Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is engaging in the relatively new conservative practice of pretending to know the first damn thing about critical race theory. On Wednesday, the governor of voter suppression and making pandemics worse unveiled his proposal for a civics education curriculum for Florida schools, which he said will “expressly exclude” critical race theory.
Before I get too deep into this, here’s what white people need to understand: CRT isn’t some new progressive fad that’s suddenly started trending on social media. It’s not new just because white conservatives are just now discovering it. It’s a concept that has been around since 1989 officially, and one that has been developed through ideas and research that date back to the 1960s and ’70s.
White fragility clearly prevents Republicans like DeSantis and former President Donald Trump from looking into the decades of research that has gone into the teachings of CRT, so here’s a little info on it as reported by Time magazine:
Kimberlé Crenshaw, one of the founding scholars of CRT and the executive director and co-founder of the African American Policy Forum, says that critical race theory “is a practice—a way of seeing how the fiction of race has been transformed into concrete racial inequities.”
“It’s an approach to grappling with a history of white supremacy that rejects the belief that what’s in the past is in the past, and that the laws and systems that grow from that past are detached from it,” Crenshaw told TIME in an email.
While critical race theory was initially conceived as a framework specifically for understanding the relationship between race and American law, it’s also provided a way to consider how other marginalized identities—such as gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, class, and disability—are overlooked.
“What critical race theory has done is lift up the racial gaze of America,” says John Powell, the director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at the UC Berkeley. “It doesn’t stay within law, it basically says ‘look critically at any text or perspective and try to understand different perspectives that are sometimes drowned out.’”
Now back to DeSantis and his whiny-ass love letter speech to whiteness that should be entitled, America Always Good, Talking About the Negro Problems Always Bad.
“A high-quality education begins with a high-quality curriculum, which is why we’re going to be laser-focused on developing the best possible civics instruction standards,” DeSantis said during the press conference. “Florida civics curriculum will incorporate foundational concepts with the best materials, and it will expressly exclude unsanctioned narratives like critical race theory and other unsubstantiated theories.”
DeSantis continued saying there is “no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory,” and that “teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.”
He added that the state will instead invest in an “actual, solid, true curriculum” and will be a “leader in the development and implementation of a world-class civics education.”
Let’s be very honest about something: The white conservative idea of an “actual, solid, true curriculum” is undoubtedly the same old whitewashed version of American history and civics that paints the U.S. as a “shining city on a hill”—which is already a weird-ass thing to call a whole ass country—that wasn’t built on oppression, slavery and genocide. Nothing about that version of America is “substantiated” but it is “sanctioned” by white people’s discomfort with taking a look at America through anything other than their lens of whiteness.
Besides, who TF even asked DeSantis if his proposal would include CRT? Did anybody expect the governor of proposing legislation to shoot anti-racism protesters to propose a civics curriculum that would include any kind of study on race in America?
But whatever. Florida is going to Florida and DeSantis is going to continue to be the warrior for white supremacy that he has always been.