Republican-controlled legislatures in a half-dozen states across the country have engaged in full-blown warfare against critical race theory. States such as Arizona, Idaho, Missouri, and Tennessee are all actively pursuing new laws that would make it illegal for public school teachers to discuss race in classrooms.

Some states have already adopted new measures, such as Oklahoma and Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning critical race theory. DeSantis said part of the reason behind the law was to prevent students from “being indoctrinated in a certain way.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed what is viewed as an anti-critical race theory bill into law on Tuesday. Although the concept is never explicitly mentioned in the legislation, it bars teachers from teaching concepts about race and racism in class. Educators and civic groups warned the vague nature of the law would make it next to impossible for teachers to properly instruct on current events, and would hinder efforts to address racism and inequity in public schools. Opponents of the law want the Texas State Board of Education to mount a legal challenge against the bill.

Proponents of critical race theory say it’s a method that acknowledges how racial disparities are embedded in U.S history and society, and that conservative opponents are mischaracterizing it for political purposes.

In truth, some Republican lawmakers working overtime to ban the teaching of race in schools don’t seem to actually understand what critical race theory is. Take Alabama Republican Representative Chris Pringle. He wants to ban critical race theory in his state’s K-12 schools and institutions of higher learning. But when he was asked by Alabama columnist Kyle Whitmire to define what it is, he couldn’t.

This except from Whitmire’s column where Pringle struggles to explain CRT is frankly, embarrassing to read when you consider this is an elected official:

“It basically teaches that certain children are inherently bad people because of the color of their skin, period,” Pringle said.

That sounded very serious, indeed. Nazi-like, even. So I asked Pringle if there were any critical race theorists he could point to who have been spreading such toxic garbage?

“Yeah, uh, well — I can assure you — I’ll have to read a lot more,” he said. Ok

I began to get the feeling that Pringle didn’t know as much about critical race theory as I had hoped. Were there other examples he could give me where critical race theory was being put into practice?

“These people, when they were doing the training programs — and the government — if you didn’t buy into what they taught you a hundred percent, they sent you away to a reeducation camp,” Pringle said.”

Here’s another official, this time the Governor of Nebraska, who also seems not to understand critical race theory.

To some, the desperate rush to prevent critical race theory from being taught in American schools make no sense, particularly since Congress just made Juneteenth (June 19) – the day celebrating the emancipation of black slaves in the U.S. – a national holiday.

Following the Black Lives Matter protests that happened across the country last summer, critical race theory has become a national issue.

NBC News just did a report that highlighted how the issue has become one exploited by conversative groups and media outlets like Fox News to spark another culture war issue.

More from the NBC News story:

"Conflicts like this are playing out in cities and towns across the country, amid the rise of at least 165 local and national groups that aim to disrupt lessons on race and gender, according to an NBC News analysis of media reports and organizations’ promotional materials. Reinforced by conservative think tanks, law firms and activist parents, these groups have found allies in families frustrated over Covid-19 restrictions in schools and have weaponized the right’s opposition to critical race theory, turning it into a political rallying point."