Right-wing politicians have gone to great lengths to censor subjects like critical race theory, Black feminism and intersectionality in classrooms across the country. Some argue that all three subjects politicize educational content, causing too much tension and opposition about historical events.
Normally, you’ll hear Republicans like former president Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis shout openly about their disdain for “wokeness” in the educational system. “Wokeness” is a term that mocks classroom content that brings awareness and much-needed discourse about the social injustices and discrimination that exist today and throughout history.
But as Republicans continue to block crucial coursework from stepping foot into the classroom, some educators are banding together to fight back against the issue.
This week, The Action Network released a petition called “Fighting ‘Anti-Woke’ Censorship of Intersectionality and Black Feminism,” to call out Republican lawmakers for raging war against the aforementioned subjects. The social change organization argues that all three courses challenge the norm and give students a chance to hear different perspectives and frameworks “that address structural inequality”
“Promoters of this racially extremist agenda have banded together with others across the political spectrum to wage a war against their own invented grievance that they have labeled as “woke-ism,” the petition stated.
“They have attacked librarians, surveilled and harassed teachers, canceled classes, banned books, and weaponized the law to forbid ideas, frameworks, and viewpoints in the nation’s schools, colleges, and workplaces. Their campaign has not only targeted and demonized antiracist work, but they broadened their attacks to discredit frameworks that Black women and queer people have produced in order to explain, describe, and transform the conditions of their lives.”
Last year, Gov. Desantis signed the STOP Woke Act into law, which regulates how certain historical content can be taught in schools and workplaces. It also prohibits educators from making students feel guilty or responsible about the past transgressions of other races.
Petition calls out Gov. Desantis for blocking crucial Advanced Placement African American Studies course
In January, Desantis caused a stir among the educational community when he blocked a new Advanced Placement (AP) course on African American studies from being added to high schools across the country. The controversial Republican and his team argued that the course wasn’t “historically accurate” and that it “lacked educational value.”
In February, the College Board finally approved a revamped version of the course. However, the curriculum was “watered down” and did not provide “key lessons, scholarship, and course goals from previous drafts,” according to the Action Network.
“Contemporary issues such as structural racism, Black Lives Matter, reparations, and prison abolition—issues that resurfaced during 2020’s reckoning with anti-Black racism and increased student demand for African American studies—were reduced or eliminated.”
The organization called out Gov. Desantis and his supporters for pulling the plug on the course, without carefully assessing how it could help students.
“Intersectional frames have been indispensable in the work many of us have done to uncover unwritten histories, to analyze overlooked social problems, and to address current human rights failures,” the petition added.
“We are just a fraction of the artists, advocates, academics, leaders, and lay people who have incorporated and adapted intersectional ways of seeing social dynamics in our work and in our lives. Among us are Black women fighting against state violence and horrifying rates of maternal and infant mortality in the United States; indigenous communities and peace activists from around the world fighting to end environmental destruction.”
Here’s the problem
Republicans like Desantis can’t stand these “woke” subjects because they dare to place accountability on the colonizers and forefathers who committed unthinkable atrocities to build this great nation on the backs of slaves, indigenous people and those othered by society.
They hate anything that creates social and political change or gives people the opportunity to think outside of the rigid confines of white mainstream media and education. Critical race theory, Black feminism and intersectionality help to not only educate our students about the wrongdoings of the past but how we can collectively work together as a team to stop the same atrocities from happening in the future.
They help to bridge people who may come from different walks of life together, creating a better understanding of cultural hardships and how tight community bonds can form from acknowledging and learning about the inequalities we all face.
The Action Network dares to take things one step closer to making this a reality. Consider signing the petition here.
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