‘Banned! Voices From the Classroom’: Reflections From a Small Liberal Arts College in New York

For those of us in so-called liberal states, what happens in our backyards is connected to the nationwide suppression of teaching about people of color, queer and trans folks, and women.

(To be featured in our “Banned! Voices From the Classroom” series, submit pitches and/or completed draft op-eds and reflections to Aviva Dove-Viebahn at adove-viebahn@msmagazine.com. Posts will be accepted on a rolling basis.)

Who Is Funding Your University? Unpacking the Hidden Influence of U.S. College Donors With Jasmine Banks

In colleges and universities across the U.S., right-wing donors endow “chairs” and departments, set up free-market boosting thinktanks, and get themselves on college boards, to ensure that progressive influences are limited, if not outright eliminated.

“Koch Industries and the entire Koch network are willing to fund projects for many years. They understand the importance of deep investment. The progressive sector needs progressive funders who are willing to mirror the philanthropy of the right.,” said Jasmine Banks, executive director of UnKoch My Campus, a national organization devoted to disrupting hidden corporate influence on U.S. college campuses.

‘Banned! Voices from the Classroom’: Call for Submissions

Ms. Classroom wants to hear from educators and students being impacted by legislation attacking public education, higher education, gender and sexuality studies, activism and social justice in education, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Submit pitches and/or completed draft op-eds and reflections (between 500-800 words) to Aviva Dove-Viebahn at adove-viebahn@msmagazine.com. Posts will be accepted on a rolling basis, with posting beginning in August 2023.

BANNED: Gender, Race and Sexuality Studies

A new Florida law severely restricts gender, race and sexuality studies at state-funded colleges—and eliminates diversity programs altogether. Far from just a “Florida problem,” this is one piece of an alarming right-wing strategy spreading nationwide. Gender studies advocates warn, “Thiis is about to be the entire country’s problem. Every Republican-dominated state legislature is watching closely what is happening in Florida.”

Far-right conservatives fear that younger generations will be taught to think critically about the rampant misrepresentation and sanitization of American history and the continued discrimination against women, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.

The Florida Moms Are All Right

What’s happening at the New College of Florida is one component of a set of legislative and executive decisions that aim to eliminate diversity programming, majors in gender studies, and any instruction in Critical Race Theory or intersectionality throughout the Florida State University System.

“It is so empowering to be in this new group of people who are so diverse and so committed to doing the right thing.”

‘Black Women’s Bodies Have Always Been Under Attack’: Marcela Howell on Reproductive Justice and Why We Must Listen to Black Women

Marcela Howell, an advocate and policy strategist, is retiring after 35 years of advocating for women’s rights and reproductive freedoms. The founder and former president of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, Howell spoke with Ms.’ Janell Hobson about the current state of affairs, reproductive justice, and why more of us need to listen to Black women.

“If Black women in their full force come out and vote in elections, conservatives lose; their policies lose. If you want to control Black women, you control their bodies, control their votes, control what they learn in school, control their history.”

I’m the Professor Fox News Warns You About

I don’t know when I caught it, but I’ve been infected with what Ron DeSantis has so eloquently named “woke mind virus.” I’m like a walking, talking Petri dish of intersectionality, feminism and critical race theory, spreading my contagion to all the unsuspecting students who stumble into my classroom.

Here are some of my symptoms: I teach about marginalization, encourage my students to challenge authority, and believe that intersectionality gives us a better understanding of context in communication with others. And now, I’ve gone and infected these poor kids with my dangerous ideas about social justice and equity. 

Critical Race Theory Curriculum Brings Crucial Discussions on Race, Gender and History to Classrooms Across the U.S.

“The Journey to Justice: A Critical Race Theory Primer”—a joint initiative between Ms. magazine, the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and the Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice—includes articles, essays and lesson plans that address teaching critical race theory from kindergarten to college settings.

How Feminists and Academics Are Fighting the Right’s ‘Anti-Woke’ Agenda

There are now 28 states that either limit how teachers can discuss issues about race and gender, or are considering passing legislation. Feminist teachers and academics have been viewing with increased alarm, anger and frustration these legislative efforts by Republicans to limit our academic freedom, censor the teaching of African American and gender studies, and place us in an untenable situation where we are forced to defend ourselves and our livelihood. The attack is personal. It is rooted in anti-Black racism, patriarchy, transphobia, whiteness and xenophobia—a propagandistic argument designed to whitewash our collective history. It is not simply a debate about curriculum; it is a fight about the direction of this country. It will not stop unless we stop it.

Join our teach-in at 12 p.m. ET on May 3.