Then they came for the sociology departments, but I was not a sociologist…

Respect. Sociology has been targeted for destruction by the raving mad conservatives of Florida. I guess it’s so dangerous that they fear it.

Last fall, with little explanation, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. proposed removing sociology from the menu of courses university students can take to meet graduation requirements. On Wednesday, he spoke more clearly, suggesting that sociology studies could veer into “identity politics or theories,” in violation of a new state law.

“Students should be focused on learning the truth about our country instead of being radicalized by woke ideology in our college classrooms,” Diaz said in comments to the State Board of Education.

Now sociology is woke and might steer students towards considering the broader implications of, for instance, racism and misogyny on, you know, society. Don’t worry, though, they’re going to provide an alternative.

The sociology option will be replaced with an introductory course about American history prior to 1877.

Let me guess: instead of teaching about the complexities of sociology, they’re going praise the Founding Fathers and how wonderful America is.

It requires that core courses “whenever applicable, provide instruction on the historical background and philosophical foundation of Western civilization and this nation’s historical documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments, and the Federalist Papers.”

Yep. You know, that isn’t even close to the content you’d find in a sociology course. Can you guess what the problem with sociology is?

“I think the statute is clear that, within the general education core code, courses may not distort significant historical events or include curriculum that teaches identity politics or theories,” Diaz said. “And I think when you go into the sociology course, you’re talking about theories, and that’s an option that students have to explore those theories in a nongeneral education course.”

It teaches theories. The people behind these prohibitions really don’t understand the meaning of “theory” in science! I teach theory in all of my classes — it’s how you learn and progress, by teaching the ideas behind a subject and discussing the evidence that led to those theories. To exclude a subject because it incorporates theory is absurd, and to suggest that it is inappropriate for a specific, more advanced course and should only be taught in a broader, more general course is exactly the opposite of what should be done. I think the idea is to put know-nothing ideologues in charge of interpreting the subject.

It’s all part of policies intended to neuter any political implications of…knowing stuff. Learning is dangerous. Especially if it’s DEI, that might expose the biases of the status quo, and might lead to educated adults working to change the flaws in the “perfect” country established by omniscient 18th century landowners.

In their rules, the State Board and the Board of Governors focus on diversity, equity and inclusion programs, often referred to as “DEI.” They define them as “any program, campus activity or policy” that classifies people by race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation and “promotes differential or preferential treatment” based on those classifications.

They define political and social activism as actions that would “affect or prevent change in government policy based on social issues.” And social issues are defined as issues that would “polarize or divide society along political, ideological, religious or moral beliefs.”

Sorry, guys. I want my students to be engaged with the important issues in society, such as correcting the howling ignorance of conservatives. More activist students, please.


  1. Rich Woods says

    It’s interesting to speculate on how Florida will look in future decades if all of Desantis and co’s policies continue to be carried out. Students will stop coming from out of state, young women will leave to safely raise families elsewhere, old people will die of preventable infections at ever greater rates, and everyone faces being randomly gunned down by the heavily-armed populace. Is he aiming for a near-empty state populated only by inbred Republicans hunting pythons in the swamps to prove their Manly Manliness to the remaining breeding-age females whom they woo in order to to keep them chained to the bedroom and the kitchen?

  2. kome says

    Very disturbing that creationist tactics are actually very effective, they just needed to use them in the context of teaching about racism, slavery, discrimination, and oppression first. I’m not looking forward to the eventual Kitzmiller analogue case.

  3. raven says

    “I think the statute is clear that, within the general education core code, courses may not distort significant historical events or include curriculum that teaches identity politics or theories,”…

    Does that mean that in Florida, they can’t teach about the US Civil War.

    The Civil War was all about identity politics after all.
    The Black people were defined in the Constitution as 3/5s of a white person for census purposes.
    The slaves were all Black.
    Black people had all sorts of discriminatory laws directed at them such as the fugitive slave law and free Black people couldn’t vote in most states most of the time.

    I realize that by writing the above, I have committed a crime in Florida.
    Fortunately I live 3,000 miles away and I’m sure the California National Guard is on my side.

  4. johnson catman says

    Rich Woods @1: Not to worry. The whole state will be underwater in a couple of generations anyway. And they think that not believing in climate change will make a difference in whether it actually happens.

