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IN OUR VIEW/Sensitive Subject: Proposed Florida legislation is political pandering at its worst

January 18, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.

Many on the far right feel minorities are too sensitive about past discrimination and racism.

They scoff at such things as politically correct language or any notion of "trigger warnings" and the like. They see pulling down Confederate monuments as erasing history. And the idea of Critical Race Theory sends them over the edge.

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 Senate Education Committee this week gave initial approval to a bill cheered by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis aimed at making sure white people are not unduly troubled by the sins of the past.

The bill would prohibit schools and business 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 shield whites, who had all the power back in the days of slavery through Jim Crow.

"An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, does not bear responsibility for actions 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 on account of his or her race," the bill reads in part.

Who knew those folks in Florida were so sensitive?

It's a silly bit of political theater. DeSantos and his fellow travelers are playing to their most conservative base. But should this bill become law it opens the door to all sorts of legal action. How do you measure the discomfort, guilt or anguish a white student might suffer when learning the history of the state's Jim Crow past. And who knows how an employee will take being told to treat all customers equally? Why, just imagine such a blow to their psyches.

Talk about erasing history. This bill would make it risky to even bring it up in Florida.

It's bad legislation. And should it be successful this bad idea might spread to other states. That would be tragic. We have to be able to talk openly about our past, good and bad, to have any hope for a better future.

Print Headline: IN OUR VIEW/Sensitive Subject: Proposed Florida legislation is political pandering at its worst

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