Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently blocked an AP African Studies course from being taught in high schools. Naturally, he faced backlash. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump threatened a lawsuit if DeSantis refused to negotiate with the College Board to allow the class, introducing three young students as the plaintiffs. One of them, Elijah Edwards, forthrightly accused the Governor of “blatant racism.”
Florida State Rep. Michele Rayner said DeSantis is conducting a political “witch hunt,” violating students’ freedom to learn, and erasing history. Florida State Sen. Shevrin Jones thinks he is promoting Jim Crow 3.0.
Obviously, the argument is a strawman. We all know what was actually in the course. The syllabus contained Critical Race Theory tenets and a Queer Theory section. In the words of the Florida Governor, “Now who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory?”
As a result of the block, curriculum developers have altered the class and cut down on the elements that drew criticism. For example, topics like Black Lives Matter, queer life, and reparations won’t be part of the AP exam. Instead, there’ll be optional projects that school systems can have their students do on these subjects.
You might be thinking this is a solid victory in the war against Woke Education, and if you do, well, you’re right. But while I do think Gov. DeSantis is well intentioned, banning subjects sets a dangerous precedent for future leaders to do the same for topics we hold dear. Some schools have already prohibited classic novels like To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn because of their supposed racism or canceled the Founding Fathers.
Yes, Woke Education is indoctrinating children and propagating ridiculous, irrational, and anti-Western themes, but book banning is almost never good (except for sexualization of children). In fact, it usually emboldens the pushers of CRT and related ideologies. Neither is DeSantis’ idea to reportedly stop colleges from teaching Critical Race Theory too. It’s suppressing speech and free discussion or debate in a place where it should be happening.
Instead of implementing direct bans on subjects, DeSantis, other governors, and lawmakers should follow what I call the “Texas Method.”
The Texas Method doesn’t ban Woke Education from schools and universities. Rather, a bill filed by State Rep. Cody Harris proposes defunding schools who have Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs and teach subjects like Critical Race Theory. Part of the bill forbids universities from teaching that a person is inherently racist, sexist, or an oppressor based on said person’s race or sex. If they do, funding will be cut.
Additionally, Rep. Chip Roy is leading an effort to block federal funding to K-12 schools that “promote race-based theories.” The legislation would prevent typical leftist dogma suggesting that white people are born privileged and that the U.S. and its founding documents are fundamentally racist, from being taught. Like Rep. Harris’s bill, Roy’s legislation would disallow teaching students that their conscious and unconscious biases are inherent to their race or that members of racial groups are responsible for others’ actions.
When you reduce funding or completely defund schools with DEI programs and Woke Education, you deter these subjects from being taught without outright banning them. You can’t be called a book burner or accused of restricting speech. Instead, we should stick to our American values and allow for various perspectives and theories to be taught, but if they go against what our country stands for, funding gets cut.
Any rational, non-masochistic country would do the same. Could you imagine any reasonable nation, democratic or not, that actively funds with taxpayer dollars schools bash their own country’s history and existence? Imagine if Japan had a mandatory course in its public schools suggesting Japanese people were inherently evil.
Sounds a bit counterproductive, to say the least.
Moreover, why would any sane nation fund programs which sacrifice merit on the altar of racial equity? That’s essentially what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion does. How do we expect to compete with our adversaries if we don’t have the best people for important positions?
Both state and federal lawmakers, governors, and local politicians must start taking action. It’s time to enact state and federal legislation that defunds public K-12 schools and universities that teach Woke Education or have DEI departments. What we’re currently doing is shooting ourselves in the foot.
Instead of going against what America stands for by preventing antagonistic discourse, follow the Texas Method. Allow the Woke Machine to exist, but stop putting quarters in it.
Luis is a freelance journalist and former English teacher who currently resides in Texas. He can be reached in Twitter at @Louie_Ramirez97
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.