A bill pushed by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that would 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 approved the bill that takes aim at critical race theory — though it doesn’t mention it explicitly — on party lines, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.
Democrats argued the bill isn’t needed, would lead to frivolous lawsuits, and said it 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?”