On, April, 22, 2022, the Stop W.O.K.E. bill was signed into law. This masterful piece of stunningly backwards and broadly encompassing legislation is crafted to codify policies identified as woke as illegal in the State of Florida. One might ask at this juncture, what exactly is woke. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary the word woke refers to that state of mind where one is “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”
The ire of the proponents of this legislation is particularly focused on so-called “critical race theory” whose main supposition is that racial bigotry remains extant in the larger culture and that the study of the origins of this mindset is essential if its deleterious impact upon racial and social justice is to be corrected. Critical race theory (CRT) primarily stands for the proposition that the US cannot eradicate racism and fulfill its future promise without facing its past. There is a very telling photograph that was in the news that showed the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis embracing this anti-woke mentality with a throng of adolescent and overwhelmingly white supporters behind him exhibiting signs that clearly depicted their collective distaste of CRT. They are students at the Mater Academy Charter Middle/High School in Florida.
This is a sad and disturbing testimonial to the determined effort on the part of political leaders especially in the state of Florida and elsewhere to demonize and make illegal the very pursuit of vital historic information and knowledge that is such a critical part of education in its truest sense. It is in serious error and essentially self-defeating to actively and purposefully thwart the educational process and incite in young and burgeoning minds a hatred of not only ideas but the individuals who espouse them. Ironically, the sign directly in front of the governor reads, “Freedom from Indoctrination” is strangely reminiscent of George Orwell’s Doublespeak – enforcing indoctrination of a conformist and bigoted ideology is the not so subtle aim of the Stop W.O.K.E. bill that was passed by Governor DeSantis’ political party.
In my estimation, this kind of extreme political posturing mirrors the underlying fear of those who support this hateful message that their world is changing and that they may be left behind. The primary tool at their disposal to derail human progress in this regard is the power of the state to suppress the truth and promote and legislate obeisance to constrained and repressive thinking. This strategy may seem successful in the short term, but the forward movement of history will clearly demonstrate the underlying fallacy of this kind of thinking.
Humanity will move forward towards a more just and peaceful future once it discards bigoted notions and truly embraces the indisputable reality that all individuals on this earth are members of the same human family.