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Friday, July 28, 2023



In a recent statement, David Coleman, the president and CEO of the College Board, compared Florida's new African American history standards to a Disney fairy tale. "Once upon a time," he said, "there were some magic slaves that learned to do brain surgery before dying while picking cotton." Coleman went on to say that the College Board's AP History takes a more holistic approach to teaching African American history.

Now, I don't know about you, but I've never heard of any magic slaves. And I'm pretty sure that brain surgery wasn't a skill that could be learned while picking cotton. But apparently, that's what Florida's new standards would have us believe.

The College Board isn't the only organization that's criticized Florida's new standards. The NAACP has also spoken out against them, calling them "a whitewash of history." And let's be real, if the NAACP is calling you out for downplaying the role of slavery and racism in American history, you know you messed up.

But the Florida Department of Education insists that the new standards are "balanced and accurate." They say that the standards "reflect the diversity of Florida's students and communities." But if by "diversity" they mean erasing the very real and very painful history of slavery and racism in America, then they've missed the mark.

The College Board's statement is significant because it's one of the first major organizations to publicly criticize Florida's new Black history standards. And they're not just criticizing the standards, they're criticizing the very notion that enslavement was beneficial for African Americans. Because let's be clear, it wasn't.

But apparently, some people are comparing the contents of the College Board's Advanced Placement course on African American Studies to Florida's new curriculum. And let me tell you, that's like comparing apples to oranges. Or in this case, like comparing a comprehensive and nuanced approach to African American history to a Disney fairy tale.

So what can we learn from all of this? Well, for starters, we need to have a serious discussion about how we teach Black history in our schools. We can't just sweep the painful parts under the rug and pretend they never happened. We need to acknowledge the atrocities of slavery and racism and teach our children about the resilience and strength of the African American community in spite of these injustices.

And maybe, just maybe, we can learn to laugh at ourselves a little bit along the way. Because let's face it, if we can't find humor in our own mistakes and shortcomings, then what's the point? So here's to hoping that Florida's new Black history standards will be revised to reflect a more accurate and nuanced understanding of African American history. And who knows, maybe we'll even learn a thing or two about magic slaves that can do brain surgery.

College Board responds to comparisons between its AP course and Florida's Black history curriculum | CNN 

Miami educators enraged by Florida’s Black history standards | Miami Herald 

College Board: Slavery was not beneficial to African Americans 

College Board responds to comparisons between its AP course and Florida’s Black history curriculum | National |