by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
These days headlines read like parodies, which is certainly the case with the NAACP’s recent announcement that it has issued “a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida.” That’s right: The NAACP isn’t particularly worried about black people visiting North Korea, Iran, or inner-city neighborhoods in Chicago. It’s worried about them heading to Florida’s beaches or amusement parks. Why? Because Governor Ron DeSantis has led “unrelenting attacks on fundamental freedoms” such as the freedom to teach critical race theory and other divisive racial and transgender propaganda, in the state’s public schools at taxpayer expense.
In truth, Florida has led the nation in ensuring Americans’ freedoms, and black Americans have taken notice. During COVID, while 40 states issued mask mandates, DeSantis led the resistance against the public-health cabal and ensured Floridians could live their lives as freedom-loving citizens, rather than as masked subjects. As a result of this and other sensible and freedom-promoting policies, black Americans have not only traveled to Florida but have moved there in large numbers.
Indeed, based on statistics from the Florida Department of Health, the number of black people who live in Florida rose 5.5 percent from 2018 (the year DeSantis was first elected as governor) to 2021 (the most recent figures available). That’s even more than the 4.5 percent increase in the state’s white population over that span. And it’s more than three times the 1.6 percent increase in the overall U.S. population across that three-year period.
Since DeSantis was elected, roughly a quarter of a million black Americans have freely chosen to move to the Sunshine State. The disconnect between the views of most black Americans and the views of the modern-day NAACP could hardly be more pronounced.