Photo by Gage Skidmore, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License
On June 10th of this year, the Florida Board of Education, with the support of Governor Ron DeSantis, passed an amendment banning “Critical Race Theory” in schoolrooms. The event has been covered by many sources but, in my opinion, not covered well. Major sources have given much of their time to covering the logic of the governor and the members of the Board of Education but have failed to provide substantive arguments from those opposed to the ban. Obviously, the press is obligated to report the opinions of politicians, especially when those opinions become laws, but they should also be willing to provide a platform for those in resistance to the law and not simply as a footnote.
In order to correct what I see as an imbalance, I contacted Ben Frazier, founder of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, Inc., an activist group that “focuses on the problems of social, racial, and economic injustice” according to their website. Frazier organized a demonstration against the local board of education during the hearing in which the public was allowed to make public comments for or against the amendment. While Mr. Frazier and I had originally planned an interview, we eventually agreed that the best option was to let the organization speak for itself.
Unikorn.org will be the first to publish the following written statement about last Thursday’s ban by Ben Frazier representing the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville Inc. This is not an endorsement of Frazier’s statement only an insistence that it deserves to be heard:
“Teachers should be allowed to teach the truth.”
“Teachers should not be force-fed a diet of conservative Republican propaganda. This proposal is an injustice to all of the people of the great state of Florida; but especially to people of color. It reflects a refusal to acknowledge that Black History is American History, or that Native American History is American History.”
“It is dangerous, unjust and unfair.”
“Governor DeSantis has designed a special plan to brainwash public school students in the state of Florida.”
“Brainwashing is the systematic effort to persuade nonbelievers to accept a certain doctrine. It is any technique designed to manipulate human thought.”
“This dastardly proposal is also an effort to whitewash history—to sanitize history—and is an attempt to cover up the truth about the horrors of history. This plan is, in fact, an attempt to manipulate human thought by implementing a certain educational standard. Adolph Hitler did not want the truth to be taught and neither does Ron DeSantis.”
“Our students should be taught the truth about real-life stories like the Trail of Tears and the genocide of the Seminole, Cherokee, Muscogee, Chickasaw and Choctaw peoples: the stories about the murders of more than four thousand Native Americans. Jim Crow laws and white supremacy have adversely affected the quality of life of millions of African Americans. These are true stories, and there is no better place to begin that discussion than in the classroom. Our students should be taught to evaluate, examine, and review history. They should be taught how to think and not be directed by the government. “Teachers should be allowed to teach the truth.”