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DeSantis combusts when faced with wokeness personified

Florida’s governor couldn’t handle a Black man pressing him on the racist massacre in Jacksonville. And his tirade was quite revealing.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis combusted when confronted with wokeness personified at a news conference in Jacksonville on Thursday. 

DeSantis worked himself into a full-on tantrum when he was, yet again, called out over the repercussions of his hatemongering ways. In a tirade recorded on video, DeSantis shouts over a Black man who calmly stated his belief that DeSantis’ policies — such as lax gun laws — had helped fuel the recent racist killing of three Black people in Jacksonville.

DeSantis — who has diluted Black voter power, tried to dismantle diversity initiatives in academic and professional settings and sought to whitewash the history of slavery and other racist violence — faced similar accusations from Black Jacksonvillians at a vigil for the massacre victims.

The GOP presidential candidate didn’t react much then.

But that wasn’t the case when he was confronted with the accusations Thursday. I wonder why. Perhaps it was the sea of white faces there to laud him — rather than a bunch of disgruntled Black ones.

Whatever the reason, he seemed to have a boost of confidence. As NBC News described

The news conference, which was in Jacksonville, had been scheduled to highlight Florida’s protections against Covid-related mandates. But it took a pugilistic turn when DeSantis called on an attendee to ask a question.

Speaking calmly from the back of the room, the man told DeSantis that while he was a veteran and appreciated DeSantis’ military service, he felt DeSantis’ policies allowed “immature people” to access weapons that ultimately “caused the deaths of the people who were murdered a couple weeks ago.”

“You have allowed people to hunt people like me,” the man said before being escorted out.

Note that in challenging the governor this way, the questioner embodied wokeness — the term DeSantis and company have tried to demonize, but which essentially means: Black people’s understanding of the oppressive sociopolitical environment they are in as Black Americans. 

In essence, the Black Jacksonvillians who’ve confronted DeSantis have said, “We know the ways your bigoted acts as governor can bleed — sometimes literally — into our lives.” Making such a connection between politics and acts of racism is precisely what DeSantis and his administration have tried to thwart with their anti-critical race theory (or anti-“woke”) crusade.

And Thursday’s exchange places the governor’s approach to said wokeness in a nutshell. 

He evidently can’t debate wokeness on the merits, so he tries to drown it out with rhetoric instead.

So much for DeSantis’ self-proclaimed persona as an anti-woke “fighter.”

He looked more like a shadow boxer, refusing to engage in an actual debate head-to-head — and then trying to score points as the opponent was being removed from the room.