It is not uncommon for black history to be sidelined in high school and college courses, but thanks to a decision by the College Board, that phenomenon now extends to AP African American Studies.
Recently, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has embarked upon a crusade against everything the far-right elements of the Republican party has come to consider “woke” and “perverted” — from Disney to school library books.
Last month, DeSantis’ administration banned the teaching of the College Board pilot African American Studies program in high schools. This was met with justified outcry from academics, students and civil rights leaders.
His effort to ban the AP African American Studies course, paired with the ban on teaching critical race theory, speaks to the end goal — prohibiting the teaching of anything that challenges the status quo and his position of privilege. And he shows no sign of stopping.
Despite the objections to the ban, College Board has responded with a disappointing level of submissiveness. The revised course curriculum — released on the first day of Black History Month — cuts out or minimizes topics including reparations, Black feminism, queer Black history and the Black Lives Matter movement.
These topics are not just critical for learning Black history, but foundational to building an understanding of our modern situation. Banning them under the guise of being politically divisive does not just miss the point, it is exemplary of the erasure that these topics address in the first place.
Americans like to think we are immune to fascism, but defense against it requires institutional barriers. Instead, we have College Board — the arbiters of what does and does not end up in AP courses — acquiescing to the right’s revisionist demands. If we continue to allow the right to dictate the education of the next generation based on its warped view of reality, we will very quickly arrive at book burnings.