The Effects of the ‘Stop W.O.K.E’ Act with Jonathan Cox
You’ve probably heard about what Florida governor Ron DeSantis is up to. One of the most controversial things he’s done is sign the Individual Freedom Act, also known as the “Stop W.O.K.E Act,” short for Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees. The law, among many things, prohibits teaching certain concepts related to race. Although there’s currently an injunction against the law, its implementation had far-reaching consequences for students and professors alike. Jonathan Cox is an assistant sociology professor at the University of Central Florida. He faced a tough decision last fall. Cox, who is the only Black professor in his department, could either teach two courses that would explore colorblind racism, “Race and Social Media” and “Race and Ethnicity,” or cancel his classes. He had to choose the latter option of cancelling some of his courses because of DeSantis’ law banning the teaching of critical race theory. Cox joins WITHpod to discuss the circumstances that led him to change the courses he taught last semester, the importance of inclusive spaces that encourage constructive debate, the effect of anti-CRT laws on his students and more.