GOP Rep. Fine proposes sweeping ban against critical race theory and ‘racial scapegoating’

Orlando Sentinel | By Steven Lemongello | September 16, 2021

Republican state Rep. Randy Fine is wading back into a hot conservative controversy from earlier this year by filing a bill to ban critical race theory in all public schools, universities and colleges, state agencies and local governments.

In June, the Florida Board of Education banned critical race theory from being taught in public schools, despite the university-level course not being taught there. The theory contends racism is structurally embedded in U.S. law and society.

Fine’s bill, filed Aug. 30, is a more sweeping ban that would prevent almost any critical discussion of racism or sexism from being taught or discussed in “all public schools, both government-run and charter, all 12 public Florida Universities, all 28 State Colleges, all state agencies, all county and municipal governments, and all private government contractors.”

The bill, described as a ban on all “racial and sexual discrimination” implied as mostly being against whites and men, would ban discussion of “divisive topics,” including whether “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist” and whether “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously.”

It also bans “racial or sex stereotyping” and “scapegoating,” potentially meaning that schools, universities and agencies could get in trouble for discussing the role of white people in the history of racism or sexism.

“Critical Race Theory is racist at its core, and has no place in the State of Florida,” Fine, R-Melbourne Beach, said in a statement. “The notion that people are good or bad based on the color of their skin runs counter to everything our country was founded on. It is insidious, it is evil, and it is propagated to make our children hate their country.”

Similar bans in Texas and elsewhere have been criticized for potentially scaring off any discussion or teaching at all about racism and the history of white supremacy in the U.S.

One such law was passed in Oklahoma just a few weeks before the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, in which dozens of Blacks were killed and a historic Black neighborhood destroyed in 1921.

The Florida Legislature convenes its regular session in January.

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