A Republican lawmaker in Wyoming said on Wednesday that there are “different views” on slavery that should be discussed, and that Black Americans are “stuck” in a way of thinking that he said is “worse than the slavery itself.”
From The Casper Star Tribune:
“Slavery was something that shouldn’t have happened in America, but it did. But we’ve created slavery into a place that has created a position of being stuck, in my opinion, for a people group,” Rep. Jeremy Haroldson, R-Wheatland, told lawmakers Wednesday. “And that’s a sad place to be. And that was probably, in my opinion, worse than the slavery itself, because we have created a place where people cannot get free from because of their past.”
“So slavery needs to be discussed,” he added. “It needs to be brought forward and the different views, that slavery was not maybe what it has been painted in this nation completely.”
Haroldson made the comments as he presented members of the House Education Committee with HB-177 – Education-Understanding federal and state government, a bill that would rewrite parts of Wyoming’s public schools curriculum.
Haroldson said the bill was inspired by the lack of civics knowledge he perceived in the state’s high school students, and that it was a response to a system that is “very much tilting more towards a liberal view of education.”
The measure would require Wyoming public schools to not only educate schoolchildren on the United States Constitution — which is already required by law — but also on a number of “threats encountered by the democratic republic and free society,” a list that includes “identity politics,” corruption in government, religious discrimination and “the political extremisms of fascism and communism.”
Haroldson, who the report noted is a pastor, said he does not believe that students are “getting a fully well-rounded view of the founding of this nation,” listing “a lack of knowledge of the U.S. Constitution among his concerns as well as what he views as an overemphasis of the subject of structural racism.”
Haroldson was stumped, however, when pressed on his own knowledge of the Constitution.
“Do you know what the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is?” Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, asked Haroldson as he presented the bill.
“I would have to look at it right now ma’am,” he responded.
“It’s the right to vote for women,” she said. “And it’s not included in your bill. So I’m curious about that.”
According to the report, the bill failed to advance on a vote of 7-2, though “some committee members expressed interest in his ideas, including Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow.”
Image credit: Screengrab / Wyoming Constitution Party / YouTube