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February: Time to Stand Up for Black History

By February 20, 2023No Comments

Happy Black History Month! February is a time for us to celebrate Black history, culture, and excellence, in addition to supporting Black communities and businesses. Furthermore, everyone should remember that supporting Black communities and our history should be a year-round activity, not be a month-long performative event. With the disgraceful Florida AP African American Studies debacle happening during Black History Month, we feel called to further discuss multiple facets of the situation.

  • The College Board made the wrong decision in bending the knee to the Florida Department of Education. The unclear statements and actions provide ambiguity, not transparency.
    • The College Board’s reaction to Florida’s rejection of the AP African American Studies class was extremely strange and opaque. The board expressed regret for not responding quickly enough and called out Florida’s Department of Education for slander. Meanwhile, the board changed the curriculum to be in line with what Florida and Gov. DeSantis requested – claiming these revisions were planned before Florida rejected it. It seems like an awfully strange coincidence that the College Board was planning to make these revisions beforehand, and we have a tough time buying that. Even if they were planning these revisions, why? The board essentially said they voluntarily whitewashed this history class! Either voluntarily or under pressure by Florida, changing the curriculum was the wrong decision.
  • Companies that are celebrating Black History Month, while contributing monetarily to Gov. DeSantis, are clearly hypocritical.
    • As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, Black History Month is a time for genuine celebration and recognition, not performativity. We know, however, some companies will promote Black History Month all while still supporting elected officials or initiatives not in line with our community. Take this situation, for example, where companies like Coca-Cola, Walmart, DoorDash, AT&T, etc. all have donated to Gov. DeSantis while promoting Black History Month. Quite hypocritical and performative of these corporations if you ask us.
  • Thank you to Gov. Phil Murphy for setting an example of inclusivity.
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy did the right thing – expanding the AP African American Studies class to be taught at more New Jersey schools. Murphy is correct our schools should “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even when it hurts.” Our kids gain nothing by learning an incomplete or inaccurate version of history.

Now, other states – Arkansas, North Dakota, Mississippi, and Virginia – are reviewing the AP African American Studies class. All of this is part of the larger attack on Critical Race Theory in grade schools – a fake problem that doesn’t actually exist. We’re thankful to the activists and elected officials, like Gov. Murphy, who are committed to teaching a full and accurate account of history, including Black history.