Florida GOP bills that bar schools and businesses from addressing key issues of inequality are an 'embrace of authoritarianism': op-ed

This Thursday, the Florida House passed two bills that critics say seek to ban discussions in schools and business about racial, gender and sexual orientation-based discrimination. In an op-ed for MSNBC this Friday, Ja'han Jones contends that the bills are an example of Florida Republicans' "increasingly anti-democratic stance against socially conscious teachings."

"The so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill — officially, and deceptively, titled the Parental Rights in Education bill — would ban any instruction about sexual orientation or gender from kindergarten to third grade, 'or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards,'" Jones writes. "The bill came to fruition amid conservatives’ nationwide attacks on school lesson plans discussing social inequality. The Republican Party has leaned into these attacks as a wedge issue primarily to rile up white parents, and many conservatives see this rhetoric as their key to winning elections this year and in 2024."

According to Jones, the other bill the state House passed Thursday "similarly caters to conservative white parents."

"The Stop WOKE Act — with its intentional-yet-embarrassingly-outdated appropriation of Black slang — bars public schools and businesses from making people feel 'guilt' or 'discomfort' about their race during lessons and trainings about discrimination. The bill, which I’ve unaffectionately labeled the 'Sad White People Bill,' was backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s pitched it as an attack on critical race theory, the college-level field of study focused on how racism rears itself in America," he writes.

Jones goes on to say that Critical Race Theory (CRT) isn't being taught Florida’s K-12 public schools. He also writes that Florida Republicans "have shown a keen interest in passing laws" that require classrooms "to be filmed and teachers to wear microphones in what can only be described as a full-on embrace of the surveillance state."

Read the full op-ed at MSNBC.