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Alabama Becomes Latest State to Nix State-Funded DEI Efforts

Michael Wade/Getty Images
Michael Wade/Getty Images

Alabama took a major step backwards Wednesday when a law was passed to prohibit state-funded diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at public schools and universities.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed S.B. 129 into law while still claiming to “value Alabama’s rich diversity,” according to AL.com.

“I refuse to allow a few bad actors on college campuses—or wherever else for that matter—to go under the acronym of DEI, using taxpayer funds, to push their liberal political movement counter to what the majority of Alabamians believe,” Ivey said in a statement, the outlet reported. “Supporting academic freedom, embracing diversity of cultures and backgrounds and treating people fairly are all key components of what we believe in Alabama, and I am more than confident that will continue.”

Ivey did not specify who the “bad actors” were or their motives, and she failed to mention that embracing diversity means acknowledging the historical lack of equity oppressed and marginalized groups of people receive.

According to the newly-signed law, S.B. 129 does linguistic gymnastics to claim that DEI initiatives are “divisive concepts” that denote “the moral character of an individual is determined by his or her race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.”

The law also stipulates that people must use restrooms that correlate with their biological sex determined at birth and that DEI teaches that “meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist.”

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However, the law also says that its purpose is not to prevent schools from teaching about “historically accurate” events or “any divisive concept in an objective manner and without endorsement as part of a larger course of academic instruction.”

According to CNN, S.B. 129 places the power back in the hands of the state, in which employees of public institutions can be fired if they knowingly violate the law.

The new law is set to take effect in October.

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