Last night, Florida Republican Governor Ron Desantis and his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist had their only gubernatorial debate before voters make their choice during midterms next week. Desantis took his time to continue his message that teaching all of American history will somehow make children hate each other. While articulating this, the governor somehow put former president Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the same sentence.
“What I think is not good is to scapegoat students based on skin color. What I think is not good is to distort American history by saying the American Revolution was fought to defend slavery. “I don’t want to teach kids to hate our country. I don’t want to teach kids to hate each other, and the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
Desantis’ last point is interesting because it’s exactly why you teach children and adults the true history of America. You learn about slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movements of the 1950s and 60s because you don’t want those things to happen again. Desantis and the Republican leadership in Florida have moved to limit discussions they don’t like in schools and the workplace. First with the Stop WOKE Act and then the Don’t Say Gay law.
The actual cost of racism throughout American history doesn’t teach children to “hate our country.” Restricting what teachers can do is not helping matters either. Charlie Crist responded with a twist on the George Santayana quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and a call to teach facts in school.
“He talks about not teaching about the history of our country might offend some people in our schools. We should teach facts in our schools … We shouldn’t have a whitewashed approach to educating our children.”