Rejection of AP African American History is Illogical, Political and Dangerous


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Ryan Dokson, Staff Writer

People who either do not learn or forget history are doomed to repeat it, but in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis does not seem to get that memo. 

His administration blocking College Board’s AP African American History course for a “lack of educational value” is completely baseless. The class is merely a discussion of the Black experience starting with the slave trade to the present day and yet DeSantis twists the course into something it is not. The governor’s attack on basic learning is dystopian, as it prevents students from learning history.

Not only does the governor’s action prevent Florida students from being taught true history, but it is also a political stunt. DeSantis knows what he is doing. He is likely going to be announcing his run for the 2024 presidential election in the next few months and believes this will improve his chances. This is a baseless attempt to fight a nonexistent culture war that he thinks will benefit him in the Republican primary.

DeSantis claims the course “pushes an agenda,” and indoctrinates students by including topics such as Black Lives Matter, slavery reparations and queer theory. This is false. These topics aren’t pushing any agenda on students, rather it sparks debate. Including these issues would enhance discussion among students to form their opinions on American history and how to solve America’s systemic racism. Preventing these issues from being discussed would not only violate the first amendment but would also be the opposite of what students are supposed to receive: an education.

The governor’s censorship of this course may trigger a snowball effect. Last year DeSantis signed a law titled the “Stop WOKE Act,” which restricts ways teachers can discuss the country’s history on race. This intrusion on schools could result in a whitewash of American history. For example, teachers may not be able to talk about the atrocities of the slave trade or the racial and economic disparities due to this country’s oppressive past. It even forces teachers to tell students there is no more discrimination.

The governor cannot prevent emotions from being felt by students over our racist past. For example, the “Stop WOKE Act” prevents instruction on race that would make students feel guilty about their race. It claims it prevents students from guilt, but it solves a problem that does not exist. Students are not going to be uncomfortable or feel guilty about their race if they are learning the history of the United States. Even if a student, unfortunately, does feel guilty, a law such as this cannot be enforced as feeling guilty is a human emotion.

This law intimidates teachers to not teach the entire history of this country. Learning history is difficult, but we have to teach all aspects of it in order to prevent it from happening again. Selecting certain parts to be stricken from the curriculum does not educate students. It actually does what the governor claims the law prevents: indoctrination. History should never be politicized or used as a tool to advance a political agenda.