After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced the “Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act” or Stop the Woke” bill in December 2021, Republican legislators are now poised to quickly get the measure passed in both chambers of the Florida Legislature, and on to Gov. DeSantis’s desk for him to sign the measure into law.
When Gov. DeSantis introduced the measure, he invoked civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“You think about what MLK stood for. He said he didn’t want people judged on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character,” DeSantis said last December. “You listen to some of these people nowadays, they don’t talk about that.”
The “Stop the Woke” act would solidify the Florida Department of Education’s prohibition on teaching the controversial and divisive critical race theory in K-12 schools.
In addition, the bill would prohibit colleges, universities, and school districts from employing “woke CRT consultants.”
"In Florida we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory," DeSantis said in a statement. "We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other. We also have a responsibility to ensure that parents have the means to vindicate their rights when it comes to enforcing state standards."
But not the Progressive organization, Equality Florida is pushing the narrative that Gov. DeSantis wants to “whitewash” Black history. This narrative was first adopted by Progressive State Senator Shevrin Jones, State Rep. Angie Nixon, and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
In the latest Equality Florida video ad to counter the “Stop the Woke” Act, a young girl asks her teacher why words in her textbook are redacted while the class is watching a video of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.
The teacher doesn’t respond, rather points to a teaching memo that reads: “State Law forbids the following Topics.”
According to the video, those topics that the state of Florida prohibits are Racism, Slavery, Discrimination, Race, LGBTQ, Jim Crow Laws, and the Civil Rights Movement, to name a few.
But while Democrats like Sen. Jones contend that DeSantis is trying to completely erase Black History from school curriculums, Republican legislators disagree and argue that issues like “slavery” and “segregation” should be taught.
"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."
State Senator Manny Diaz Jr (R), who sits on the Senate Committee on Education, spoke to The Floridian a couple of weeks back 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.