Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and state lawmakers are working to prohibit
discussions around race and discrimination in public schools and private
businesses that could cause “discomfort” to white people, according to
On Tuesday, Florida’s Senate Education Committee approved SB 148 that was
sponsored by State Senator Manny Diaz Jr.
“An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, does not bear
responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the
same race or sex. 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 states.
The bill also targets critical race theory although it doesn’t mention the
ideological movement directly, CBS News reports.
State Senator Shevrin Jones said the bill “was directed to make whites not
feel bad about what happened years ago. 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?”
DeSantis said that CRT is “crap” and pledged to pass legislation giving
permission for parents and employees to sue if they are subjected to
listening to the theory, according to Vanity Fair.
MSNBC’s Ja’han Jones said the bill is about “prioritizing white
hypersensitivity over truthful teachings” and notes that “lessons about
America’s racist and sexist past are acceptable only if they don’t offend
“To me, these new demands for fealty to fragile whiteness sound like a re-
up of the Black Codes, laws instituted during and after the Civil War to
reinforce white supremacy. In some states, the codes permitted capital
punishment against Black people for minor crimes like petty theft, allowed
whippings for vagrancy and swearing, and banned Black land ownership.
Florida’s particularly harsh codes allowed white people to beat Black
workers for ‘disrespect,’ as historian Jerrell H. Shofner wrote in his
1976 essay on the state’s racist laws. Historian Joe M. Richardson wrote
that white Floridians passed the codes out of fear that their racist world
was crumbling around them,” Ja’han said.
“It seems DeSantis and Florida’s GOP-led legislature are operating with a
similar fear. They see the facade of white supremacy—weak as it
is—crumbling under the weight of high school lesson plans and workplace
trainings. And bills like SB 148 are sad attempts to piece that facade
back together…. That’s why—if the white parents complaining about Black
authors weren’t enough—it’s clear that the Florida bill is designed to
coddle white people, even though it doesn’t mention them specifically,”
Florida follows six other states that have taken measures to ban critical
race theory, according to the World Population Review.
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