Sen. Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat, is calling out Republicans for leading a push to block critical race theory from being taught in Florida.
The theory teaches that racism is ingrained in certain political and social structures, and the effects of those systems persist in America. Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, have decried the theory, arguing it promotes hatred of White people who have benefited from the systems the theory decries.
DeSantis has backed calls to ban the theory from being taught in public schools, though it’s typically taught at a college or graduate level, and not typically under the name “critical race theory,” which was coined by legal scholar Derrick Bell, not historians, in the 1970s. Republicans say they’re worried portions of the theory could trickle down to K-12 education and promote racial divisiveness. Monday, Jones argued they were simply concocting a new culture war.
“I dare any of my colleagues across the aisle to name a critical race theorist or cite relevant work taught in Florida public schools,” Jones said.
“Rather than ginning up faux outrage and manufacturing culture wars, I welcome those with an ‘R’ after their name to join me and others focused on addressing the actual bread-and-butter crises hurting Floridians.
Jones also argued the theory’s merits are worth discussing, especially amid an ongoing conversation about racial and social justice that picked up last year after George Floyd’s killing.
“Republicans’ apparent ban of ‘critical race theory’ is a dangerous attempt to whitewash and rewrite history for the sake of political expediency,” Jones said.
“This is not a real issue Florida families face in their daily lives, but just the latest dog whistle from the GOP as they map out a 2022 strategy to confuse and distract voters from the issues that really matter: job security and higher wages, affordable housing options, access to quality health care, sufficient funding for public education, protection of our fragile environment, and a more just justice system.”
Jones, a first-year Senator who also served eight years in the House, issued his comments the same day some of his Black Democrats called out Republicans for demonizing the theory.