Because of Florida's Stop WOKE Act, You Couldn't Teach Much of Florida's African American Education Standards

It should have been so fucking easy for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is always angry that a non-white person might be happy and wondering how he can ruin that. When he was asked about the social studies standards released by the Florida Department of Education last week, in particular the one that read that "Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit," he could have just simply said, "I haven't had a chance to look that over." Or "I'm not an expert on that. You'll have to ask the DOE." Boom. Done. Controversy avoided.

But if you're a motherfucker, and Ron DeSantis has never met a mother that he didn't vigorously fuck, you do what he did. You double the fuck down. As DeSantis whitesplained, "They’re probably going to show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life." Imagine someone who was whipped regularly, whose wife was raped, whose children were sold off. Now imagine them being grateful that they were taught to make horseshoes. It's ludicrous, and DeSantis got all the bullshit piled on him that he deserved, including a spanking from Vice President Kamala Harris and the NAACP.

Let's get even clearer here. Yeah, slaves were taught skills. That's because that way the plantation or wherever they were being held didn't need to hire anyone and, you know, pay them to sew clothes or make leg irons. As far as "later in life," there were generations upon generations of slaves who were taught things that mattered to no one except their owners. "Later in life" just meant "dying a slave" until 1865. And one other thing ought to be mentioned here. A slave who knew how to do more than field work was more valuable when they were sold. Yeah, in fact, those "skills" were advertised. 

You see that ad? Being a carpenter, brick maker, or tanner got your owner a better price for you. That's how the fucking skills were "parlayed" for almost the entirety of the savage history of slavery in this damned country.

Pointing out this deeply fucked up standard upset some on the right. According to them, we were picking out one thing from a long, comprehensive document. Attacking Vice President Harris, the National Review (motto: "As white and fragile as Buckley's bones") said, "If you are able to read [the standards document] and conclude that the single reference to slaves developing skills (which I’ve bolded) is indicative of the narrative direction of the course, rather than a tiny (and correct) part of it, then you are beyond saving and you deserve to live your life as an ignoramus." Yeah, but if I give a speech where I talk about how the races need to unify and then I drop the n-word in the middle of it, why the fuck should anyone care about the rest of what I said?

To be fair, the standards on slavery and on African American history (Florida is one of only 14 states that require its teaching) do cover a lot of ground. But here's where the rub comes, because there's always a fucking rub when it comes to DeSantis and Florida and fucking conservatives. 

See, Florida passed the Stop WOKE Act in 2022, which is pretty clear about how things are supposed to be taught. For instance, you can't teach in a way that "a person, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the person played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin, or sex." The way that's phrased makes it obvious that it's talking about white people. You can't make white people sad. It's ostensibly against things the authors of the bill don't understand, like critical race theory, but, basically, it's about history making white people think, "Man, I feel like shit that my ancestors fucked people over so horrifically. Maybe we should do something about that." Fuck that feeling, man. 

Now, I'm not sure how you're supposed to learn some of the things in the standards, like the Underground Railroad, slave revolts, and more, without blaming, you know, the whites who did all this to Black people. Even moreso, I don't know how you can teach that without someone feeling guilt or anguish. Jesus, I remember when I watched Roots when I was a kid. I was fucking enraged at white people and I'm really goddamn white. History should make you feel shitty. That's what makes you want to do better.

But it gets even more absurd. See, the standards list people that it would be good for students to learn about. One standard is to "Identify African Americans who demonstrated civic service," and it lists people like Colin Powell or Hiram Revels, who was a senator during Reconstruction. Also on that list is Carter G. Woodson. And that's where shit gets weird and tricky. 

See, Woodson was a historian and educator who believed that, as an NAACP biography says, "the white-dominated historical profession had little interest in Black history. He saw African-American contributions 'overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.'" In 1933, he published The Mis-Education of the Negro, a book of his articles and speeches where he talked about how education reaffirmed white supremacy. As Woodson put it, the white-based education system had succeeded in cowing African Americans: "They usually say the races here are getting along amicably now, and we do not want these peaceful relationships disturbed by teaching of new political thought. What they mean to say with respect to the peaceful relation of the races, then, is that the Negroes have been terrorized to the extent that they are afraid even to discuss political matters publicly." 

Woodson saw it, man. He saw how this shit worked: "If you can control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself." He called for the study of Black history, in the United States and elsewhere, which is one reason he started the movement for what became Black History Month, which is probably why he's on that list up there. 

But what Woodson really did was to provide a foundation for critical race theory in education. That's right. The Florida Department of Education wants students to learn about the guy who started CRT, which is prohibited by the Stop WOKE Act. 

That's how stupid this shit is. It's not only racist. It's not only anti-historical. It's not only hysterical. It's fucking farcical. 

And that should very much cause guilt, anguish, and psychological distress.