Oppose racial profiling

HB0038 is currently in committee of the Illinois House of Representatives. This bill should concern Illinoisans who aspire for a community so beautifully described by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as one where people "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

In a departure from Dr. King's aspirations, HB0038 calls for consideration of race in the hiring process of public-school teachers. This would seem to violate several federal and state civil rights laws. Specifically, the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003 which explains that a unit of the state cannot "subject a person to discrimination under any program or activity on the grounds of that person's race, color, national origin, or gender," as well as the language of the Illinois Human Rights Act which prohibits race-based discrimination in employment.

While one component of HB0038 undermines Dr. King's message through employment considerations, another does so through mandates of curriculum and instruction at the local level. Starting as early as elementary school, HB0038 would require students to learn curriculum based in a discipline of academia that places race as an essential and defining part of human interaction. In this model, one's status as oppressor or oppressed is heavily determined by skin color. In one application of this curriculum, groups of third-grade students analyzed their racial and sexual identities according to "power and privilege" and then wrote reflections on their status as being either privileged or oppressed. One parent described the activities as "basically teaching racism."

Humbly, I submit, a society that places race as an essentially defining element of most human interaction is not one so admirably envisioned by Dr. King. With that in mind, Illinoisans should oppose HB0038.

Bradley Williams


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