Black Miami Leaders Apologize to Governor Ron DeSantis for Accusations of Racism
Black leaders in Miami publicly apologized to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after one of its members called him a racist.
At Wednesday’s Miami-Dade Black Affairs Advisory Board meeting, one member, Miami lawyer Stephen Hunter Johnson said, “Our governor is racist.” The statement drew no objection at the time. After the statement, the board members unanimously voted to draft a letter to DeSantis objecting to the governor’s position on the Advanced Placement course. However, that letter included no explicit accusation of racism.
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Now, however, the board seems to have somewhat changed its tune. Board Chair Pierre Rutledge issued a statement with nine on behalf of the board apologizing to DeSantis for the comment.
“We take it to heart when someone uses the term racist. Words matter. And so as chair, I must start by saying we want to pull that back. There’s nothing wrong with saying ‘we’re sorry.’ That’s not what we intended to say or be depicted by anyone. And that’s not the feeling of this board.”
The accusation came following DeSantis’s much-publicized opposition to the College Board’s AP African American Studies course due to political bias in its curriculum.
When accused of “whitewashing” history, DeSantis pointed to specifics, according to the New York Times.
“This course on Black history, what’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory. Now, who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda.”
“The College Board purged the names of many Black writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, the queer experience, and Black feminism. It ushered out some politically fraught topics, like Black Lives Matter, from the formal curriculum,” the Times reported
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Topics like Black Lives Matter and “reparations debates” in America are included as “illustrative” sample project topics instead of as a one-sided curriculum. The adjustments also add a segment on “Black Conservatism,” which was not included in the initial curriculum.
However, David Coleman, head of the College Board, maintained to the Times that DeSantis’s rejection of the original course had no impact on the adjustments.
“At the College Board, we can’t look to statements of political leaders,” he said. Instead, he claimed the changes were based on “the input of professors” and “longstanding AP principals.”
The course is designed to be taught over 28 weeks and includes broad topics such as early African kingdoms and city-states, the slave trade, the Civil Rights movement, and “Black Power and Black Pride.”
Despite the conciliation of the board, other black leaders in Florida are not so understanding. Some Leaders, in conjunction with Democrats, have resolved to defend the course, presumably in its original form, and will rally on February 16 at the state capitol in Tallahassee.
Reverend R.B. Holmes, the pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, equated DeSantis’s issues with the political course and its subsequent adjustments to viewing black history as “inferior” in his announcement of the rally.
“Black history matters. Black history is not inferior. And Black history does not lack educational value.”
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