There are some days when I grow weary. I tire of the constant strategizing, over analyzing, out-thinking and, negotiation associated with being Black in America. It is a daily dance of mental gymnastics, compartmentalized emotions, and drive. All with the hope and desire to, “uplift the race”. A race run in perpetuity, by a race of people who have fought, won, and lost the battle to simply exist in this country more than any other ethnic group in history.
One would think a people with such a storied and robust history should be studied. The College Board believed this and created an Advanced Placement African American history course to address the need. The course is still in its multiyear pilot phase, meaning it is not yet available in all schools that offer A.P., but is being slowly released to more schools each year. The course is multidisciplinary and addresses not just history but civil rights, politics, literature, the arts, even geography.
Imagine my surprise when I learned Florida passed a law that prevents Advanced Placement African American history to be offered in its high schools, stating that the course is not “historically accurate” and violates state law. In a letter last week, the Florida Department of Education informed the College Board, which administers A.P. exams, that it would not include the class in the state’s course directory. Rigorous A.P. courses allow high school students to obtain credit and advanced placement in college.
Why is this important? For two reasons—first, this is being pushed across the nation. So called “freedom from indoctrination” laws and (in Wisconsin) proposed constitutional amendments are being introduced as part of a Republican “stop woke” campaign. This movement is the same anti-CRT rhetoric used in the past few years. This is challenging because the premise of the movement only views explorations of ethnic minorities and gender inclusivity, as problematic.
This is absurd, because the Wisconsin legislature passed a curriculum mandate to study the Jewish holocaust just last session. The curriculum was not reviewed by any legislator or academic authority. There was no review as to the curriculum’s authenticity or accuracy. So, how is it that we can mandate the learning of an event that did not take place on US soil, using a curriculum that was not reviewed by any authority? Yet when the College Board, a nationally recognized academic institution creates an advanced curriculum on Black history, it is demonized and said to be against the law?
It makes no sense. So, therefore, I rest, to continue to fight the inherited fight of Blackness. Marching on, ‘til victory is won.