Commentary: The First Amendment “Upside Down” in Florida’s Stop WOKE Act

Hank Reichman
Academe Blog

Excerpt: Seven professors and a college student in Florida’s public higher education institutions filed suit yesterday to block a new state law that Governor Ron DeSantis calls the “Stop WOKE Act” and which curtails instruction about race and gender as well as much race-based expression in private business.  The Florida and national branches of the American Civil Liberties Union are backing the lawsuit, which claims the act, also known as the Individual Freedom Act (IFA), violates free speech rights and discriminates against Black students and instructors.

The law, which took effect July 1, prohibits teaching or business practices that allegedly contend members of one ethnic group are inherently racist and should feel guilt for past actions committed by others.  It also bars the notion that a person’s status as privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by their race or gender, or that discrimination is acceptable to achieve diversity.