MSNBC anchor Joy Reid said Monday that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration barred a class with components of critical race theory (CRT) to “appease” people that look like the governor.
The Florida Department of Education (DOE) rejected a high school level African American Studies course for violating a state law banning CRT from the state’s education curriculum. The state enforces the Stop W.O.K.E Act, which prohibits teaching concepts on race that portray one race or national origin as being superior to another or that one race or group of people is inherently racist.
“Rejecting an advanced placement course in African American studies, claiming it was ‘contrary to Florida law’ and if you can believe it, ‘significantly lacking educational value.’ We see and hear you, Ron,” Reid said. “The law he refers to seems to be the Stop W.O.K.E Act which basically gives DeSantis the power to downplay the actual racial history of our country to appease those who look more like, well, Ron DeSantis.”
The MSNBC anchor called this ban on the course an “assault on the education system” and claimed it is “instilling fear” when it comes to teaching the history of the U.S. She played an advertisement by the advocacy group “Equality Florida,” which aired footage of students in a classroom watching civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. (RELATED: Joy Reid Says Elon Musk ‘Misses The Old South Africa In The ’80’s)
The course contained units about queer studies, intersectionality and feminism, and a reading by Eduardo Bonilla Silva that describes how “Whites talk, think, and account for the existence of racial inequality.” The unit known as, “African American Studies: Movements and Methods,” included a lesson on “Black Queer Studies” that teaches “the concept of the queer of color critique, grounded in Black feminism and intersectionality, as a Black studies lens that shifts sexuality studies toward racial analysis,” according to a syllabus obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
DeSantis signed the “Individual Freedom” measure into law which banned CRT in Florida’s state curriculum in April 2022. The law bars educators from teaching contents related to race and to cause certain groups of students to feel guilt about their race due to historical events.
Reid has spewed similar attacks on the Florida governor for his state’s prohibition of the course. She claimed Thursday that it was “up for debate” whether DeSantis viewed Fascist Italy as “the bad guy” in World War II due to his Italian heritage and for allowing a European history to be taught in high schools.
“Just take a look at which AP courses are deemed educationally valuable in the state of Florida, per the book banning wannabe president. European history, of course. Along with courses on the history and language of Italy, where DeSantis’ family hails from, Germany, and Japan, which happened to be the Axis countries the U.S. fought in World War II,” she said. “Whether Ron would consider fascist Italy to have been a bad guy in that war, that’s up for debate.”
Though he banned CRT, DeSantis passed legislation that requires students to learn about the Ocoee Massacre. The event is the “largest incident of voting-day violence in United States history,” which resulted in the murder of an unknown number of African Americans in riots that erupted after Mose Norman, an African American man, attempted to vote when barred from the polls.
Florida law requires students to learn “the history of African Americans,” including the slave trade, the abolition movement and “the history and contributions” of African Americans throughout U.S. history.