Home » Enlightened and ‘woke as hell’ Democrats decry GOP, DeSantis-led ‘culture war’ on Black history

Enlightened and ‘woke as hell’ Democrats decry GOP, DeSantis-led ‘culture war’ on Black history

by The Grio

“Woke as hell,” Democratic lawmakers marked this Black History Month fighting to preserve the future of Black history instruction in public classrooms to ensure students learn about the storied contributions of African Americans to this nation.

More than 40 states have introduced or passed legislation limiting discussion about race in public schools and colleges, according to tracking efforts by Education Week. But Black legislators have countered the assault on Black history with bills tying federal funding to Black history instruction and offering multi-million dollar investment in education initiatives.

After introducing one such bill earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York declared outside the Capitol, “We are standing here enlightened, empowered, and we are woke as hell. So you can try to continue with your anti-woke agenda, but the only people who ain’t woke is you.”

Since 2021, several states, including Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Mississippi, have enacted laws restricting specific aspects of lessons about race in classrooms. Conservatives have notably targeted critical race theory — taught only at the undergraduate and graduate levels. They have argued that the subject matter is divisive and inappropriate for young students. There is no evidence of the course’s existence in K-12 schools, and the head of the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teachers’ union in the United States, said as much.

But in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis continued his quest to end what he calls a “woke” culture that threatens to indoctrinate children. Last year, DeSantis – an expected presidential candidate in 2024 – signed the Stop W.O.K.E. Act into law, which prohibits specific courses, books and discussions about race in classrooms and workplaces. The acronym stands for “Wrongs to our Kids and Employees.” 

And more recently,

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