Response to the Stripping Down of A.P. Curriculum for African American Studies
The concern I have for the state of curriculum across the country is real. But I can’t help to acknowledge the level of ignorance that is leading this fight in some conservative states. We are now living through state entities that impede on a student’s ability to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Virginia. And most recently, Black writers associated with critical race theory, Black feminism and the queer experience in Florida. The various hateful tactics that continue to circulate in this country is so obviously a repeat of history, I am maddened even mentioning it.
I do recognize that whoever is in an elected position tends to be a reflection of the voters they represent. In the case of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, staying and elevating in political positions likely means catering to a resourceful, racist few — which often supersedes any progress toward equity, inclusion and diversity. This also happens in “Democrat” cities and states. However, it is completely unclear how someone with likely no knowledge of schooling, education or pedagogy is the deciding factor over what children are learning.
Yet here we are in 2023 having these same battles. I consider Patrica Hill Collins’ notion that “Black feminists who see the simultaneity of oppression affecting Black women appear to be more sensitive to how these same oppressive systems affect Afro-American men, people of color, women, and the dominant group itself,” and I think about how when black women fight for racial equity, it is ultimately something that will benefit all people. What DeSantis so clearly wants to do is prevent the advancement of all people.
And somehow still operating on the false assumption that Critical Race Theory, a “graduate-level framework for understanding how policies and laws perpetuate systemic racism” is even being taught in grade school, which it absolutely is not. And I stress, an actual educator/practitioner would understand why this is so absurd. This mostly shows how the tactic of fear-induced misinformation is taking over our schooling system.
Ultimately, it is clear that people in power are driven by the racist roots that put them there, and we are seeing the efforts to keep that in motion becoming more and more blatant. Starting with what young people are learning in their classrooms, or better said, the knowledge that is being taken from them.
When reviewing de Sousa Santos’ epistemologies of the South, I consider how and when people will have the ability to decide for themselves the curriculum and learning that is best for them. Black Studies and Ethnic Studies has been proven to boost self-esteem which contributes to higher graduation rates. These antics contribute to making sure young people don’t experience a connection to themselves, their culture and their history, while learning. If we are not careful, we’ll be adding another example of book burning in our world’s history.