  5. raven says

    Reading the above statements from the Florida government looks like pure Fascism.
    I’m sure DeSantis would consider being called a Fascist a compliment. He knows exactly what he is doing and who he is copying.

    It is even worse than that.

    “I think the statute is clear that, within the general education core code, courses may not distort significant historical events or include curriculum that teaches identity politics or theories,”

    The Florida Education Commission is becoming the Thought Police.
    This is straight out of Orwell’s 1984.

    They are attempting to control the thoughts of anyone under their control such as the Universities and the students who attend them.

    PS And is this what they mean by “cancel culture”.
    Canceling Sociology because they might teach truths that you would rather people not know or thing about.

  6. weylguy says

    Many years ago a common complaint of college students being forced to take math classes was “Why should I have to learn this? I’ll never use it!” Perhaps they never did use it in their working lives, but the idea was to teach them to think analytically for themselves, and not fall for blatant lies and ideological garbage.
    If sociology is a “gateway drug” to liberal politics or (gasp) “theories,” then why not eliminate all science and mathematics from college curricula as well? I would then have just one caveat: quantum physics and relativity are also theories, so please put down your calculators, computers, GPS devices and all manner of electronics. Better yet, let’s just eliminate all higher learning in the Red States and let them drift off into ideological oblivion.

  7. muttpupdad says

    The state will be underwater and people will still be saying “Nothing to worry about,nothing to see her”.

  8. raven says

    I haven’t been following the latest right wingnut crusade very closely.
    They seem to be going after DEI now.

    Whatever happened to going after Black Lives Matter or cancel culture?
    It seems like just weeks ago, Trans people were going to somehow totally wreck the USA by simply existing. Entire state governments were dedicating the power of the state to erasing Trans people.

    AFAICT, trying to destroy DEI is nothing but….Identity Politics!!!
    Those going after DEI seem to all be rich, white male Republican Fascists.

    Cui Bono? Who benefits from abolishing DEI?
    The people who are now on top of, controlling, and benefiting from our present society.
    Who, not a coincidence, are rich, white male Republican Fascists.

  9. Rich Woods says

    @johnson catman #4:

    Shit, I can’t believe I forgot the climate change denial! There are so many items on the Floridian Fascistic Foolishness playlist now that some of them are getting pushed off the bottom.

  10. wzrd1 says

    I was just informed last night that quantum mechanics is just a theory, so it should never be applied to the real world.
    So, I asked when we’re shutting radar off, since many radar units use quantum tunneling diodes for tuning. We’ll also have to disband our nuclear forces, since that’s all quantum mechanics and just walk away from the nuclear reactors and let them melt down.
    Of course, gravity is just a theory, perhaps they should just walk off of a tall building to disprove the theory. Nuclear decay is based upon theories, so brushing their teeth with cobalt-60 is fine and strongly encouraged.
    And social and socio is evil, so therefore socialism and hand wave, so needs to be outlawed and antisocial is our modern goal. Alas, they’ve temporarily abandoned threatening with gunz this week, I’m sure it’ll make a come back as they lose more and more arguments via their failures due to ignorance.

    Oh, I’ve also heard them claim that nukes don’t really exist. Apparently, we, Russia and China (as well as well, every other nuclear armed nation) all conspired to bill conventional explosives as nuclear weapons. Because airplanes can carry millions of tons of TNT…
    And germ theory is nonsense (anti-masker crowd, who make regular antivaxxers look smart).
    We’ve gone from the Age of Aquarius to the Age of Ignoramus.

  11. Nemo says

    If you’re wondering, “Why 1877?”

    The Compromise of 1877, also known as the Wormley Agreement or the Bargain of 1877, was an unwritten political deal in the United States to settle the intense dispute over the results of the 1876 presidential election, ending the filibuster of the certified results and the threat of political violence in exchange for an end to federal Reconstruction.

    No written evidence of such a deal exists and its precise details are a matter of historical debate, but most historians agree that the federal government adopted a policy of leniency towards the South to ensure federal authority and Hayes’s election.

