Many on the far right believe that minorities are too sensitive to past discrimination and racism.
They don’t care about things like politically correct language or any notion of “trigger warnings” and the like. They see the destruction of Confederate monuments as the erasure of history. And the idea of critical race theory sends them to the brink.
Why can’t people just get over the past and toughen up, they wonder.
Well, it seems such sensitivity is contagious – at least in Florida.
The state’s Senate Education Committee this week gave initial approval to a bill acclaimed by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis aimed at ensuring white people are not unduly troubled by the sins of the past.
The bill would prohibit schools and businesses from making anyone uncomfortable about past discrimination during student instruction or employee anti-discrimination training.
We say anyone, but the bill is obviously designed to protect white people, who held all the power in the days of slavery through Jim Crow.
“An individual, by virtue of his race or sex, is not responsible for acts committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex. An individual should not be made to feel ‘discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of one’s race,’ the bill reads in part.
Who knew those people in Florida were so sensitive?
It’s kind of silly political theater. DeSantos and his fellow travelers are playing on their most conservative base. But if this bill were to become law, it would open the door to all kinds of lawsuits. How do you measure the discomfort, guilt or anguish a white college student might experience upon learning the history of Jim Crow’s past in the state. And who knows how an employee will accept being told to treat all customers the same? Why, imagine such a blow to their psyche.
Talk about erasing history. This bill would make it risky to introduce it even in Florida.
It is bad legislation. And if successful, this bad idea could spread to other states. It would be tragic. We need to be able to talk openly about our past, good and bad, to hope for a better future.