Florida rejected a proposed Advanced Placement course on African American Studies, citing objections to various concepts such as reparations, the Black Lives Matter movement, and "queer theory." However, a review by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times reveals that the state's objections also extended to sanitizing aspects of slavery and African American history.
The course was criticized for addressing topics like the benefits European traders derived from enslaved people, which the state argued might promote an "oppressor vs. oppressed" narrative based solely on race. The review uncovered instances where state evaluators disputed the portrayal of slavery's impact and argued for including opposing viewpoints.
Those objections shed light on Florida's broader efforts to control how schools teach about racism and history, particularly under Governor Ron DeSantis, who has sought to counter perceived "wokeism" and "liberal indoctrination." Of course, this includes rejections of lessons on critical race theory and "The 1619 Project." The review also revealed evaluators' request for more conservative perspectives among scholars developing the course, raising concerns about intellectual balance.
Scholars noted that the state's attempts to challenge the curriculum's portrayal of history and racism could hinder a comprehensive understanding of African American experiences. The future of the AP African American Studies course in Florida remains uncertain, as its approval depends on addressing the state's concerns, while concerns continue about the potential suppression of critical aspects of African American history in education.
Link: Miami Herald