Florida Board of Education doubles down on whitewashing black history

The Florida Board of Ed has taken an incredibly shameful and awful step in re-writing US History with their insistence on portraying black people as somehow beneficiaries of slavery, and deserving of the inhumanity. Teaching these blatant lies only serves to deepen a divide that hurts everyone.


The new standards come after the state passed new legislation under Gov. Ron DeSantis that bars instruction in schools that suggests anyone is privileged or oppressed based on their race or skin color. DeSantis has used his fight against "wokeness" to boost his national profile amid a national discussion of how racism and history should be taught in schools.

The new standards require instruction for middle school students to include "how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit," a document listing the standards and posted in the Florida Department of Education website said.

When high school students learn about events such as the 1920 Ocoee massacre, the new rules require that instruction include "acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans." The massacre is considered the deadliest Election Day violence in US history and, according to several histories of the incident, it started when Moses Norman, a prominent Black landowner in the Ocoee, Florida, community, attempted to cast his ballot and was turned away by White poll workers.

Similar standards are noted for lessons about other massacres, including the Atlanta race massacre, the Tulsa race massacre and the Rosewood race massacre.

The Ocoee Massacre occurred in 1920 when Klansmen murdered 50 black voters. African Americans did not perpetrate this; it was white people terrorizing black ones.

The idea that slaves developed skills for their benefit via slavery is pretty fucking rich.

The Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers union, called the new standards a disservice to students and "a big step backward for a state that has required teaching African American history since 1994."

"How can our students ever be equipped for the future if they don't have a full, honest picture of where we've come from? Florida's students deserve a world-class education that equips them to be successful adults who can help heal our nation's divisions rather than deepen them," Andrew Spar, the association's president, said in a statement. "Gov. DeSantis is pursuing a political agenda guaranteed to set good people against one another, and in the process he's cheating our kids. They deserve the full truth of American history, the good and the bad," Spar added.