‘Minority communities are under attack.’ Bill clears way for racism in Ohio| advocate says – The Columbus Dispatch – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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“… House Bill 327 would make it difficult for law enforcement to establish trust within their own communities,” Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson  |  Guest columnist

Minority communities are under attack at the Ohio Statehouse.

As the General Assembly prepares to pass House Bill 327, much of the focus is on education and understandably so: the bill represents a fundamental shift in classroom instruction.

Less discussed is how the bill impacts state agencies and local governments.

If the bill passes, they would be prevented from taking necessary steps to protect the health, safety, and well-being of vulnerable communities.

Although it was the first recommendation of Gov. Mike DeWine’s Minority Health Strike Force, the Ohio General Assembly has yet to officially declare racism a public health crisis. The resolutions currently languish in committee waiting on the General Assembly to act.

More: ‘Divisive concepts’ vs. ‘whitewashing’ history: Critical race theory debate comes to the Ohio Statehouse

Instead, legislators are working on House Bill 327, which would make it a finding of the General Assembly that systemic racism does not exist, and that equity is a “false promise.”

This means not only is it highly unlikely the legislature will ever declare racism a public health crisis, but many of the other recommendations of the Minority Health Strike Force would be rendered moot.  

Meanwhile, for the 27 different counties, boards of health, and cities that have declared racism to be a public health crisis, House Bill 327 would limit how effectively they could use these declarations to address racial disparities, as they must not run afoul of the prohibited concepts.

To understand and combat disparate outcomes based on race, it is critical that these entities have the ability to discuss implicit bias, oppression, and myths of meritocracy. Yet these discussions would be impossible under House Bill 327.

The idea that “individuals should be adversely or advantageously treated…on the basis of their race” is another prohibited concept. Alt

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