A new bill in Florida would ban schools and private businesses from making people feel “discomfort” or “guilt” over historic actions based on their race, gender, or nationality.
The bill –– named “Individual Freedom” –– successfully made its way out of a Republican-controlled state senate committee and has the backing of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s famous “I Have A Dream” speech while defending the language of the potential legislation.
“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. You listen to some of these people nowadays, they don’t talk about that,” DeSantis said at a “Stop the Woke” rally.
The state already outlawed Critical Race Theory from being taught in schools, with that ban taking affect last June. Under this new law, individuals would be prohibited from making people “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin.”
Employers also wouldn’t be able to provide any training that makes someone believe “that an individual bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex or national origin.”
While the “Individual Freedom” bill doesn’t name Critical Race Theory specifically, one of the main arguments people who oppose America’s racist past (and lasting impact) being taught in schools use is that white children “might feel bad” about that history.
“This isn’t even a ban on Critical Race Theory,” Florida Democratic State Senator Shervin Jones told CNN, “This is a ban on Black history.”
“They are talking about not wanting white people to feel uncomfortable. My ancestors were uncomfortable when they were stripped away from their children,” Jones, who is the committee’s vice chair and only Black member, added.