Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who may be the next President of the United States, has declared war on CRT in Florida. Writer Christopher Rufo fills us in.
Florida rejects narratives that teach our children and culture to hate our nation and to hate each other.
In Florida, critical race theory will not be tolerated. CRT is DOA. pic.twitter.com/rQk9qBTSet
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) December 15, 2021
Rufo: Wednesday, I accompanied Florida governor Ron DeSantis on an early-morning flight from Tallahassee to The Villages retirement community, where he was scheduled to deliver a policy address on critical race theory.
During the flight, DeSantis reviewed talking points for his speech, edited communications materials, and, after the plane touched down, selected a red-and-blue sign that would hang on the podium: “STOP WOKE ACT.”
DeSantis warmed up the crowd of approximately 100 people at Ezell Regional Recreation Center and outlined the “Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act,” which would ban critical-race-theory indoctrination in public schools, prohibit racially abusive training programs in the workplace, and provide parents and workers the right to sue institutions that violate these prohibitions.
The governor framed the rise of critical race theory as a mortal threat to the United States. “I think what you see now with the rise of this woke ideology is an attempt to really delegitimize our history and to delegitimize our institutions,” he said. “And they basically want to replace it with a very militant form of leftism that would absolutely destroy this country.”
As illustrations of critical race theory in American institutions, DeSantis cited seven of my reports for the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal: Arizona claiming that babies are racist; Santa Clara County denouncing the United States as a “parasitic system”; Philadelphia teaching students to celebrate “Black communism”; San Diego telling teachers “you are racist”; Bank of America teaching that the United States is a “system of white supremacy”; Verizon teaching that America is fundamentally racist; and Google teaching that all Americans are “raised to be racist.”
Over the past year, DeSantis has emerged one of the most articulate political spokesmen for the anti–critical race theory movement. His new policy agenda builds on successful anti-CRT legislation in other states but goes two steps further.
First, it provides parents with a “private right of action,” which allows them to sue offending institutions for violations, gain information through legal discovery, and, if they win in the courts, collect attorney’s fees.
Second, it tackles critical race theory in corporate “diversity, equity, and inclusion” training programs, which, DeSantis says, sometimes promote racial stereotyping, scapegoating, and harassment, in violation of state civil rights laws.
At heart, the battle against critical race theory is a fight against entrenched bureaucracies that have used public institutions to promote their own racialist ideology. “This is an elite-driven phenomenon being driven by bureaucratic elites, elites in universities, and elites in corporate America, and they’re trying to shove it down the throats of the American people,” DeSantis said. “You’re not doing that in the state of Florida.”