Ron “The Banner” DeSantis!

Doggonit Ron DeSantis, so-called “governor” of the great state of Florida. You just can’t seem to let well enough alone, can you? Your obsessive thirst for power and a move to the White House knows no boundary. Here you go again with another asinine effort to “ban” something, this time the teaching of an AP African American History course to be taught in Florida public high schools. 

Now if memory serves me correct, it was not that long ago when you got your  jollies off by banning books and – the absurdity of all absurdities – banning the word “gay.” There’s something pathological sick about your weird penchant for banning stuff. 

So let me tell you something; this from one who is hopelessly addicted to books. When you launched an effort to ban books, I seriously considered paying you a visit for a, eh, “nice” discussion.” My hope now is that you will not start banning flights with book lovers on board. But I won’t put that past you. 

You see – not that we were ever friends – as the previous president child-like whined to his vice president who refused to overturn the results of the elections, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore.” I say the same thing to you sir.

So let’s take a look into your latest plunge into absurdity, that is banning the teaching of AP African American history in your sunny state of Florida, one with lovely beaches, a renown theme park and a haven for white-haired retirees. 

Look, saying it much milder than I would, NAACP Director Ivory Toldson condemned the course’s rejection, calling your bone-headed decision a “dereliction of his duty “ to ensure equitable education for all Floridians. 

“Dismissing this important subject as lacking ‘educational value’ defies centuries of evidence to the contrary,” Toldson said. “African American history is American history and failure to comprehend this very simple fact is un-American in and of itself.”

“Florida has gone from Don’t Say Gay to Don’t Say Black,” noted New York Rep. Ritchie Torres. And the well-deserved ridicule keeps coming and coming, including an eminent – and costly – lawsuit.

Understand that what fuels a suspicion of racism to so many are the subjects not omitted from the curriculum: AP European History, AP Art History, AP Japanese Language & Culture, AP German Language & Culture, AP Italian Language & Culture, and AP Spanish Language & Culture.

Now one can’t help but wonder if “Mr. Banner” would ban any mention of the Holocaust in the German Culture Course, the Japanese internment camps in the course on Japanese Culture or expunge images of lower parts of the human anatomy in the AP Art History course because they risk, can you believe this,  making little Johnny uncomfortable.

Wrote Elwood Watson, Ph.D., African American History professor at East Tennessee State University, “I hate to be the one to break it to DeSantis, but history can be ugly at times, especially towards minority groups. Black people were lynched and forced to suffer under Jim Crow laws. Inhumane atrocities were committed against Jewish people during the Holocaust. Women have often been victims of sexism and misogyny. LGBTQ people have frequently been the targets of violence. And on and on.”

He continued, “Young people, by and large, are not ashamed to be introduced to the realities of history. Unfortunately, it’s their parents and elders that often resent being confronted with questions about the past that contradict what they were taught and learned.”

So my question to you “Mr. Banner,” is why on earth would someone want to ban books on the histories of people who may someday protect them in law enforcement, live next to, work with, report to, pilot their airplane or perform open heart surgery on?  Can you not see that you are rendering them woefully unprepared to live and work in an increasingly multiethnic society?

Although you probably couldn’t care less, “arrested development” of your students is what this book banning nonsense can lead to, let alone discourage the best and brightest teachers from wanting to teach in Florida. 

Under fire from the public, here’s “Mr. Banner’s” rationale for his propensity to ban:

“We want education, not indoctrination. If you fall on the side of indoctrination, we’re going to decline.” He concluded with this convoluted headscratcher: 

“If it’s education, then we will do. This course on Black history. What are one of, what’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory.”

Huh? I mean you can’t make this stuff up folks. This from a Harvard-trained lawyer mind you. 

Okay “Mr. Banner,” let’s cut through the chaise. We know that you are postering yourself for a run for the White House in 2024 by exploiting irrational fears to shore up your base. Your strategy is to employ the twice impeached former president’s playbook. But to do that at the expense of students in your state is deplorable. How dare you, with a cowardly stroke of a pen, devalue me, my history and the history of my people.

So like what’s his name, your Mar-a – Lago neighbor said to his VP, this is to serve notice that you, “Mr. Banner,” are banned from my list of potential friends. As the saying goes, “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”  

So c’mon, stop this banning madness before you wreak further damage on your state.

© Terry Howard is an award-winning speaker, writer and storyteller. He is also a contributing writer with the Chattanooga News Chronicle, The American Diversity Report, The Douglas County Sentinel,, co-founder of the “26 Tiny Paint Brushes” writers’ guild, recipient of the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award, and third place winner of the 2022 Georgia Press Award.


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