According to a document sent to The Daily Beast by the Florida Department of Education, the course AP African American History has been banned due to its emphasis on activism, intersectionality, and “ending the war on Black trans, queer, gender non-conforming, and intersex people.”
On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis turned down the College Board’s request to include the class in the state’s high schools. The move comes in the same week that a far-right Republican, whose firing a prosecutor for being “woke” violated free speech laws, requested information on trans students from all state universities.
By simply citing “Black Queer Studies” as a violation of state law, the administration of DeSantis made their anti-LGBTQ stance even clearer in their justification for banning the class.
In a statement to The Daily Beast, a DeSantis representative stated that the now-banned class “lacks educational value and historical accuracy.”
The document also criticizes intersectionality education, claiming that it is “foundational to” Critical Race Theory without describing how.
Topics advocating for reparations—a movement whose aim is to assist recipients in overcoming generations of human rights violations—are also criticized by the department.
Regarding one subject devoted to the Reparations Movement, the document states, “There is no critical perspective or balancing opinion in this lesson.”
The use of the phrase “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” by acclaimed author Bell Hooks is also cited as a problem in the discussion of Black Feminist Literary Thought.
In 2021, DeSantis enacted the STOP W.O.K.E. Act, which prohibited the teaching of Critical Race Theory despite the governor’s failure to demonstrate that it is taught in public schools in the state. DeSantis has not been shy about his anti-“woke” stance.
Although the department’s statement does not provide specific details of what the class teaches that is historically inaccurate, it states that it is “willing to reopen the discussion” if the College Board is able to provide a class that complies with state law and is historically accurate.
In a letter to the College Board, the department stated, “As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”
However, it appears that the department does not want people to believe that DeSantis is against Black history. After all, representatives of the department claim that he specifically advocates teaching some of it.
“HB 1213, which was passed and signed into law in 2020, is one example from his first term. Cassie Palelis, the press secretary for the Florida Department of Education, stated in a statement, “This is a bill that requires all Florida students to learn about the Ocoee Massacre.”