It’s crazy how a phrase can be turned around and used against you. “Stay Woke” means to stay aware of everything around you – especially a societal sense. It’s been used in songs like Erykah Badu’s “Master Teacher” and Childish Gambino’s “Redbone.” However, the Republican party has taken those two words and weaponized them into a movement to erase history.
Florida Gov. Ron Desantis has a particular itch to combat Critical Race Theory. Something that even he may not be sure that’s being taught in school K-12. As a matter of fact, it’s a concept taught in law schools exploring how race factors into dealing with legal institutions. According to Forbes, Desantis took that progressive paranoia up a notch introducing the ‘Stop W.O.K.E. Act.’ It’s the enforcement arm of a law banning CRT being taught in classrooms earlier this year.
It would give parents the power to sue local school districts that teach lessons rooted in critical race theory– also, collecting attorney’s fees. So, how does Desantis justify this new bill other than a 2022 re-election pillar and possible 2024 presidential jumping-off point?
From News 4 Jax:
“It violates Florida standards to scapegoat someone based on their race, to say that they are inherently racist, to say that they are an oppressor, or oppressed or any of that and that’s good and that’s important. But we also have to realize that we have to do more to make sure that that actually carries the day in our classrooms and in our society,” DeSantis said
Does it, now? Does learning about American history, including slavery, the Underground Railroad, or the Civil Rights Movement scapegoat anyone? I would love to think that the 1800s and 1900s were just full of national anthem making, baseball, and Yankee doodle dandy, but it wasn’t like that for everyone.
The George Santayana quote goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So, if we don’t draw upon our prior history, how will America ever grow to be better?
As a rebuttal, Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar said this,
“Teachers are trained and experienced in educating children and have a duty to prepare their students to be successful contributors to society. Teachers should have the freedom to teach honest, complete facts about historical events like slavery and civil rights without being censored by politicians. The governor’s announcement today goes against this fundamental American value. All Florida’s children should receive a fact-based education that doesn’t change depending on their ZIP code.”
Just as a quick recap, these are some of the things Gov. Ron Desantis has done in Florida this year alone:
- He threatened to fine city and county governments $5,000 for each employee forced to get a vaccine to continue working.
- Desantis also signed an “anti-protest” bill into law.
- In the horror that college students could have diversified thought, he signed a Florida mandate to survey college students’ viewpoints.
- He also signed a transgender sports ban on the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month.
Yes, this is yet another round in the Desantis vs. CRT fight– a boogeyman that is nowhere under the bed. We can’t cover our eyes and ears to block out history, but that’s exactly what the Gov. of Florida and others like him intend to do.