic of critical race theory got an outsized amount of attention after then-President Donald Trump in September directed federal agencies to stop anti-bias training that cites white privilege.
“I ended it because it’s racist,” Trump told Fox News’ Chris Wallace at the time.
Kimberlé Crenshaw, one of the founders of critical race theory, explained the concept to TIME.
It’s “a practice—a way of seeing how the fiction of race has been transformed into concrete racial inequities,” said Crenshaw, who is also a co-founder of the African American Policy Forum. “It’s an approach to grappling with a history of white supremacy that rejects the belief that what’s in the past is in the past, and that the laws and systems that grow from that past are detached from it.”