The Associated Press reported Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing a bill to prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel uncomfortable when teaching students or employees about racism. It’s almost as if racism might be uncomfortable to discuss because its impact on Black Americans is quite terrible. That’s why its called Critical Race Theory.
AP News reported DeSantis held a conference in December where he called CRT “crap.” He also said he would support legislation to allow parents to sue schools who teach their children CRT. What a privilege to be exempt from learning about racism…unless you experience it, of course.
The bill reads in part, “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 is called “Individual Freedom.” Republican Sen. Manny Diaz, its sponsor, said it is not about ignoring the “dark” parts of American history, but rather ensuring that people are not blamed for sins of the past.
“No individual is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, solely by the virtue of his or her race or sex,” Diaz said. “No race is inherently superior to another race.”
Obviously someone missed the point. Critical Race Theory looks at how racism has woven itself into America’s government and society resulting in the injustice we see happening on our television screens. Police brutality and voting restrictions are not new oppression tactics. They’re recycled. Does that make people uncomfortable? Yes, it should.
The Senate Education Committee already approved the bill, according to NPR. Democrats who opposed the bill argued it would lead to censorship in schools. Sen. Shervin Jones told NPR, “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. 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?”
The only history they want students to learn is same watered-down, white-washed, “slaves were farmers” fairytales they’ve been reading since kindergarten.
Conservatives reject it, saying it is a world view derived from Marxism that divides society by defining people as oppressors and oppressed based on their race. They call it an attempt to rewrite American history and make white people believe they are inherently racist.
To be fair, history has already been rewritten. There are still children being taught Christopher Columbus was a hero and Pocahontas, the movie, was a historical event. Of course, DeSantis had to make himself seem anti-racist by referencing Martin Luther King Jr. (who’s probably tired of folks quoting him out of context). According to NPR, DeSantis said in a conference last month that MLK didn’t stand for people being “judged on the color of their skin but on the content of their character.”
CRT isn’t meant to make white people in the present responsible for the actions of their ancestors. It places a lens on how racism was tied into the historical makeup of our national institutions which some white people still enable. One would wonder why the Republican Party seems so threatened by it. Maybe CRT is the very tool that can dismantle their centuries of hard work to keep white supremacy alive.