It is unfortunate that we as a nation are at this point in our history when what is wrong is right, and what is right is considered “woke” and leftist politics. How did we get here?
American politics, no matter how righteously inclined, has always been a murky, shady business especially where it pertains to minority groups. Would-be politicians seeking to hold ofﬁce always start off with the best of intentions. Many throw their hat into the circus under the guise of wanting to make the community in which they live a better, safer and more productive place. Soon these innocents are exposed to the raw underbelly of what politics is about. If they are intentional and uncorrupted at heart, a small number will continue to use their ofﬁce for the beneﬁt of the constituency they serve and were elected by.
Others seek political ofﬁce to further their ambitions of becoming a career politician, a wheeler and dealer with power and everything that goes along with it. Ambition soon takes a more maleﬁc turn where double-dealing and unprincipled politics pave the path of political longevity. There are yet others who pursue public service to amplify or solidify a political agenda with the sole purpose of enhancing the proverbial bottom line. That is what makes politics in general a deep murky and sometimes muddy career where the best intentions can sometimes become a footnote to the real sideshow.
In Florida, however, the circus is in its most sinister act, and Republican state ofﬁcials, with Gov. Ron DeSantis egging them on, are pushing legislation with detrimental agendas for the Floridians who most will be affected by them. Republican state Rep. Stan McClain introduced HB 1069 in the Education Quality Subcommittee last week that effectively “revises provisions relating to materials for speciﬁed instruction relating to reproductive health; provides additional requirements for instruction regarding human sexuality; provides district school boards are responsible for materials used in classroom libraries.”
What does this mean? HB 1069 would restrict the discussion of reproductive health as it relates to the menstrual cycle of young girls, and ban reading material about reproductive health in elementary school libraries. This bill passed in the House last week and now sits on Gov. DeSantis’ desk. If signed, the law would make it a crime for teachers to educate young girls on menstruation or provide classroom books not approved by parents that educate girls on reproductive wellness.
This bill is one of many circulating across the country of late that restrict the rights of women. Now with the introduction of HB 1069, the tethers around women’s reproductive health and wellness will begin at an early stage of development. Research has shown that young girls begin to menstruate at the average age of 12, with earliest onset of menstruation being at 8. Young Black girls, according to research, start their menstruation journey earlier than their White counterparts, at the age of 11. If the menstruation age for Black girls can begin between the ages of 8 and 11, why eliminate reproductive health education at the elementary school level? Would that not be the proper age to explore reproductive health and wellness? Why are Florida politicians, who mainly are White males, so quick to involve themselves in women’s reproductive health and wellness?
Parents theoretically should be their children’s ﬁrst teachers. The home should be, and is, the child’s ﬁrst classroom, and there are millions of parents who take the responsibility to heart. But as we learned during the coronavirus pandemic, there still are millions of parents who are not as equipped or engaged with their children to provide a substantial education. This is where the public school system is supposed to support parents where necessary. A young girl beginning her menstrual cycle can be a traumatic event if she has not been educated as to what to expect, and how to manage it. This type of education should not be limited to the home. It should be available and accessible in school.
Once again, Florida politicians are trying to subvert the reading material in our school libraries. Women’s reproductive health is not just a social and political hot topic. Women’s reproductive health is also a science. It is biology. Should now all science books that contain a picture of a uterus, and the complete menstruation cycle diagram of how the ovaries releases an egg once a month that travels through the fallopian tubes for fertilization, be regarded as soft pornography? Where do we as Floridians truly draw the line between our needs and where the agenda of politicians and lobbyists cross paths? Girls should be able to walk into school and speak to a teacher they trust about sensitive matters such as their menstrual cycle if necessary.
What happens if a young girl begins her cycle unaware in a school setting? Then a teacher will have the responsibility of assisting the child where appropriate in that instance. Will the teacher face criminal charges for doing so? Will that endanger the teacher’s career in education? The policing of a women’s body on any level, at any age, is a violation of the most indecent kind. Telling a female that certain aspects of her reproductive wellness is legislatively restricted, to prop up some agenda of acute authoritarianism, is nothing but the continuation of another chapter of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” It is unwarranted and an action of declared war on women. What politicians in Florida and across the country are attempting and accomplishing are actions that will dominate the most vulnerable of our society into some form of sick and perverted dominance. Black America must wake up and stay WOKE. Black Floridians cannot and should not remain silent about what is going on in Tallahassee because the noose is starting to tighten around all our necks.