Media continues to lie about Florida’s ‘Stop Woke Act’

January 5, 2023

By Tim Worstall

ProPublica tells us the terrifying story of a sociologist having to change his teaching because of the oppression of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Stop Woke Act means that he can no longer teach his college classes about how white oppression and racial injustice are the base structure of American society.

There are two problems with this story:

But a clash with state law seemed inevitable, once Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, proposed what he called the strongest legislation in the nation against “the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory.” Last April, DeSantis signed the Individual Freedom Act, also known as the “Stop Woke Act,” into law. It bans teaching that one race or gender is morally superior to another and prohibits teachers from making students feel guilty for past discrimination by members of their race. And it specifically bars portraying racial colorblindness — which the law labels a virtue — as racist.

The first problem would be that we are – repeatedly – told that CRT is a theory met in graduate classes in law school. So, we might be happy enough that this doesn’t then infest sociology classes and the basic college level. Things that are discussed – perhaps the American legal system is not colorblind – at one level of education might not be appropriate to be taught as background facts at lower levels. Jus’ sayin’, given that the defence of CRT is that idea that it’s only a theory in law schools.

But the much bigger problem is that, as we’ve noted before, the Stop Woke Act doesn’t detail anything at all about college level classes. The restrictions on teaching apply only – solely – to K-12. Yes, there are other laws and details of this one about what can be insisted upon as a condition of employment and so on but there are no rules nor restrictions upon what a college professor may decide to teach. Well, you know, other than hopefully some connection with reality and what the college administration is happy to have taught.

The entire story is based upon an error. But sadly an error is, as our earlier story showed, one that is being enthusiastically promulgated. CRT is not banned in colleges in Florida. Yet we get repeated stories about how it is.

ProPublica ranks at No. 357 for news and media outlets and gains some 3.5 million monthly visits from that position. However, it supplies articles to other outlets, so its influence is much greater than that.

This is the second time that we’ve seen this claim – Florida’s laws about K-12 education impact what happens in college. This just isn’t true. K-12 laws are about K-12. It is, of course, possible that media outlets don’t understand this, even that college professors in Florida don’t, but that wouldn’t reflect well upon either of them. Nor would the alternative explanation, that they wish to mislead us – or even misinform.


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