What purpose will the act really serve?
As the state's legislative season drew to a close, one of the final bills to be approved through the senate was Florida's controversial 'Stop WOKE Act', which was given the seal of approval on March 10 and will now be signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis.
Stop WOKE stands for “Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees” and the bill - HB7 - was introduced to ban classroom discussions and corporate training that make students or employees feel discomfort over their race. An example of this, is that it will prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in Florida's schools.
At its final vote, the bill was passed by 24 votes to 15
What is critical race theory?
CRT is an approach to studying U.S. policies and institutions, most often taught in law schools. Its foundations date back to the 1970s, when law professors started exploring how race and racism have shaped American law and society.
The theory proposes that whether intentionally or not, racial bias is 'baked into' US laws and institutions. Evidence for the accuracy of the theory is usually cited that Black Americans receive harsher jail sentences and are incarcerated at much higher rates than other races.
A divisive subject
Critics of Governor DeSantis and the GOP claim that the Stop WOKE act is merely another law intended to provoke and fuel political culture wars. Like the so-called 'Don't Say Gay' bill (which was also passed this legislative season), critics believe that the Republican party is seeking to further divide citizens along partisan lines.
When the Governor announced the bill back in December 2021, he spoke plainly about why he felt the new legislation was needed.
“It violates Florida standards to scapegoat someone based on their race, to say that they’re inherently racist, to say that they’re an oppressor or oppressed or any of that.”
More recently, in a speech to the conservative federalist society in February, the governor was even more forthright, stating that he wanted the “free state” of Florida “to be known as a brick wall against all things ‘woke.’ ” As he put it:
“This is where ‘woke’ goes to die."
It seems like with the passing of HB7, the governor may well have got what he wanted. What the effects will be, remains to be seen.
What do you think about the teaching of critical race theory and other similar discussions being banned from schools and work training events? Do you think school kids should be aware of the theories, even if they choose to reject them? Let me know in the comments section below.