RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) — Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed GOP legislation on Friday that would ban the promotion of certain beliefs that some lawmakers have likened to critical race theory in state government workplaces.
The move sets up a likely showdown with the Republican supermajority in the General Assembly, which initially passed the measure by margins without a veto in both houses. While Cooper has used his bullying pulpit to rally voters against the most controversial GOP bills passed this session, he hasn’t been able to successfully block any this year.
From December 1, anyone entering a state government workplace, such as a private contractor or diversity trainer, would be prohibited by the bill from coercing employees into believing they should feel guilty or responsible for past actions committed by persons of the same race or sex.
Cooper denounced the bill Friday as an attempt to suppress productive workplace discussions related to diversity, equity and inclusion. He criticized the Republican caucus for “pretending that prejudice and racism don’t exist” when two of their members recently lost leadership positions over comments made to black colleagues.
“In North Carolina, the diversity of our people is a strength,” Cooper said in a statement. “This legislation attempts to eliminate training that can help us understand the unconscious biases we all bring to our work and our communities.”
The bill would also prohibit recruiting officials at state agencies, community colleges, and the University of North Carolina system from requiring an applicant to give their opinion of their personal or political beliefs as a condition of employment. .
Emails seeking comment were sent to the offices of Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore on Friday.
Critical Race Theory is an academic framework from the 1970s that focuses on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that these institutions maintain white dominance.
The theory is a way to analyze American history through the prism of racism, but it has become a catch-all political buzzword for some conservatives who take issue with how schools and other public institutions have approached diversity. and inclusion.