  12. says

    Scientists use the word “theory” in a very specific way. The rest of the population does not. From my experience, even at the college level, most (i.e., non-science) folks use it as a synonym for “hunch” or “guess”. My first order of business in a science-for-non-science-majors course I taught was to make this clear. We all fall into the trap of reinforcing this notion by saying things like “conspiracy theories”. No. Don’t call them that. Call it a “false conspiracy” or even a “conspiracy hypothesis” (ick), but not a “conspiracy theory“.

    Oh, if they’re so concerned about teaching the history of the US prior to 1877, what are the odds that they’ll mention the Treaty of Tripoli (clearly stating that we are not a “christian nation”) or Jefferson’s bible (where he ripped out any mention of the supernatural)?

    As far as Florida is concerned, it will continue to exist as a place where people with some money will go to retire. Some conservatives like to brag that Florida has very low out-migration. They conclude that Florida must be a great state and people don’t want to leave. The reality is that people go there to die. Death does not count as “out-migration”. Florida is the (Republican) elephant graveyard of humans (Arizona not far behind). Once the boomers are gone and climate change takes its toll, Florida will not be looking good (although there will be some nice new beachfront property available that currently is several miles inland).

  13. raven says

    Latest headline and relevant:

    “U.S. appeals court blocks Texas law that could ban or restrict library books”. As unconstitutional.

    I always wonder how much of the GOP Fascist’s new laws are actually unconstitutional. Their attempt to eliminate Trans people clearly is. A violation of the 14th amendment Equal Protection under the Law provision among its other problems.

    U.S. appeals court blocks Texas law that could ban or restrict library books
    Phil Helsel Wed, January 17, 2024 at 9:47 PM PST·

    A federal appeals court on Wednesday blocked a Texas law that would require ratings from booksellers that deal with school libraries, agreeing with a lower court that found it unconstitutional.

    The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, said in a decision published Wednesday that the state could not violate the Constitution.

    “We agree with the State that it has an interest in protecting children from harmful library materials. But ‘neither [the State] nor the public has any interest in enforcing a regulation that violates federal law,’” the appeals court wrote.

    The decision bars the Texas Education Agency from enforcing the law.

  14. StevoR says

    @ ^ robro : If you can hear it then it isn’t working – but I know what you mean and they mostly seem to be using racist foghorns or fire alarms now anyhow.

  15. StevoR says

    “Students should be focused on learning the truth about our country instead of being radicalized by woke ideology in our college classrooms,” Diaz said in comments to the State Board of Education.

    But Diaz if they do learn the truth about the country then it will mean them being “woke” becuase wokeness (FWIW) does tell people the truth. Dunno about being “radicalised”by it but the ones wanting to teach ideology or maybe mythology is the more accurate word here is the regressive science, histpory and sociology denying side.

    Also are they confusing sociology with history? Seems so but also history is not on the regressives side in many more ways than just one.

  16. John Morales says


    Also are they confusing sociology with history?

    Evidently not, given “The sociology option will be replaced with an introductory course about American history prior to 1877.”

    (They are replacing the one with the other, which would make no sense if they thought they were the same thing)

  17. says

    I’ve caught a vibe of paranoia off of the social sciences and sociology. It goes with the paranoia about socialism since there is little ability to actually describe socialism. Maybe it’s as simple as manipulation with the word “social”.

  18. StevoR says

    @ ^ Brony, Social Justice Cenobite : You beat me to it regarding the Repugs and rechwingers confusing Sociology with Socialism. Guess you could say they’re all very anti-social people. Except when it comes to taking from the state for themselves. As well, it seems they don’t just like the poorly educated as Trump notoriously described them, they are the poorly educated and appears that they really, really want to keep themselves – and everyone else that they can – that way too.

  19. says

    Sociology is the study of how societies work. Retrumplitarians are knowingly and maliciously doing everything they can to undermine our civil society. So of course they’ll want to silence and discredit any scientists who might be inclined to talk about what Retrumplitarians are doing.

  20. wzrd1 says

    Just another cultural revolution, one starts by destroying institutions of higher learning, only teaching approved courses that are nonsensical, resulting in famine and rejoining the developing nations of the world. Followed by pogroms, followed by internal exile to large prison “reeducation camps”, followed by a general state of war with the entire planet.
    See the PRC and USSR for prime examples.
    Given the heavy influence of Russia with the GOP, comprehensible as to why. Next up, Lamarcian genetics again. Because it worked out so well for Soviet crop yields.