‘Incomprehensible’: White House Press Secretary Blasts DeSantis for Rejecting AP African-American History Course

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Addressing reporters during a Friday afternoon press briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lashed out at Florida governor Ron DeSantis over his “incomprehensible” decision to reject state approval for an Advanced Placement African-American Studies course.

“It is incomprehensible to see that this is what this ban–or this block, to be more specific–that DeSantis has put forward. If you think about the study of Black Americans, that is what he wants to block and, again, these types of actions aren’t new, especially from what we’re seeing from Florida, sadly,” Jean-Pierre told the White House press corps.

The DeSantis administration sent a memo to the College Board, the organization responsible for devising AP curricula, stating that the pilot AP African-American Studies course is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”

According to the administration, the proposed curriculum falls afoul of the state’s recently passed Stop WOKE Act, which bars schools and workplaces from promoting the idea that one’s “status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin, or sex.” The bill also bans schools and workplaces from “subjecting any student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such individuals to believe specified concepts constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin.”

A draft of the AP African-American studies curricula obtained by National Review promotes the notion that color-blindness is a form of covert racism.

Glossing over the substance of DeSantis’s objections to the course, Jean-Pierre implied that he is hostile to the teaching of African-American history in general, not specifically the curricula put forward by the College Board.

“Let’s not forget, they didn’t ban–they didn’t block . . . AP European History; they didn’t block our music history; they didn’t block our art history. But the state chooses to block a course that is meant for high achieving high school students to learn about their history of arts and culture. And it is incomprehensible,” she said.

In November, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction blocking provisions of the law dealing with higher education.

In her response to DeSantis’s decision, Jean-Pierre singled out Florida as a particularly censorious state.

“Florida currently bans teachers from talking about who they are and who they love, as we’ve walked about many times in this briefing room. They have banned more books in schools and libraries than almost every other state in the country,” she said.

DeSantis, who many see as a credible rival to Donald Trump’s 2024 Republican presidential nominee, has made a priority out of challenging the politicization of educational spaces.

Jean-Pierre also suggested that the DeSantis administration had a unique aversion to black history.

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