Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Florida leaders distorting history, reversing progress.

Five years ago, I relocated to Jacksonville with the intention of retiring here. Usually, I keep my complaints to myself and hope for the best when something disturbs me. However, the recent decision by Gov. Ron DeSantis and his education board regarding the teaching of Black history to middle schoolers has infuriated me to the point where I can no longer stay silent. It is outrageous that the governor wants to alter the history of Caucasian ancestors’ heinous acts and crimes against African Americans in order to prevent students from feeling bad about themselves. Banning books was already a step in the wrong direction, as it is crucial for us to learn from history to avoid repeating it. We cannot allow Gov. DeSantis to continue turning back the progress we have made. It seems like he is consolidating power and passing laws that benefit only select groups of people, rather than serving the interests of all. This behavior is not new, but what is concerning is the support he is receiving from establishment Republicans. His divisive laws are taking us back in time and we must stand against it. God bless us all.

The misuse of history for political purposes has a long history, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, following in the footsteps of politicians like Vladimir Putin, is engaging in such misrepresentations. His claim that enslaved Africans developed skills like blacksmithing under slavery is propaganda and falsehood. If the new curriculum for African American history in Florida middle schools includes such claims, it is plainly wrong and dangerously misleading. African ironworkers, including blacksmiths, had a rich history of innovation and skill long before they were enslaved. Their expertise was deeply valued and sought after. The fact that the curriculum ignores established facts is a powerful indictment of Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education.

In the ongoing “anti-woke” campaign, some objected to teaching the true history of slavery because it made white students feel bad. However, feeling empathy for the enslaved is an important part of maturing into responsible adults. We cannot change the past, but we can control our actions in the present. Preventing children from learning the truth about slavery in order to shield them from responsibility or empathy is detrimental to their development. Our focus should be on creating an inclusive education that teaches American history as a collective effort, acknowledging both the achievements and flaws of all groups.

While slavery is universally understood as a despicable concept, it is important to also recognize the positive actions taken by our country and its heroes to abolish slavery. Instead of solely highlighting its negatives, we should strive to showcase the progress made throughout history.

Vice President Kamala Harris recently visited Jacksonville to voice her opinion on Florida’s school system. However, her record shows a low approval rating and little success in addressing the border crisis. Many Florida parents are satisfied with the changes made by Governor DeSantis. American history should be taught inclusively to illustrate how all Americans contributed to the country’s development, acknowledging both its positive accomplishments and its flaws. Focusing on separate histories further divides us.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Florida Department of Education for teaching me something new. According to the department’s curriculum, slavery was merely vocational training, even though it was a brutal example of inhumanity. Perhaps we should take the next step and rename other dark moments in history to more positive names. For example, we could call the Trail of Tears the Trail of Joy, as Native Americans got to see different parts of the country while enduring immense suffering. Additionally, we could propose that women and minorities only gain the right to vote when they are deemed mature enough to handle the responsibility. Florida’s distortion of history is a new low, and it leaves me ashamed and disgusted.

During a recent town hall meeting about Jacksonville’s crime problem, Sheriff T.K. Waters failed to address the issue of police interaction with the Black community. Studies have shown that the chances of an arrest or search significantly increase when officers start confrontations with commands for Black drivers. Teaching officers to avoid such commands during the initial moments of a routine traffic stop could have a positive impact. Fortunately, former sheriff’s officer Lakesha Burton has been appointed as the city’s new chief of public safety, and she is likely to prioritize changes in training that promote better police-community relations.

While the pause on student loan payments will come to an end in October, it is worth noting that both the Trump and Biden administrations have taken actions that will still cost us.

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About Thaddeus Tran

Meet the incredible Thaddeus Tran, an esteemed author on our blog with a passion for history and heritage. Thaddeus delivers captivating posts that take readers on a journey through time. With his wealth of knowledge and impressive research skills, he offers valuable insights and fascinating stories that shed light on the past and inspire a deeper appreciation for our shared heritage. Follow him to discover the secrets and treasures of history!

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