Arguably one of the most controversial, divisive, and important issues that Florida legislators will have to deal with during the 2022 legislative session is Critical Race Theory (CRT) in education.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has railed against the education concept, asking the Republican-led legislature in 2021 to pass a measure to ban Critical Race Theory.
State Senator Manny Diaz Jr (R), who sits on the Senate Committee on Education, spoke to The Floridian on Wednesday about how the bill calls for the teaching of American history, to include Jim Crow Laws, Segregation, and Slavery.
“Teaching the achievements of African-Americans and that history. Teaching Slavery. Teaching Segregation. Jim Crow laws,” is what Sen. Diaz says the bill in question calls for.
Democrats, who contend that CRT is not being taught in K-12 schools, say that Republicans are trying to “whitewash” Florida’s education system from teaching students about Black history.
Sen. Diaz questions why Democrats and proponents of CRT, saying that what they are arguing about isn’t even covered in the bill, and that the teaching of Black History, including Segregation and Slavery, is.
“If they are saying that CRT isn’t taught, then they shouldn’t be concerned with the bill. The bill is very positive in what needs to be taught, doesn’t mention CRT.”
Sen. Diaz argued that while teachers may not be directly teaching kids CRT, that it is being taught, and that, “there is a definite subliminal, under the radar, or by another title, similar things.”
That is the aim of the bill, to make sure we are clear of what needs to be taught, and you can have diversity training, but what you can’t do is impose the blame or find somebody guilty of something because of their race. We need to judge people by their character, deeds.
Diaz then talks about the origins of the education concept, asserting that it was seeded in Marxism
“If you do the research, it stems from Critical Theory, which if you do the research, stems from Marxist. Stems from Marx himself,” added Diaz.
According to Brittanica.com, the Critical Theory Diaz speaks of is a “Marxist-inspired movement in social and political philosophy.”
critical theory, Marxist-inspired movement in social and political philosophy originally associated with the work of the Frankfurt School. “Drawing particularly on the thought of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, critical theorists maintain that a primary goal of philosophy is to understand and to help overcome the social structures through which people are dominated and oppressed. Believing that science, like other forms of knowledge, has been used as an instrument of oppression, they caution against a blind faith in scientific progress, arguing that scientific knowledge must not be pursued as an end in itself without reference to the goal of human emancipation. Since the 1970s, critical theory has been immensely influential in the study of history, law, literature, and the social sciences.”—Brittanica.com
But while Republicans like Diaz are firmly against the concept, Democratic State Senators like Sen. Shevrin Jones have been busy railing against the Republican narrative.
"Republicans' apparent ban of ‘Critical Race Theory is a dangerous attempt to whitewash and rewrite history for the sake of political expediency," said Sen. Jones. "This is not a real issue Florida families face in their daily lives, but just the latest dog whistle from the GOP as they map out a 2022 strategy to confuse and distract voters from the issues that really matter: job security and higher wages, affordable housing options, access to quality health care, sufficient funding for public education, protection of our fragile environment, and a more just justice system."
Gov. DeSantis recently said that as it pertains to CRT, “nobody wants this crap,” adding, ”This is an elite-driven phenomenon being driven by bureaucratic elites, elites in universities, and elites in corporate America and they’re trying to shove it down the throats of the American people. You’re not doing that in the state of Florida.”