The story at a glance
- Florida senators voted Thursday to ban classes on race and gender identity in public schools and workplaces, which could make some people feel “guilty.”
- The Personal Liberty Bill passed Thursday by 24 votes to 15.
- The legislation is part of a national movement against critical race theory, which tackles systemic and institutional racism in the United States.
The Florida Senate on Thursday voted to remove lessons about gender identity and race from public schools and workplaces that could induce ‘guilt,’ sending another controversial bill to the governor’s office for approval. final.
florida Personal Liberty Billintroduced by Republican Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. in January, passed Thursday by a 24-15 vote. The legislation is part of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Stop Woke Act,” where woke is used as an acronym for “Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees,” which was touted by the Governor as one of his administration’s top priorities.
The bill removes the word “gender” from legislative language, replacing it, in most cases, with the word “sex”. It also replaces the word “ethnicity” with “color”.
Under the bill, the definition of discrimination is expanded to include making another person feel uncomfortable about historical actions because of their race, nationality or gender.
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It also has implications for private companies, and companies that require their employees to undergo implicit bias or sexual harassment training could face legal liability, as “uncomfortable” workers could sue. to court because they believe they have been discriminated against.
The legislation is part of a broader Republican-led crusade against critical race theory, which tackles systemic and institutional racism in the United States.
DeSantis has previously called critical race theory “state-sanctioned racism”, and the State Department of Education over the summer Forbidden Critical Race Theory public school classrooms, lumping it together with Holocaust denial and other “theories that distort historical events“.
Florida Democrats argued Thursday that critical race theory was not taught in public schools in the state, rendering the proposed legislation unnecessary.
“Nobody teaches critical race theory,” Sen. Audrey Gibson (D) said Thursday. “It’s a bill looking for a problem we don’t have.”
Gibson added that the bill is purely “politically motivated” and “designed to be divisive.”
The bill says schools can teach students about slavery and the history of racial segregation and discrimination in an “age-appropriate manner”, but the instruction cannot attempt “to indoctrinate or persuade students of a particular point of view”.
In a statement Thursday, Genesis Robinson, the political director of Equal Ground Action Fund, a Florida black-led nonprofit, said the legislature should be “ashamed” for passing legislation that “will erase years of progress on the breed in the state”. from Florida. »
“Put simply, for black people and all people of color across the state, this bill whitewashes our history in America because conversations about historical and factual events can upset white students, their parents, and their employees. uncomfortable,” he said. “When Governor DeSantis signs this legislation, not only will he send a clear message that the feelings of some are given more respect than the lived experiences of black people in Florida, but he will dishonor the sacrifice and struggle of our ancestors.
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Posted on March 10, 2022