For decades, Democrat and Republican politicians have forced Americans to fund schools, nonprofits, and bureaucracies that undermine our personal well-being and country. Breaking this wicked pattern of political sloth, Gov. Ron DeSantis resisted when College Board applied for Florida public schools to teach its anti-American African-American studies class.
Due to DeSantis’ courageous and principled stand, College Board backed down. The massive curriculum and testing organization last week released a revised version of the grievance studies class’s scope and sequence, which it had formerly kept secret from the very taxpayers funding it. College Board removed most of the overtly Marxist and violence-baiting study materials and added a token “black conservatism” option to its long list of voluntary essay topics.
The course still shamefully lacks any note of, for example, Clarence Thomas, one of the best legal thinkers in world history of any ancestry. It is also still clearly tilted politically left, including by omitting serious study of the deep and wide African-American tradition of Christian worship. Scholar Stanley Kurtz summarizes the changes at National Review:
Nearly every now-omitted topic was filled with socialism, CRT, or some other radical perspective. Originally, an entire topic was devoted to Frantz Fanon’s glorification of violence — and its influence on black radicals in America. That topic is now gone. Another topic one-sidedly excoriated American foreign policy in Haiti. Gone. The unit on black queer studies has also been deleted. DeSantis won that showdown with Governor Pritzker. A topic on ‘Afrocentricity,’ the scholarly legitimacy of which is very much in dispute, is gone. Also gone is a CRT-based unit calling colorblindness racist (in direct violation of Florida law). Units plugging reparations, prison abolition, intersectionality, the socialist platform of the Movement for Black Lives, and the revolutionary meditations of Marxist radical Robin D. G. Kelley, are likewise gone.
It’s a clear political win for DeSantis. His choice to fight advanced his voters’ interests. Indeed, he also advanced national interests, as funding its enemies obviously endangers any nation. (That is axiomatic, but connections that basic apparently need to be made nowadays.) As usual, every single Republican needs to learn from DeSantis’ example that going to political war for your voters is a winning strategy.
Still, it is not in Americans’ interest that, even in a more moderated form, this kind of class be taught anywhere — not in high school, not in colleges. Because it’s fashionable to attack what a conservative did not say, let’s be clear: African-American history is American history and should of course be taught richly, fully, and accurately to every American.
But African-American studies classes are not the same as African-American history classes. They’re about identity politics grievance-mongering, which is really about pushing cultural Marxism, the division of Americans into bitterly divided grievance groups that pave the way for undoing Americans’ constitutional individual rights. This is the antithesis of the American creed and of American happiness. That distinction is at the core of this dispute.
Of course, lazy pundits wish to avoid this distinction and call their opponents enraging false names such as “racist” rather than engage with their actual, anti-racist ideas. One of these ideas is that what’s racist — as well as anti-American — is to demonize entire groups of people, such as the American founders, rather than treat every person respectfully, as an individual. In rejecting this class, DeSantis bravely withstood an evil barrage of false accusations of racism, another model his party of Lincoln should follow.
African-American studies is to African-American history as “diversity, equity, and inclusion” is to genuine human equality. That is to say, it presents itself as the opposite of what it really is. It preaches “history” while really providing agitation. This inherent deception — a core Marxist tactic — is yet another reason to reject its peddlers. They don’t operate in good faith, and they shouldn’t be treated as if they do.
African-American studies gurus don’t really want to teach African-American history. But they want you to think they do, while they really do something evil. The whole thing is a con.
Increasing group hatred is the true goal and majority outcome of all identity politics classes, which are typically labeled some kind of “studies.” These departments in universities have for decades worked to pit Americans against each other, and in so doing divide the United States so it can be more easily ruled by centralized diktat instead of self-government.
These departments are not true academic departments; they are political entities whose goal is destroying Americans’ ancient rights and liberties. The National Association of Scholars’ Peter Wood and David Randall, both highly qualified humanities PhDs, document this in an excellent scholarly essay:
African American Studies is not (as the name suggests to the casual reader) an interdisciplinary study of African American history and culture. It is, rather, a pseudo-discipline devoted to myth building and political activism. The trouble is not that [College Board’s proposed African-American studies class] APAAS fails in its attempt ‘to be the equivalent of an introductory college or university course in African American Studies and related courses, including Africana Studies, African Diaspora Studies, and Black Studies’ (p. 5), but that it succeeds.
African American Studies is not an intellectual discipline. It is a political project to forward a radical conception of ‘Black Liberation,’ based upon the presumptions of identity-group politics.
Their essay documents that African-American studies sees itself as an openly “activist” and “revolutionary” enterprise. Its end result is Black Lives Matter riots, racial hostility, systemic racism against people of lighter skin hues, and government control of everyone’s labor.
All this was reflected in the initial, more honest College Board class outlines it kept secret from parents and taxpayers. As Kurtz notes, “the revised course is still biased, with some substantial strands of radicalism left intact.”
College Board wishes to trickle these activist departments’ divisive Marxism down from higher education into high school. That’s what its Advanced Placement dual-credit program is designed to do. Woods and Randall note, “College Board presumably will use the [African-American studies] APAAS precedent to create further courses in ‘studies’ disciplines such as Asian American Studies, Disability Studies, Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, Native American Studies, and Women’s Studies.”
No U.S. taxpayer-funded schools at any level should be teaching any “studies” class. This nation needs a lot less Marxism, not its expansion into ever younger Americans’ minds. Again leading the way on this, DeSantis has proposed that Florida’s legislature erase “diversity, equity, inclusion” efforts from state universities, including identity studies. Not just Florida, but every state should ban, defund, and punish every aspect of this institutional racism.
Kurtz, Wood, and Randall have many other good ideas for policy entrepreneurship here, including from the latter that “Policymakers should remove all activism courses from the dual credit and dual enrollment systems.” Kurz recommends states beef up American history requirements through purveyors such as American Achievement Testing. Much more work needs to be done in every avenue imaginable: children and teen’s history books, teacher credentialing (a huge one), grant programs, student funding, legitimate historical scholarship, establishing new schools, and more.
Reversing cultural Marxists’ “long march through the institutions” will require many patriots to fight long and hard. Any people in leadership positions who don’t want to lead effective culture war sorties should step aside for those willing to prudentially wield the powers voters bestow.
Most of America’s education institutions are run by its enemies. This is an existential threat and must be treated like one.