Ron DeSantis blames queer people for ban on African American studies college course

A photo of Florida governor Ron DeSantis wearing a navy suit, white shirt and red tie speaking at a podium

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has blamed “queer theory” for the reason he vetoed an advance placement (AP) course on African American studies in the state. 

The Florida Department of Education informed the College Board of its decision to ban the course on 12 January in a letter that became public last week. 

The decision has drawn widespread criticism from Black leaders, academics and even the White House.

In a statement to The Hill last week, DeSantis’ office identified the Department of Education’s key concerns with the course; including the topics of intersectionality, Black queer studies, the Black Lives Matter movement, Black feminist literary thought, the reparations movement and the Black study and Black struggle in the 21st century.

Speaking at a press conference unveiling his 2023 education platform on Monday ( 23 January), DeSantis told reporters that Florida wants “education, not indoctrination”.

“In the state of Florida, our education standards not only don’t prevent but they require teaching Black history, all the important things. That’s part of our core curriculum. 

You may like to watch

“This was a separate course on top of that for advanced placement credit and the issue is we have guidelines and standards in Florida. We want education, not indoctrination.”

DeSantis went on to cite queer theory as a reason for banning the course altogether. 

“This course, on Black history, what’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory!”

“Now who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids, and so when you look to see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons, that’s a political agenda. And so, that’s the wrong side of the line for Florida standards.”

“When you try to use Black history to shoehorn in queer theory,” Ron DeSantis continued, “you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes.”

Last week, Manny Díaz Jr, the Florida commissioner of education, took to Twitter to object to topics included in the course being taught in Florida schools. 

He tweeted: “Despite the lies from the Biden White House, Florida rejected an AP course filled with critical race theory and other obvious violations of Florida law. We proudly require the teaching of African American history. We do not accept woke indoctrination masquerading as education. 

“As we’ve said all along, if the College Board decides to revise its course to comply with Florida law, we will come back to the table.”