After July 1, state colleges in Florida will no longer have diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
On May 15, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis defunded diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives (DEI) in public colleges in the “Sunshine State.”
Across the country, many colleges and universities have DEI offices, which attempt to diversify their staff and promote inclusivity amongst students and faculty.
Gov. DeSantis said, “If you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination. And that has no place in our public institutions.”
DeSantis made his remarks and signed the bill at New College of Florida in Sarasota, Fla.
The location is notable because DeSantis had targeted New College in the past to point the direction of the school in a conservative manner.
He appointed six new members to New College’s board of trustees earlier this year.
The six new members are some of his conservative allies.
The potential 2024 presidential candidate has criticized the past board members for promoting DEI, critical race theory and gender ideology, saying that is not “what a liberal arts education should be.”
DeSantis, who says DEI promotes discrimination, added, “This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida. We are eliminating the DEI programs.”
The new bill also dictates what can be taught in college campuses.
For example, general education courses cannot “distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics” or critical race theory.
CNN reports, “The law also demands that general education courses ‘may not distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics’ based on ‘theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, and economic inequities.”
Despite many conservatives having a problem with historians and scholars reporting that systemic racism and oppression are inherent in the institutions of the United States, American history shows that is true.
The entire economic structure of America was built on slave labor.
The social construct of race, and therefore racism, was created so that White slaveholders could justify the enslavement of African-Americans and the genocide of Native Americans.
Even when slavery was supposedly abolished, convict leasing kept the enslavement of African-Americans alive well into the 20th century.
Therefore, many Fortune 500 companies and institutions of higher learning like the Ivy League schools built their wealth on the enslavement of African-Americans.
When African-Americans began advancing politically during Reconstruction, Jim Crow laws were established to maintain White supremacy.
The topic of the descendants of African-American slaves receiving reparations is a topic discussed in many college classrooms throughout the country.
While many White conservatives believe that African-Americans simply must work hard to close the wealth gap in the country, American history shows that White slave owners received reparations after the abolishment of slavery, but not the actual emancipated slaves.
Furthermore, many European immigrants were given acres of land by the United States government when they migrated to the United States.
However, the government reneged on giving the liberated slaves 40 acres and a mule for their years of free labor, which had built the foundation of the American economy.
To this day, many African-Americans experience discrimination in banking and housing (such as the appraisal values of their home being diminished because of skin color), which prevents them from accumulating generational wealth as compared to their White counterparts.
However, DeSantis called such discussions “woke” and has vowed to crack down on “woke indoctrination.”
Furthermore, he has bragged that Florida “is where woke goes to die.”
The term woke originated in the African-American community, encouraging African-Americans to stay aware or woke when it comes to racism and discrimination.
To many in the African-American community, many White conservatives have flipped the meaning of the term to mean whatever they want it to mean, which triggers people who want to maintain the status quo of White supremacy.
By the original definition of the word woke, anyone who is against woke is against racial progress and racial equality.
Instead, the term has gotten misappropriated by politicians attempting to stop the racial advancement of minorities.
States like Texas are also attempting to pass similar anti-DEI bills.
Irene Mulvey, president of The American Association of University Professors, said “When you see elected leaders demonizing educators and weaponizing education, it’s a five-alarm fire for democracy. It (is) important (to) understand that when governors attack DEI efforts, they completely mischaracterize them to create a straw-man demon that they now have to do away with.”
On July 1, Florida’s anti-DEI bill goes into effect.
When speaking on the signed bill, DeSantis said, “This is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination, and that has no place in our public institutions. If you want to do things like gender ideology, go to (the University of California) Berkley. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but for us with our tax dollars, we want to focus on the classical mission of what a university is supposed to be.”
DeSantis added, “What this does is reorient our universities back to their traditional mission and part of that traditional mission is to treat people as individuals, not to try to divvy them up based on any type of superficial characteristics.”
Although DeSantis trails former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion might play a pivotal role in who ultimately occupies the White House.