Florida Moves Along Bill to Head Off White Guilt

Legislature give first approval to measure backed by DeSantis
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 19, 2022 5:04 PM CST
Bill Would Bar Making White People Feel Bad About Bias
Democratic state Rep. Shevrin Jones, shown in 2019, spoke against a bill designed to combat the teaching of critical race theory to students or employees.   (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

(Newser) – A Florida bill pushed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel "discomfort" when they teach students or train employees about discrimination in the nation's past received its first approval Tuesday. The Senate Education Committee backed the bill that takes aim at critical race theory—though it's not mentioned explicitly—on party lines, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed, the AP reports. Democrats argued the bill isn't needed, would lead to frivolous lawsuits, and would amount to censorship in schools. They asked, without success, for real-life examples of teachers or businesses telling students or employees that they are racist because of their race.

"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," said state Sen. Shevrin Jones, who is Black. "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?" DeSantis held a news conference last month in which he called critical race theory "crap" and said he would seek legislation that would allow parents to sue schools and employees to sue employers if they were subject to such teachings.

Critical race theory is a way of thinking about US history through the lens of racism. 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." Republican Sen. Manny Diaz, the bill's 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. The bill now heads to Senate debate, per ABC News. (DeSantis won a statewide ban on teaching critical race theory in June.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X