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Media Use Racist Shooting To Smear Ron DeSantis — And Chill Debate

Gov. DeSantis booed at Jacksonville prayer vigil for victims of mass shooting
Image CreditAP/First Coast News

Insinuating the governor is partially responsible for racial violence is vile. It’s also meant to shut you up.

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A day after a racist psychopath murdered three black customers at a Jacksonville Dollar General store this week, NBC News informs us that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ “policies toward the Black community” are coming “under fresh scrutiny.”

Matt Dixon “reports:”

Florida’s Black community and beyond have been vocally opposed to the DeSantis administration’s focus on wiping out higher education diversity programs, the teaching of institutional racism to public school students, scrutinizing African American history courses and drawing a redistricting map that erased northern Florida’s only Black-performing congressional seat, which included the city of Jacksonville.

What, you may wonder, does that string of completely unrelated left-wing grievances have to do with a shooting? Is the claim here that teaching kids 1619-style pseudohistory or funding “higher education diversity programs” would have changed the mind of a suicidal murderer? I mean, presumably, the shooter was in school when the old Florida AP history course was still being taught, when DEI ideologues still had their state-funded jobs, and when Florida’s only “Black-performing congressional seat” was still a thing.

Of course, even if the 21-year-old went on a shooting spree because he believed Florida’s new honors curriculum was just a clandestine call from DeSantis to engage in racial violence, it says nothing about the text itself. You can read the state’s history standards right here. There is nothing racist about them.

Of the 13-member committee of scholars who put together Florida’s course, five were African American. There are, as Charles Cooke at National Review has pointed out, 191 mentions of American slavery and racism. The great evil of American history is given plenty of attention.

This entire “controversy” was ginned up over a single sentence that contends some slaves “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” AP’s African American studies curriculum released by the College Board also says slaves learned “specialized trades” during slavery and later used “these skills to provide for themselves and others” once free. Because it is a statement of fact. And statements of fact aren’t racist merely because they grate against your trendy ideology.

Then again, all of this is ginned up.

Take the Associated Press — once the model of straightforward journalism, now a left-wing advocacy group. “Ron DeSantis scoffed when the NAACP issued a travel advisory this spring warning Black people to use ‘extreme care’ if traveling to Florida,” writes Steve Peoples. “Just three months later, DeSantis is leading his state through the aftermath of a racist attack that left three African Americans dead.”

Yes, scoffing at the partisans of the NAACP, which engaged in this political stunt for just such a moment, is the right thing to do. It is preposterous to argue that Florida is an outlier of any sort when it comes to violence or racism. Then again, the NAACP’s headquarters are in Baltimore, one of the nation’s most dangerous cities for African Americans. Maybe Florida should be the one issuing travel advisories.

Still, the conceit of the AP piece, as with so many others like it, is that Republicans contribute to violence by virtue of having political opinions. This is not, incidentally, a standard employed when a trans person massacres kids in a Christian school, a racist murders five white cops, or even when a racist kills 10 in the blue state of New York.

Peoples claims, for example, that Republicans have worked to appeal to the “GOP’s white conservative base” (you are just automatons defined by skin color these days) by “downplaying the existence of racism in America.”

This claim, really a lie, is based on a nonexistent requirement that every American treat the far left’s assertions about racism as objective truth. It’s tantamount to accusing anyone who disagrees with QAnon of “downplaying the existence of pedophilia in America.”

No, people disagree about the scope of a problem. Yet, according to the AP, if one diverges from the worldview of Black Lives Matter, they are in league with white supremacists.

Even criticism of “wokeness” — which, I think most conservatives view as a catchall for progressive cultural values — is, according to NBC, an attempt to undermine “people of color” and other “marginalized communities.” If you disparage wokeness, you are basically buying Klansmen AR-15s, which is very convenient.

Because it’s become so common for the left to insinuate (or blame) conservatives for inciting violence, we might forget how vile those accusations can be. But they’re not only contemptible for the obvious reasons. They are meant to shut you up. No one should let these nuts hinder their ability to engage in political disagreements, and no one should let cynical activists masquerading as journalists use those nuts to chill speech, either.

Which is, of course, the point of all this.


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