By Hudson Crozier
The controversy: Activists and the media have spent weeks accusing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of trying to “erase” black history in schools over his opposition to certain materials in an Advanced Placement (A.P.) African-American studies course.
The content he objected to: The course had lessons centering on black feminism, “black queer studies,” Black Lives Matter, and the movement to abolish prisons. It also focused on both 20th- and 21st-century intellectuals on the far left who have promoted ideas such as “intersectionality”—the Marxist concept of the combined oppression of different identities—and critical race theory. The DeSantis administration also argued that a lesson on reparations for slavery had “no critical perspective or balancing opinion.”
What happened: The Florida College Board, which has been loudly critical of DeSantis’s anti-woke agenda, removed these elements from the course while insisting that it wasn’t in response to the governor’s criticisms. The previous version of the course was part of an experimental pilot program in schools, and the board’s members said that the course would still capture the “full range of the black community” without the more radical content.
What it all comes down to: The state of Florida requires schools to teach black history, including “the development of slavery," "the enslavement experience," "abolition,” and the “contributions” of black Americans. But many on the left see narratives of irreversible systemic racism, the evils of traditional institutions, and leftist political solutions to those problems as so essential that to remove them is to erase black history itself. DeSantis disagrees and says the curriculum should present “just cut and dried history.”