As Florida grapples with the obsession held by GOP Governor Ron DeSantis for what is objectively censorship in schools and workplaces, a Democratic state Senator there has put out a press release accusing the potentially future presidential contender of contravening portions of state law that mandate that Black history be taught.
Among what has most recently come under contention is the decision by state authorities to block an Advanced Placement (AP) course from high schools in Florida that deals with historical and current examples of elements of Black Americans’ experiences. Predictably, details provided by DeSantis’s team about the rejection point to critical race theory, which suggests racism is built into the way portions of society are structured, and anti-capitalist thought. Is the idea that Florida high school students are so unable to decide on important issues for themselves that they shouldn’t even be presented with the opportunity? The DeSantis team was also opposed to the inclusion of content on reparations and “Black Queer Studies.”
“This ban is not only discriminatory, but flies in the face of long-standing Florida law,” Bobby Powell, Jr., the Democratic state Senator, said. “Almost 30 years ago, Florida lawmakers passed a law that requires public school students to be taught the history of African Americans, including slavery, abolition, and the contributions of Blacks to society. Banning this advanced placement course that incorporates these very issues not only whitewashes history, but tramples a lauded state law that guided our state into the 21st century. It puts our governor’s racial bias on full display.”
This situation is far from the only occasion that DeSantis has faced similar criticism. He also signed a measure, which quickly became the subject of court challenges, sharply restricting the teaching of basic concepts like white privilege and affirmative action in both schools and workplaces. He also remains under scrutiny for his infamous initiative sharply restricting classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity — both of which can easily be discussed without any explicitly anatomical references. The measure obviously seemed slated to specifically target those outside the state’s accepted standards rather than just any teacher mentioning their husband or wife.
Elsewhere, DeSantis was also responsible for a Congressional redistricting plan that substantially split up the northern Florida district led until earlier this month by Democrat Al Lawson, who is Black. One of the arguments from the governor’s team was that prioritizing Black representation in a district was discriminatory towards other groups — ignoring the reality that affirmative action is objectively needed to bring certain communities to the levels of opportunity that were long available to others. DeSantis was also recently found in violation of the First Amendment by a federal judge for booting elected prosecutor Andrew Warren from his post in connection to statements he made on a variety of issues.
Florida's governor's ban on the Advanced Placement African American Studies course "not only whitewashes history, but tramples a lauded state law that guided our state into the 21st century. It puts our governor’s racial bias on full display.” pic.twitter.com/HUBq54qfpr
— Senator Bobby Powell, Jr. (@BobbyPowellJr) January 21, 2023