Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida schooled a reporter who asked whether he wants to “whitewash” the teaching of American history on issues such as slavery.
At a news conference Tuesday in Bradenton, the Harvard-educated attorney was asked about legislation he signed in April banning the teaching of critical race theory in schools.
“Governor, there’s a history teacher here in Bradenton who is suing to overturn the Stop WOKE Act,” the reporter said, referring to Don Falls, a social studies teacher at Manatee High School. “He’s worried that it’s going to lead to a whitewashing of teaching of slavery and other issues. What do you say to teachers like that?”
The governor responded by noting that Florida schools are required by statute to teach history that includes lessons on slavery and civil rights, but that history must be accurate and not distorted, left-wing propaganda.
“I would tell them to read Florida statutes,” DeSantis said. “We are required to teach slavery, the post-Reconstruction and segregation, civil rights. Those are core parts of American history that should be taught. But it should also be taught accurately.”
In Florida, we require the truth about American history to be taught in our classrooms.
We will not allow schools to twist history to align with an ideological agenda. pic.twitter.com/IlRe6UpC6j
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 20, 2022
The governor slammed the toxic, pervasive influence that critical race theory is having on American education.
“For example, the 1619 Project is a CRT version of history,” DeSantis said. “It’s supported by The New York Times. They want to teach our kids that the American Revolution was fought to protect slavery. And that’s false.
“We know why the American Revolution was fought. They wrote pamphlets. We saw them dump tea into the Boston Harbor. We saw them meet in Philadelphia, and we have the records of why they revolted against King George III.”
DeSantis pointed out “it was the American Revolution that caused people to question slavery,” and this thought evolution led to the birth of abolition movements.
The father of three said children should not be taught a twisted version of American history that demonizes the United States in order to push left-wing agendas.
“So you can’t teach history that’s being used to pursue an ideological agenda,” he said. “You can’t teach that the foundations of our country were somehow evil.”
“Our Founders pledged their lives, fortunes, sacred honor and they put a marker in the sand,” DeSantis said.
“Not everything lived up to it right away, of course not. But every major movement in our country’s history has gone right back to those core principles.”
Essentially, critical race theory demonizes white people by saying they’re privileged because of their skin color and by suggesting all white people are inherently racist.
On the flip side, CRT teaches black children that they are the victims of “systemic racism” who cannot succeed in the same way that whites do because of their skin color.
In a nutshell, critical race theory disempowers both black and white people by categorizing them as either helpless victims or callous oppressors.
Under CRT, if you’re white, you should feel guilty and apologetic. And if you’re black, you should feel resentful and entitled.
Its proponents want to rewrite history in order to justify the pursuit of “equity” (not equality) at all levels of society, from academia to politics to entertainment to the media to business to the military to sports.
DeSantis rejected the false narrative that anyone who criticizes CRT is racist or does not want slavery to be included as a dark chapter in American history.
“We want to teach history, all history – it’s got to be accurate, though,” he said. “And we are not going to be in a situation where we’re taking George Washington’s name off schools, taking down statues of Thomas Jefferson. And that’s what those people who want CRT want to do.
“They want to change history. They want to delegitimize these folks — and that’s not what we’re doing.”
The governor added: “Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t want those subjects taught because not only do we want it, we have it in statute that they must be taught.”