Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Florida rep's bill to ban ‘race or sex scapegoating’ sparks a call to teach African American history year round

Posted By on Fri, Sep 17, 2021 at 2:43 PM

click to enlarge Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay - PHOTO BY NEWS SERVICE FLORIDA
  • Photo by News Service Florida
  • Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay

State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, is lashing out against the idea of critical race theory, filing a bill to ban its use in all government institutions, including universities.

Critical race theory is an upper-level academic framework that examines whether and how systems and policies perpetuate racism. The topic has become a lightning rod for conservatives across the country, who claim it's being taught in grade schools.

Fine, who is white, has said the topic is inherently racist. However, state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, who is Black, said that in grade school, she was taught European history.

There was "not any focus at all on the free labor that our people gave that made the American economy a superpower that it became," Thompson said. "And is it racist, then, that I only got European history? I think so."

Gov. Ron DeSantis already had issued a ban on discussing critical race theory in public schools in June, during the racial unrest following the killing of George Floyd. Thompson said she believes African American history — which is not the same thing as critical race theory — should be taught because it's part of American history.

Thompson has filed bills advocating teaching African American history in schools. She noted that since 1994, Florida law has required African American history be taught in all 67 counties. However, she said, research by the Florida Department of Education's African American History Task Force has shown the law is being ignored.

"They have found that only 11 of the 67 counties are actually providing acceptable instruction in African American history," she said.

Thompson said what she considers "acceptable" is instruction beyond Black History Month.

Fine's bill includes a 10-point list of what it calls "divisive concepts" to be banned (see below). The list includes topics around sexism and "race or sex scapegoating."

The proposal also bans teaching that one race or sex is inherently superior to another, teaching that the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist, or teaching that individuals are inherently racist, sexist or oppressive based on their own race or gender.

110.1222 Policy against race or sex scapegoating or race or sex stereotyping.—
(1) As used in this section, the term:
 (a) "Divisive concepts" means any of the following concepts, including views espousing that:
1. One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
2. The United States is fundamentally racist or sexist.
3. An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously.
4. An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.
5. Members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.
6. An individual's moral character is inherently determined by his or her race or sex.
7. An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
8. An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.
9. Meritocracy or traits, such as a hard work ethic, are racist or sexist or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.
10. Any other form of race or sex scapegoating or race or sex stereotyping.

Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

Tags: , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation