Listen: I’ve said time and time again that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Board of Education’s war on “wokeness” is really only about two things: Placating white people and lying to make America look good (which also placates white people). When DeSantis and the state of Florida rejected an Advanced Placement course covering African American Studies because it “significantly lacks educational value,” he actually did so because the curriculum included lessons on Black Lives Matter, the debate around reparations and, among other LGBTQ-related things, the fact that trans people exist. These were the subjects that were inappropriate for school students—real-life issues of the modern world that somehow “significantly lack educational value” for students who live in said modern world.
Do you know what isn’t inappropriate for students to learn, according to DeSantis and his board of rabid Black history scrubbers?
Enslaved people benefitted from slavery and Black victims of racist massacres also committed violence against white people.
As we previously reported, on Wednesday, the Florida Board of Education approved a new set of standards for how Black history should be taught in the state’s public schools. A document listing the new standards posted on the board’s website includes “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
Before I get into that picture-perfect display of white supremacist revisionism, let me just point out that DeSantis’ racist “Stop WOKE Act” was sold as an effort to ban any teachings that caused anyone to feel “discomfort” because of their race. I’ve said repeatedly that by “anyone,” DeSantis really only means white people. I’m sure DeSantis and other parishioners of the Church of White Grievances would disagree with me (or at least pretend to), but imagine the discomfort of Black students learning that their ancestors benefitted from living and dying as the physical property of white people, having their future generations of children born into life-long servitude, having their heritage stripped away from them, being torn away from their families and working day and night for white people to profit off of their free labor—all because they may have learned to use a hammer properly in the process.
Are DeSantis and his Klan-ish board of White Nationalism 101 professors under the impression that Black people couldn’t have “developed skills which, in some instances, applied to their personal benefit” while being free citizens? Do they think abducted Africans needed the crack of a whip on their backs in order to learn how to tend a cotton field or construct the buildings white people excluded them from? DeSantis wants to ban the very term “white privilege” into woke oblivion, but do y’all understand how white and privileged one would have to be in order to view the institution of slavery this way? (I mean, unless you’re Clarence Thomas, Jason Whitlock or Candace Owens. They probably viewed slavery as a lifetime unpaid internship too.)
But Florida’s new standards for making Black history palatable for white consumption doesn’t stop there. The standards also take a Trump-like “very fine people on both sides” approach to teaching about race massacres in which mobs of white people attacked and brutally murdered Black people for fighting for equality and/or for simply existing.
When high school students learn about events such as the 1920 Ocoee massacre, the new rules require that instruction include “acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans.” The massacre is considered the deadliest Election Day violence in US history and, according to several histories of the incident, it started when Moses Norman, a prominent Black landowner in the Ocoee, Florida, community, attempted to cast his ballot and was turned away by White poll workers.
Understand this: Ron DeSantis would never stand for any historical curricula that characterized white Americans fighting for their lives, family, homes and human rights as perpetuating violence. But when white Americans are the violent and murderous oppressors (*gestures widely toward all of American history and much of its present*), that story needs to be toned down lest white students and their parents feel even the mildest sense of racial “discomfort.”
Hell, even Florida’s statewide teachers union—you know, the people who are actually responsible for educating Florida students—called the new standards “a big step backward for a state that has required teaching African American history since 1994.”
“How can our students ever be equipped for the future if they don’t have a full, honest picture of where we’ve come from? Florida’s students deserve a world-class education that equips them to be successful adults who can help heal our nation’s divisions rather than deepen them,” Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, said in a statement. “Gov. DeSantis is pursuing a political agenda guaranteed to set good people against one another, and in the process, he’s cheating our kids. They deserve the full truth of American history, the good and the bad.”
Apparently, Paul Burns, the chancellor of K-12 public schools who defended the standards, agrees, but only because he appears to see the “good” in institutionalized slavery.
“Our standards are factual, objective standards that really teach the good, the bad and the ugly,” Burns said, according to the Florida Phoenix.
Yeah—there’s nothing objective about calling slavery, in any way, advantageous for enslaved people, or characterizing Black massacre victims as violent for defending themselves against white violence.
That’s not objective, it’s white-jective. There’s a difference.
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