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DeSantis Defends Rejection of African-American Studies Course

As we wrote yesterday, educators tried to introduce a new, Advanced Placement African-American studies course in Florida, and were stopped cold by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who is using the state's school system as his personal battleground to fight the anti-woke wars.

We also noted that there had been a lot of backlash to the Governor's decision, enough that it caused him to defend himself at length in a press conference yesterday. He actually unleashed a lengthy diatribe about some of the elements of the course—intersectionality, queer theory, Black feminist authors, reparations, and Black Lives Matter—declaring that those things are irrelevant to the subject, and that they therefore represent indoctrination rather than education.

DeSantis is a smart guy, no doubt, and so it's never clear with this kind of saber-rattling if he's just bloviating in service of his political agenda, or if he really doesn't understand the subject. As a general rule, if you're looking for information on the current state of African-American studies, a middle-aged white guy is not the place to go. And if he really thinks that, say, queer theory is not a part of the discussion, well, James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, Lori Lightfoot, Angela Davis, Moms Mabley, Laverne Cox, Little Richard (Penniman) and Billy Preston, among others, might beg to differ. We might also point out that teaching a subject is not the same thing as endorsing it. For example, (Z) has taught the Civil War many times, and has never once had a student rush out and join the Confederate Army.

In any case, we run this item to make this point: It's beginning. And by "it," we mean the intense scrutiny that comes from being a would-be presidential candidate. Outside of Florida and politically centered outlets like this one, a lot of his anti-woke stunts have flown under the radar. But now, they are generally national news, and it's going to be a lot harder for DeSantis to pander to the base without alienating independents and sane Republicans that he would need in the 2024 general election. (Z)

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