Florida’s Senate Education Committee approved a thinly veiled anti-Critical Race Theory bill on Tuesday that aims to eliminate feelings of “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” felt by students “on account of his or her race.”
The bill, SB 148, advanced out of committee along party lines with full Republican support. It’s part and parcel of Governor Ron DeSantis efforts to combat the teaching of Critical Race Theory, which the Brookings Institute defines as the belief that “U.S. social institutions (e.g., the criminal justice system, education system, labor market, housing market, and healthcare system) are laced with racism embedded in laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that lead to differential outcomes by race.”
Last month, DeSantis called CRT “crap” and said he’d introduce legislation allowing parents to sue schools that taught it.
“[SB 148] was directed to make whites not feel bad about what happened years ago,” said state Sen. Shevrin Jones, who is a Black Democrat.
The Associated Press adds:
Jones said DeSantis is playing to his conservative base by pushing the legislation, but wouldn’t go so far as to say DeSantis himself is racist.
“The governor will continue to go across the country with his racist rhetoric on critical race theory … It’s a problem that doesn’t exist,” Jones said. “I think the governor’s policies that he continues to push are racist.”
The AP explains the GOP defense of SB 148:
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.”