Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL-R) is a “full-blown white supremacist” for banning from Florida’s schools an African American studies AP course allegedly containing radical content, according to a Washington Post piece accusing him of “harassing Black voters,” “playing to White grievance,” and “engaging in extreme gerrymandering to reduce the voting power of minorities.”
The Monday opinion essay by Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, titled “In blocking an AP Black studies course, DeSantis tells us who he is,” begins by accusing DeSantis of a series of offenses. She wrote:
Florida’s Republican governor and presidential aspirant Ron DeSantis has made a name for himself by harassing Black voters, setting up a system to sue teachers for teaching race in ways that might offend Whites, singling out LGBTQ youth (while gagging teachers) and engaging in extreme gerrymandering to reduce the voting power of minorities.
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) January 24, 2023
But Rubin insisted the Republican governor’s most recent move had gone even further.
“Now he’s gone full-blown white supremacist, banning the College Board’s Advanced Placement for African American studies course from Florida’s schools,” she wrote.
The Post columnist was referring to the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) recently rejecting the AP African American Studies course due to its content on “Black Queer Studies” as well as cultural appropriation and reparations and the “global influence” of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
With the DeSantis administration long having emphasized it will not allow schools to “twist history,” the department deemed the content “inexplicably contrary to Florida law” and significantly lacking “educational value.”
In Florida, we require the truth about American history to be taught in our classrooms.
We will not allow schools to twist history to align with an ideological agenda. pic.twitter.com/IlRe6UpC6j
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 20, 2022
Calling it “among its most explicitly racist actions,” Rubin rejected any “basis” for the move deemed “incomprehensible” by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Claiming the University of Florida, like all other well-regarded universities, has an “esteemed” African American Studies program, Rubin then details the history of admissions of minorities within institutions in the South, while accusing Florida of not explaining “how the AP course supposedly contravened state law.” She wrote:
If it is referencing last year’s Stop WOKE Act, which blocks the teaching of material that could make students feel guilt or responsibility for historical racism, then one has to wonder whether something as simple and straightforward as the state’s own history of segregated education can be studied.
Rubin also claimed the actions of the DeSantis administration “put to lie the notion that the attack on ‘critical race theory’ is aimed at ‘socialist ideas’ or educationally suspect pedagogy.”
“This is about rewriting history to wipe out a critical part of our American experience, to deny the wrongs done to millions of Americans and to exempt institutions from the obligation to take a hard look at remedying past injustice,” she alleged.
Calling the “denial of Blacks’ own suffering” a “key aspect of white supremacy” historically, Rubin deemed it the “ultimate expression of contempt for certain Americans as unworthy and peripheral to the story of ‘real’ — read ‘White’ — America.”
“The goal here is unmistakable: eradication of African American historical experience,” she added.
After accusing DeSantis of “playing to White grievance,” she then suggested African American studies be included in “every K-12 curriculum for every student.”
The piece comes as Democrats continue to target DeSantis, a potential 2024 candidate for the Republican party.
Last year, Florida Agriculture Commissioner and Democrat candidate for governor Nikki Fried compared DeSantis to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Rubin has long attacked Republicans.
In June, she charged that the GOP “systematically undermines democracy,” as she called on media outlets to stop treating Republicans as “normal politicians” and recognize the Republican Party for the threat it poses to American democracy.
Previously, she accused the GOP of being obsessed with “toxic” and “grotesque” masculinity, as she likened Republicans to “little boys playing at war” ignoring “real-world consequences.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.