Things That Matter

Senate Committee Approves Florida Bill Banning Curriculum That Might Make Students Feel ‘Discomfort’ Over Their Race

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been in the headlines a lot lately. If it’s not about his alleged feud with Trump, it’s about his COVID policies or his possible designs for presidency. But now, DeSantis is in the news for another hot-button topic: critical race theory in schools.

On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee in Florida approved a new bill titled “Individual Freedom” that will prohibit schools in Florida from teaching curriculum that could possibly cause students to feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” because of their “race, color, sex, or national origin.”

While the term “critical race theory” is not explicitly mentioned in the text of the bill, the subtext is clear.

The anti-CRT bill was backed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who, on the other hand, seems to believe that this bill will actually combat racism. Anti-white racism, that is. 

This isn’t the first time Governor DeSantis has taken aim at critical race theory. In December, he held a rally introducing his newest legislation, the Stop W.O.K.E (Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees) Act.

During the rally, DeSantis invoked the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to support his attempt at eradicating the discussion of racism in schools.

“You think about what MLK stood for. He said he didn’t want people judged on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character,” DeSantis said. “You listen to some of these people nowadays, they don’t talk about that.”

At the time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Bernice King, called DeSantis out on Twitter for twisting her father’s words to fit his own political agenda.

“This is an absolute misappropriation and misuse of my father’s words, @GovRonDeSantis,” King wrote on Twitter. “Daddy wasn’t working for a society that shuns truth about history and racism. He wrote and spoke about his own deep disappointment in America. It was his dream that we would eliminate racism.”

The “Individual Freedom” bill has been condemned by many people who believe it has the potential to encourage glossing over of the history of racism in the United States.

On Twitter, many people are pointing out the hypocrisy of worrying that a child might be uncomfortable with the history of racism, when children like Ruby Bridges dealt with the violent reality of racism just over 60 years ago.

“I imagine Ruby Ridges experienced some ‘discomfort’ too,” wrote one Twitter user. “So sorry to hear that learning about her discomfort may make others uncomfortable.”

Others pointed out that the point of teaching about the negative aspects of history is to make people uncomfortable. After all, how can we learn from our mistakes if we don’t fully process the negative impacts of them?

As another Twitter user wrote: “Teaching historical, current and systemic racism, inequality and oppression SHOULD make ppl feel uncomfortable. It SHOULD be disturbing. There is something inherently wrong with trying to make racism palatable for ppl.”

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