At some point, white conservatives need to admit that their war against diversity, equity and inclusion is bigoted as hell. Perhaps they just need to say out loud to themselves: “I’m not racist, I’m just against entities making an effort to be racially diverse, equity being granted to all races and non-white people being purposefully included in things.” Maybe then they would hear how ridiculous they sound.
But probably not. And definitely not in Florida.
Recently, a Republican legislator from the Sunshine (on white supremacy) State proposed HB 999, which, according to WPTV, “aims to restrict the programs and activities that Florida universities and colleges can promote or support.”
Now, any bill like this coming from Florida is going to raise alarm since its governor, Ron DeSantis, and members of its board of education have made it clear that when it comes to the way education in the state is regulated, the name of the game is keeping straight, cisgender white people as comfortable as possible at the expense of everyone else. But there’s a specific excerpt in this particular bill that has raised red flags that might as well come with Confederate symbols on them.
WPTV noted that line 341 of the bill “aims to prohibit universities or colleges from using any funds to promote, support, maintain, any programs or campus activities that support or adopt diversity, equity and inclusion.” Imagine writing a law that specifically says that if any campus organization makes it a point to be demographically diverse, equitable and inclusionary, that organization can’t get any of our old white money—because that would be divisive.
Anyway, the Republican who sponsored the bill claims it won’t affect Black fraternities and sororities, but one Black legislator who opposes the bill is not buying it.
“What campus activities are you attempting to regulate?” state Rep. Yvonne Hinson, D-Gainesville, asked during a recent House committee hearing.
Hinson, who serves parts of Alachua and Marion counties, laid out her concerns and questions to the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Robert Alex Andrade, R-Pensacola.
“The campus activities that would be at all discussed or considered by this bill are campus activities conducted by administration and professors in their position of roles of power over students on that campus — student activities not included,” Andrade said.
“Of course, he answered that it would be zero effect on operations of student activities, student programs, multicultural centers, Black student centers, Latino student centers or any activities related to students,” Hinson said. “Although the bill itself seems to impact all of these different activities.”
A member of a sorority herself, Hinson said her interpretation of the bill is that it could also impact the way Black sororities or fraternities operate on campus.
On the committee floor, Andrade assured Hinson that the bill does not impact Black sororities and fraternities or their abilities to hold social justice events among other activities.
Andrade went on to say that other groups could be impacted.
“Purely faculty advisory committees, obviously that would be included, but advisers to specific student groups are not prohibited at all to continue being advisers to those student groups,” Andrade said.
Hinson said the bill’s language may have a larger impact on advisers of any student-led groups or activities tied to diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Frankly faculty that is paid by the university may not be able to be faculty advisers to these groups. They won’t be,” Hinson said. “Even if they will, this is going to intimidate them and create a chilling effect.”
The question still remains: What the hell is this bill even for? Why is a lawmaker going out of his way to interfere with the way colleges and universities, which no student is forced to attend, operate and, specifically, the diversity, equity and inclusion of their programs and activities?
It’s as if Republicans wake up every morning and the first thought they have is DEI needs to DIE. What is wrong with these people?
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