Image Source: Politico
It seems Florida politics go hand in hand with restricting education. In the past year, Floridians have seen a string of education policy measures that restrict education, reducing the narratives surrounding marginalized communities. These days, I feel like I am living in the Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix, battling the minister of education, Dolores Jane Umbridge.
Stop Woke Act
During the 2022 Florida Legislative session, the legislature passed HB 7: Individual Freedom. Governor Ron DeSantis branded this as the “Stop Woke Act.”
This law allows employees to sue their employers if they feel uncomfortable during bias or sexual harassment training. This idea of uncomfortableness has alarming implications for employment lawsuits. It is ridiculous and does not make Florida “business-friendly.”
The bill serves to restrict the first amendment heavily. I find this especially ironic because it will directly interfere with teachers’ teaching abilities. The Stop Woke Act creates rigid guidelines for the topics taught in a classroom setting, including African American history.
This bill codifies the narrative that it is hard to be a White man in 2023, with current diversity and inclusion efforts. This narrative is so out of touch with the nuances and long history of prejudice against marginalized communities within the United States.
AP African American Studies
In 2023, we see how Florida has banned the teaching of AP African American Studies as Desantis claims it pushes a woke agenda.
Most of history is taught from a very white-centered lens. On top of this, the state of Florida is preventing opportunity gaps in an academic setting.
Black history has already been reduced to an elective rather than a part of the core curriculum. How can we eliminate it on top of reducing it?
Like many people, I took far too many AP classes in high school. These classes were the first time my peers and I were exposed to complex topics. But Florida wants to reduce that.
As of February 1, the College Board has stripped down its AP African American Studies curriculum following Florida’s ban on the course. Elements that College Board eliminated include writers and scholars relating to critical race theory, queer study, and Black feminism. The topic of Black Lives Matter has also been pushed from the formal curriculum.
What is Critical Race Theory?
The definition of Critical Race Theory is a set of ideas holding that racial bias is inherent in many parts of western society, especially in its legal and social institutions, based on their having been primarily designed for and implemented by White people.
The queer study emphasizes issues relating to sexuality and sexual orientation. This promotes a more intersectional perspective.
While women have fewer rights afforded to them than men, Black women have even fewer rights afforded to them. Feminism that lacks intersectionality is not true feminism. The establishment of white supremacy and patriarchy are forces that work against Black women.
Black Lives Matter?
Black Lives Matter is a significant movement sparked after the killing of George Floyd. Floyd was sadly just one of the countless Black lives lost at the hands of racism. It is a part of the long history of the Black fight for freedom. The counter-movement of Blue Lives Matter shows a lot of the misconceptions surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.
Diversity & Inclusion Elimination in Florida
It takes an intentional disruption of the establishment to give minorities and marginalized communities a voice. Through continuous efforts, the DeSantis Administration clearly wants to eliminate all diversity and inclusion efforts in every facet within reach.
It is sad to see how the current state of politics is restricting Black history on such a large scale.
Undeniably, the afterlives of Black enslavement and Jim Crow linger in our current society and establishments. How is it possible to deny the history of economic, political, and social oppression of African Americans?
Why are we whitewashing history?
All the aspects of the curriculum eliminated are those which promote a sense of intentional intersectionality. Instead, Florida is choosing to whitewash history. Education is power. DeSantis claims that he is attempting to stop the indoctrination of woke culture. But what’s woke about education?