by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
On the College Board’s surrender to Ron DeSantis, Brittany Bernstein writes:
“The College Board on Wednesday announced changes to the framework of its Advanced Placement African-American studies course after receiving pushback from Florida governor Ron DeSantis and other conservatives.
“Florida rejected the pilot AP course, with critics arguing that a part of the course focused on contemporary political and culture controversies centered on hard-left voices and left out conventional liberal and conservative perspectives.
“DeSantis told reporters last month that the course advocates for radical political positions and attempts to indoctrinate students. He specifically took issue with one section of the course focused on ‘Black Queer Studies.’ . . . The updated syllabus removes several authors whom Florida officials identified as problematic, including those associated with critical race theory, the “queer experience,” and black feminism. It also removed required teachings on Black Lives Matter and the case for reparations from the curriculum, though both subjects are present on a list of options for a required research project. The new framework adds ‘black conservatism’ as an idea for a research project. The list of suggested topics ‘can be refined by local states and districts.’”
Subtract “Black Queer Studies,” add “black conservatism.” Talk about an upgrade. There’s a long, rich black conservative intellectual tradition, stretching from Frederick Douglass to Booker T. Washington to Thomas Sowell. (Even more recently, see Glenn Loury’s excellent “The Case for Black Patriotism” speech at the 2021 National Conservatism Conference). So long as we’re going to be offering “African-American Studies” as a distinct curriculum, it should be a comprehensive account of black history and political thought; the cherry-picked option on offer from the original AP framework served contemporary sectarian ideological ends, but it would have deprived students of the whole story.