Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is doing everything in his power to ban teaching about racism, which Republicans have incorrectly identified as critical race theory.
On Tuesday, Florida’s Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee approved the “Individual Freedom” bill.
The legislation not only prohibits students from learning about racism in school, but it also forbids employers from requiring employees to undergo things like discrimination training.
The bill points out what is considered to be an unlawful employment practice.
“Subjecting any individual, as a condition of employment, membership, certification, licensing, credentialing, or passing an examination, to training, instruction, or any other required activity that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such individual to believe any of the following concepts constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin.”
These “concepts” include teaching that virtues like “merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin to oppress members of another race, color, sex, or national origin.”
The legislation also looks to protect white people and relieve them from feeling like they are responsible for America’s dark past with slavery or the annihilation of Native Americans.
On page three of the bill it states, “An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin…An individual should not be made to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race.”
The bill also details how instructors should conduct themselves in the classroom.
“…classroom instruction and curriculum may not be used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view inconsistent with the principles of this subsection or state academic standards.”
This comes a month after DeSantis said during a press conference that critical race theory was “crap,” and that he would push for a bill that would permit parents to take legal action against schools and allow employees to file a suit against their employers if they were faced with teachings about the theory.
Critical race theory was developed among legal scholars in the 1980s, and it studies how U.S. laws and institutional practices uphold white supremacy.
State Senator Shervin Jones, who is the only Black lawmaker on the Florida committee, shared his thoughts about the bill and stated “This bill’s not for Blacks, this bill was not for any other race. This was directed to make whites not feel bad about what happened years ago,” The Associated Press reported.
He continued, “At no point did anyone say white people should be held responsible for what happened, but what I would ask my white counterparts is, are you an enabler of what happened or are you going to say we must talk about history?”