Right-wing media have been showering praise and positive coverage upon Florida’s decision to block College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies courses due to its supposed lack of “educational value.”
The decision made by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration to block these courses is part of his Stop Woke Act, which in part has banned educators and businesses from “subjecting any student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such individuals to believe specified concepts constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin.” The law in practice has held back books from elementary schools, restricted the material that educators are allowed to teach, and engaged in oppressive censorship tactics in the name of stopping the supposed teaching of critical race theory. (Critical race theory is typically taught at the graduate school level.)
In a January 12 letter from Florida’s Department of Education’s Office of Articulation to the College Board blocking AP African American Studies curriculum from being implemented in schools, the department wrote that the subject matter and curriculum in these classes are “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.” College Board has defended the courses as being part of a pilot program offered to 60 schools nationwide, which draws from “primary sources” in areas like geography, literature, and science over a focus on “theory.”
According to DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education, the teaching of Black Queer Studies and the writings of influential Black authors are also “points of concern” related to the blocked curriculum. The decision has been condemned by Black leaders in Florida. Ebonni Chrispin, the co-chair of Black Leadership Aids Crisis Coalition Florida, called the block “sad” and “racist” as the courses would enable students to understand the “full picture” of U.S. history.
Right-wing media, who have propagated hysteria and outrage over critical race theory in recent years, have given the decision to block the AP courses and DeSantis’ leadership over this matter ample praise. Some have even gone as far as to say that more states should model themselves after Florida, and to suggest that other Republican policymakers should block all programs containing so-called “anti-white racism” and “hateful ideology.” In supporting DeSantis’ decision, right-wing media are promoting teaching a whitewashed version of history that erases the experiences and lives of marginalized communities.
Here are examples of right-wing outlets and media figures celebrating the block of AP African American courses:
- On January 20, Fox News host Jesse Watters praised the administration for going after the course, saying it was “laced with CRT to the point there was no real history at all being taught. It was all left-wing propaganda.” Watters also claimed that the topics taught in the course would include the “elimination of prisons” and the “destruction of capitalism.”
- During the January 24 episode of Jesse Watters Primetime, Watters returned to the topic to complain that the course was teaching “radical, racist propaganda.”
- On Fox and Friends, co-host Ainsley Earhardt and Fox News contributor Leo Terrell celebrated DeSantis’ “brilliant” move to “take away the political power of these Democratic teachers unions” who are now “free” from the “indoctrination program.”
- On Fox Business’ Varney and Company, deputy opinion editor of Newsweek Batya Ungar-Sargon agreed with DeSantis’ block and argued that students need “to make up their own minds” about issues like defunding the police and affirmative action, while also cherrypicking statistics about support among Black Americans for reshaping police department budgets.
- Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo commended the block, saying that the AP course was a “history class is being used as a Trojan horse to push, again, ideology.” He also criticized the courses as being a “disservice to our kids and to African Americans.”
- During the January 24 episode of Outnumbered, Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway praised DeSantis for defending students against the “indoctrination about queer Marxist theory” from the courses and suggested that “every Republican governor should be doing this to protect children from some of the worst, racist, and hateful ideology coming through these courses.”
- On the January 24 edition of The Ingraham Angle, Fox News host Laura Ingraham applauded DeSantis for deciding to “put his people first and [make] decisions geared towards improving his state.” Guest and Project 21 Chairman Horace Cooper praised DeSantis for “providing a radical chemotherapy to end this poison,” while claiming that “teaching [students] instead that they should hate their country, they should resent people who don't either look like them or don't think like them is only going to cripple.”
- Fox host Mark Levin defended DeSantis on his radio show, claiming that “critical race theory is based on anti-white racism” and that DeSantis is “setting the mark for other states” with this block.
- In an article published on January 18, The Daily Wire framed the course as being “contrary to Florida Law” and claimed the block was motivated by “wokeness concerns.” The article also claimed that “the curriculum leans heavily into Marxism, socialism, and sympathy toward CRT tenets, such as a rejection of colorblindness.”
- On January 23, The Federalist published an article arguing that “every Republican lawmaker should block College Board’s critical race theory class” while purporting the false narrative that CRT “labels some racial groups victims and others oppressors based solely on skin color and ancestry.”
- National Review, which first broke the story, argued that the “AP teacher’s guide proves DeSantis right in African-American studies clash” because it “promotes a story of leftist political radicalism as a model for student activism.”
- On the January 24 stream of his show The Rubin Report on Rumble, host Dave Rubin endorsed DeSantis’ decision, claiming the governor “does not want politics and a dishonest assessment pushed on every kid going through our school system here.” Rubin also accused “awful” college professors of trying to turn students into “Antifa, you know, trans flag-waving lunatics.”