Scott Maxwell, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, reports on Orwellian legislation that has been proposed by conservative elected officials. These officials don’t want professors to teach about racism. It is sure to be divisive and make someone uncomfortable. Thus they find it necessary to ban “teaching theories that suggest “systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, and economic inequities.” This is a recent addition to the state’s higher education bill (SB 266).

This legislation is intended to shield students from unpleasant facts.

Students should not be taught about the origin of Florida’s law (recently revised) that did not allow former felons to vote, ever.

Maxwell writes:

That policy was instituted in the wake of the U.S. Civil War by Florida politicians who were, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, trying to stop the state from becoming too “n*ggerized.”

Sen. Geraldine Thompson, an African American Democrat who founded Orlando’s Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture, said the goal of the legislation is to distort history so students will never learn the history of systemic racism. Nor will they learn that the University of Florida did not admit Black students for its first 100 years. Legislators want to bury those facts, as they want to bury the history of lynchings and massacres. Nor do they want students to learn about the unequal sentences imposed on Blacks and whites convicted of the same crimes.

There were examples galore. Like two 17-year-olds in Lee County who were both charged with robbing gas stations with guns. Both had precisely three prior records as juveniles. Both made off with a few hundred bucks. The Black teen got four years in prison. The White one avoided prison altogether…

Thompson actually floated a legislative proposal to more thoroughly study the discrepancies found in the Herald-Tribune’s “Bias on the Bench” series to get more complete numbers and see what, if anything, needed fixing. Her idea was rejected.

Then, the Florida Supreme Court went a step further, curtailing “fairness and diversity” training for Florida judges.

This seems to be the new Florida way for handling systemic inequality. First, you nix efforts to fix it. Then you try to ban even discussing it.

The actual language in the higher-ed censorship proposal is a hot mess, full of nebulous catch phrases and vague bans, forbidding curriculum that, for example, “teaches identity politics,” as if that’s a statutorily defined thing.

The goal seems to be to generally chill speech, so that no one’s quite clear what they’re allowed to teach…

Thompson noted that the chilling effects are already happening with Florida schools canceling classes that they fear might offend legislators.

Teaching students actual history and sharing with them concrete contemporary data isn’t unpatriotic. Trying to stop or censor that is.