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Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory Sparks Call for African American History

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Friday, September 17, 2021   

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - 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 described as 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.

"Not any focus at all on the free labor that our people gave that made the American economy a superpower that it became," she 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, in the racial unrest following the killing of George Floyd. Thompson said she believes African American history - which is separate from 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. They include topics around sexism and "race or sex scapegoating." The proposal also bans teaching that one race or sex is inherently superior to another, that the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist, or that individuals are inherently racist, sexist or oppressive based on their own race or gender.


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