“Who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory?” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis asked Monday, while explaining the reasons that the state’s Department of Education rejected a proposed African American Studies Advanced Placement (AP) course for schools.
“The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) does not approve the inclusion of the Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies course in the Florida Course Code Directory and Instructional Personnel Assignments,” FDOE’s Department of Articulation informed the College Board Florida Partnership in a letter dated January 12, 2023.
“We want education, not indoctrination. If you fall on the side of indoctrination, we’re going to decline. If it’s education, then we will do,” Gov. DeSantis said at Monday’s press event, noting that state law already requires the teaching of Black history in schools. “This was a separate course on top of that for advanced placement credit,” DeSantis said.
The proposed AP course even goes so far as to teach students that “queer theory” is an important part of Black history, Gov. DeSantis said:
“This course, on Black history, what’s one of the lessons about?
“Now, who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids.”
“And so, when you look to see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons – that’s a political agenda. And so, that’s the wrong side of the line for Florida’s standards.
“We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think, but we don’t believe they should have an agenda imposed on them.”
“When you try to use Black history to try to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes,” DeSantis said.
Indeed, as a FDOE document describing reasons for rejecting the course notes, one of the course’s included readings advocates “building forms of queerness that reject the given realities of the government and the market”:
“Black Queer Studies (Topic 4.19): Included Reading: Roderick Ferguson - who exclaims, ‘We have to encourage and develop practices whereby queerness isn’t a surrender to the status quos of race, class, gender and sexuality. It means building forms of queerness that reject the given realities of the government and the market.’”