A video claiming that the largest university system in Texas is banning the word "racism" and would punish professors for even using the word sure sounds plausible in today's charged political climate. The only problem? It's not true.
Popular "anti-racism educator" and University of Maryland doctoral student Victoria Alexander claimed in a Feb. 20 TikTok video that she spoke to a University of Texas system professor who told her that $6 million was being spent to root out and discipline professors who use the word "racism" in their classes. The video has nearly 400,000 views so far, with comments expressing outrage over the ban.
@victoriaalxndr Replying to @iamcaseyrkelley University of Texas system spends SIX MILLION DOLLARS to ban the use of the word “racism” and the teaching of race and racism in the US. #woke #stopwokeact #BlackHistory #UShistory ♬ original sound - Victoria Alexander
Turns out, according to the university's officials, the claims are "bogus" and the video is a hoax. They told The Austin American-Statesman that there's no ban, no hotline people can call to tattle on professors, and no $6 million devoted to stamping out the use of the word. Alexander didn't reply to requests for comment on the story and she hasn't posted any follow-up on her account about the claims.
It appears Alexander may have been conflating Florida's Stop Woke Act and some recent news that the University of Texas is pausing its diversity initiatives after the governor of Texas demanded state agencies do away with diversity as a factor in hiring. Texas also has a 2021 law on the books prohibiting teachers from teaching that one race or sex is superior to another, but the law doesn't apply to universities, only K-12 schools.
The lesson? TikTok can be a great source of shared knowledge, but it's not like it has a fact-checking department.
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