DeSantis wants new limits on how race is discussed in Florida’s schools and workplaces
The measure would bar teaching in grades K-12 that could make individuals feel responsible for historic wrongs because of their race, color, sex or national origin.
Ginny Beagan, Wochit
During a segment on his 1993 album, “Race”, the late comedic legend Paul Mooney discussed historical events and contributions of African Americans.
The history lesson used humor to showcase contributions of African Americans in history, and the recognition of those achievements. Fast forward to 2022, and the fight to continue recognizing not only the contributions of African Americans but history in general is no laughing matter.
The latest legislative proposal is a measure that would prohibit public schools from making a person feel “discomfort” when teaching about discrimination associated with the nation’s history. Instead of looking at history and explaining history to educate some and uplift others, proponents seem to simply ignore it
You can’t talk history without telling a story, and a story is not good unless it is complete. The story of this nation is not just Sunday apple pie and Thursday cranberry sauce; but one born of suffering, struggle, and triumph. It is also a story that continues to be written as the fight for progress presses on.
Since formally being recognized nationally and designated “Black History Month” in 1976, the month of February has been a time where grade schools, professional organizations, and business pause and praise the persons that have provided vast achievements to this country and society as a whole.
The subtle and even not so subtle efforts of late to ignore, distort, and re-write history begs the question could black history, be history? That question would seem extreme, but not when legislation named and/or tailored after “Individual Freedom” or “Stop WOKE Act” are making their way through state houses across the nation on their way to being enacted if not already.
Supporters of the censoring legislation believe that teaching historical past atrocities is somehow analogous to teaching self-hatred.
Defenders of this type of legislation also claim that these bills are no different than the movement to remove confederate monuments on the basis they were offensive and out of touch. The contrast between the removing of confederate monuments and advocating the censoring of teaching the events those individuals were involved in couldn’t be anymore stark.
Removing and/or relocating a monument does not remove its existence or its overall historical significance. Furthermore, the removing of the monument does not preclude the subject of the monument or memorial from being taught in a classroom.
These new legislative measures serve no practical purpose, and no one has shown where there are any real psychological consequences of teaching the complete history, other than maybe not passing that history exam you neglected to study for.
As we head into another month of celebration and education, let us not forget commitment. Commitment of those who came before and those that will follow. Commitment that the full history lesson will be told, and hopefully as Paul Mooney stated this lesson won’t wear you out.
Brice L. Aikens, a native of Tallahassee, FL, is a Board-Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer, practicing criminal defense and personal injury. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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