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OPINION: “Individual Freedom” Bill, better named the tyranny of the majority

Sen. Manny Diaz’s SB 148 is an attempt to censor organizations’ member diversity training on the grounds that white employees may be uncomfortable. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The Florida Senate advanced SB 148 on Jan. 18, a bill that would allow members to sue organizations that mandate trainings on discrimination that make them uncomfortable, also prohibiting instructors from recommending materials that “contradicts certain principles.”

SB 148, ironically dubbed “Individual Freedom,” should be laughed out of the Senate. Its blatant censorship of widely accepted concepts on the grounds of discomfort coming from the “anti-snowflake” party. 

Prohibiting the recommendation of any materials or training that represent a company’s values blatantly contradicts free speech.

Tolerance is a key skill when working in a collaborative workplace or scholastic environment. It’s a skill like any other. It’s commonplace for organizations to mandate trainings for skills like sales. 

Banning these trainings on the grounds of discomfort is laughable and mitigates the company’s ability to properly train its employees.

SB 148 also prohibits instructors from recommending any materials that cover such topics. Banning anyone from recommending any material is a blatant violation of free speech.

It’s clear that the arbiters of this bill are attempting to censor those who believe differently than them.

Proponents of SB 148 argue that such trainings attempt to convince organization members that white people are inherently racist, or are as individuals at fault for past social discrimination.

“No individual is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, solely by the virtue of his or her race or sex,” said Florida Sen. Manny Diaz regarding the bill.

The company tolerance trainings the bill references don’t place blame for any structural or societal issues. 

HRDQ’s diversity training titled “Diversity Works” is one of the most popular for large-scale employers and organizations. 

Per its website, the training includes three components, “Understanding Self – Describe what makes you the unique individual you are, Understanding Others – I recognize what makes others the unique individuals they are. Communication – Consider differences and act respectfully in the workplace.” 

This bill is blatant censorship and an attempt to silence ideas that the Republican Party disagrees with, and should be dropped. 

Companies have the right to educate employees on values they believe are integral to the workplace, and discomfort does not excuse ignorance.