Ron DeSantis and his Republican posse have been staunch detractors of anything that’s “woke,” or remotely Black. They’ve gone as far as rejecting a new AP African American History course that is in its pilot stage. It’s gotten so bad that a children’s book about the Pittsburgh Pirates star Roberto Clemente was banned from schools in Jacksonville because it briefly mentioned racism. There’s similar nonsense like this going on in states all over the country, but New Jersey is at least hoping to be the antithesis of this racist form of anti-intellectualism.
On Tuesday, Democratic Governor Phil Murphy announced that the piloted AP African American History course will see an expansion from one school to 26 schools in the Garden State. “New Jersey will proudly teach our kids that Black History is American History,” Gov. Murphy said in a statement. “While the DeSantis Administration stated that AP African American Studies ‘significantly lacks educational value’, New Jersey will stand on the side of teaching our full history.”
Of course, part of the reason DeSantis is fighting Black history being taught in schools is that he is a likely candidate to run for president in 2024 and this sort of grandstanding is catnip to the increasingly deranged right wing. What’s dangerous about DeSantis is that he’s a worse version of Donald Trump and is actually kind of smart. So, we see how all of that shakes out in a year.
Meanwhile, those AP African American History courses have been amended, and according to Politico, things like Black queer studies, advocacy for reparations, activism, and lessons on intersectionality, have been scrapped. Since some of the most brilliant voices in Black culture happened to be queer and activism is a large part of our story it’s a wonder what is going to be on the syllabus when the course is finalized in 2025. Who invented peanut butter?
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