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21 May, 2023 21:53

Black advocacy group warns against travel to US state

The NAACP claims Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ anti-woke rhetoric constitutes “open hostility” toward black people
Black advocacy group warns against travel to US state

The NAACP, the black advocacy group founded as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, issued a travel advisory concerning the state of Florida on Saturday, citing what it described as Governor Ron DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs in Florida schools.” 

“Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” the advisory reads. “Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.”

Accusing the state of having “criminalized protests, restricted the ability of educators to teach African-American history, and engaged in a blatant war against diversity and inclusion,” the NAACP denounced what it framed as a “seeming quest to silence African American voices,” claiming DeSantis had made it clear that “African Americans are not welcome in the State of Florida.”

In addition to facing the “open hostility” previously mentioned, the travel advisory warns those who do venture into Florida that their children will be deprived of “accurate African-American history, which includes a history of enslavement, segregation, racial injustice and systemic racism.” 

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson accused DeSantis of turning against the US’ democratic ideals by removing an Advanced Placement African American Studies course from the public school curriculum and urged black Americans and their “allies” to “stand up and fight” against the governor’s policies in a press release accompanying the advisory.

DeSantis has argued that the AP class in question was full of factual inaccuracies, amounting to “indoctrination” rather than education. He encouraged the College Board, the company behind the AP system, to submit a revised curriculum with “lawful, historically accurate content.” 

Florida’s Stop WOKE Act, passed last year, forbids schools from teaching that anyone is inherently racist or responsible for historical atrocities because of their skin color, and DeSantis has urged the state Board of Education to prohibit the teaching of Critical Race Theory. The governor has countered accusations of racism by pointing out that Florida law already requires the teaching of “all American history, including slavery, civil rights, [and] segregation.” 

The NAACP listed the Stop WOKE Act alongside the Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act and Constitutional Carry Act as “controversial anti-civil rights measures” inflicted upon the black community by DeSantis’ government.

As of the 2020 census, Florida was 12.4% black, 18.7% Hispanic, and 61.6% white.