Ron DeSantis has become a target for every far-left radical interest group with a bone to pick with anyone who doesn’t agree with them. The Florida governor currently has a bullseye on his chest because, in accordance with Florida law, he rejected the College Board’s pilot Advanced Placement African American Studies course.
“Racism!” screamed the black activists. Well, not exactly. Florida has a law — a law that should be passed in all 50 states — that says the teaching of history has to be done in a non-ideological way. But the way the left is bleating about what DeSantis is doing, you’d think he’s forcing teachers to portray slavery as a positive good, the Confederates’ treason as a “noble cause,” and “separate but equal” as a fine idea.
No such teaching is contemplated. But White House Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre called the state’s decision “incomprehensible.” DeSantis wants to “block,” according to Jean-Pierre, “the study of Black Americans.”
Really? Well, no, but it makes an excellent sound bite, don’t you think?
The Florida legislature passed a law that tries to keep ideology out of the study of history, and black activists don’t much like their narrative on American history being challenged.
The state Department of Education contends that the class is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law.” A new education law championed by DeSantis requires lessons on race be taught in “an objective manner” and “not used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.” Some education advocates and teachers say the law is so broadly framed that it is having a chilling effect on the teaching of Black history.
But the AP African American Studies course would have a “chilling effect” on the objective teaching of history.
The College Board hasn’t released the pilot curriculum publicly, but, as conservative writer Stanley Kurtz and a publication called the Florida Standard have documented, it really goes off the rails when it addresses contemporary issues. The curriculum presents the Black Lives Matter and reparations movements favorably and recommends the writings of a clutch of writers on the left, from Robin D. G. Kelley to Michelle Alexander, without rejoinder.
Bias aside, with the state of American historical and civic knowledge in near collapse, who thinks high-school students need to be brushing up on “Black Queer Studies”? The curriculum explains that this topic “explores the concept of queer color critique, grounded in Black feminism and intersectionality, as a Black studies lens that shifts sexuality studies towards racial analysis.”
Yes, there are two sides to Black Lives Matter and their positive/negative impact on the debate over race in America. And there are two sides to the reparations movement as well.
So why advocate the teaching of only one side?
I might add that there are plenty of activists on the right who don’t favor the teaching of anything that reflects badly on America or its founding. There are ways to teach about America’s sins without condemning one race or presenting one point of view. You would think Advanced Placement students would be intelligent enough to handle learning about all sides of the race debate in America.
Florida state senator Shevrin Jones, a Democrat, said the rejection of the course amounts to a “whitewash” of American history. Jones maintains that “we’re back at square one, seeing that we once again have to defend ourselves to be legitimate in America.”
The old tactics of grossly exaggerating charges and deliberately misinterpreting the facts are becoming less and less effective. DeSantis is not going to budge on this decision because it clearly reflects both the letter and the spirit of the law.
And all his racialist opponents have are hyperbolic rhetoric and lies.