Restraining progress

Problems with upcoming bills

Dafany Miranda-Zepeda , Managing Editor

Senate Bill 148 was publicly endorsed by Governor Ron DeSantis and approved by the Florida Senate Education Committee on Jan. 18. The bill was introduced by Senator Manny Diaz, it is designed to protect individual freedoms when a person is discomforted by an activity about race or inequality in workplaces and schools. 

The controversy surrounding the bill is how it supports white people who feel discomforted by lessons on racism. The bill will allow racism to be discussed in schools and businesses, however, it acts as a limiter of what actually can be said when lessons or activities are centered around racism. 

Governor Ron DeSantis said, “you think about what MLK stood for. He said he didn’t want people judged on the color of their skin but the content of their character. You listen to some of these people nowadays, they don’t talk about that.” 

In response to Governor DeSantis’ endorsement, State Senator Shervin Jones said, “and we know for a fact what this is. This is Governor DeSantis’ move trying to stop the teaching of true American black history. Our history is American history.”

Another bill has been under fire and is known as ‘Don’t Say Gay.’ The CS/HB 1557- Parental Rights in Education states to be a reinforcement of the rights parents have on controlling their children such as requiring school boards to have procedures that accord with laws for informing parents of information in classrooms. 

Representative Joe Harding introduced House bill 1557 and said the bill is “about defending the most awesome responsibility a person can have: being a parent.” 

News Channel 8 states, “Harding said the law would prevent school districts from creating curriculum or policies that encourage teachers to discuss LGBTQ+ topics in classrooms.” 

Rep. Anna Eskamani, serving for 47th district in Florida said, “in reality, this is another effort by Governor DeSantis who is trying to fight Trump for supremacy among the Republican Party to appeal to his base. This is all about playing politics with people’s lives.” 

These are just the two bills that have been caught in controversy and seem to further Governor DeSantis agenda because the Sun-Sentinel reported that there are 5 bills, including the Don’t say gay bill, that will affect LGBTQ+ such as Transgender Athlete ban, Transgender youth medical care ban, restricting access in sex education, and health care refusal. 

These bills are not being passed or written to help Floridians, they are means to limit Floridians.  

Governor DeSantis says people don’t talk about how MLK said, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” But he misunderstands what Martin Luther King Jr. meant about this quote.

Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and CEO of the King Center, said in an interview with Jimmy Fallon, “He was basically explaining that, no, there’s a beauty in who I am as a black person, but I should not be judged by those standards. It’s not that you don’t see my race. You see my race, you acknowledge my race and you accept everything I bring along with that.”

Bernice King said, “if you’re going to use his words, try to find the context of those words that he used them in.” 

Governor DeSantis did not use the quote in the right context and instead misused it to fit his own agenda because he would’ve realized that Dr. King was never talking about how white people should feel comfortable about racism. 

Why must people of color make conservations of racism palatable for white people? 

American history should not be limited just because you may feel discomforted or guilty for the past.  The past influences our present and that’s why it is essential for all of us to not whitewash history. 

If we remain ignorant about our past we forget the lasting effects that systemic racism has brought onto people of color.

Ignorance is in all of us so it is vital for us to educate ourselves about all parts of history even those parts you may feel discomforted by. 

In addition, we must educate ourselves on a variety of topics such as sexuality and gender instead of continuing to grow up in a heteronormative society.

People stick to the binary of our life because that is what you believe is comfortable but that doesn’t help us improve the systematic problems within the world we reside in. 

Rep. Joe Harding has made a new version of House Bill 1557 to make it more “agreeable” and less vague. Nevertheless, It won’t change the fact that it will hurt more people than protecting “parents’ rights.” 

This was never about parents’ rights, it is about furthering an agenda to please homophobes and transphobes. 

Our Florida Constitution states to “guarantee equal civil and political rights to all.” But what is happening right now is not guaranteeing our rights, instead, it regresses any progress we have made and restricts the rights of marginalized voices.