Ron DeSantis responds to critics of his campaign to stamp out “critical race theory” by saying that Florida mandates a high school course in Black history. What he doesn’t say is that the course is offered in only 11 of the state’s 67 districts.

It isn’t offered because the state has not funded the development of a curriculum and has ignored the “mandate.”

The unenforced mandate was passed in 1994 in an attempt to make amends for the atrocities that occurred in Rosewood, Florida, exactly 100 years ago.

In 1923, 200 white terrorists sacked and burned the all-black town of Rosewood, Florida. The town was burned to the ground, and some who resisted were lynched.

Mary Ellen Klas wrote in The Miami Herald:

The painful details of the unpunished lynchings and vigilante violence went from being family secrets to the foundation for legislation awarding the first reparations paid by a state in the nation’s history to survivors of racial violence. They also became the catalyst for the 1994 law requiring the teaching of Florida’s Black history in K-12 schools. The law requires that courses comprise five components: African beginnings, the passage to America, slavery, the Reconstruction period after the Civil War and the “contributions of African Americans to society.”

DeSantis and his education commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. object to any mention of the state’s violent racist history, and they certainly don’t want people today to know that the state agreed to pay reparations to the few survivors of the Rosewood massacre. That may be why they objected vehemently to any mention of the reparations movement in the AP course. They have a guilty conscience.

As DeSantis defends against charges that he is “erasing the state’s Black history,” he cites the 1994 law as evidence that it is required to be taught, but he is confronted with contradictions:

▪ Budget records show that the implementation of the law that has been on the books for decades has been not only understaffed and barely enforced, but DeSantis and legislative leaders have rejected requests to beef up resources to expand the teaching of Black history in Florida.

▪ The word “reparation,” which is central to the Rosewood saga that spawned the Black history law, is now considered off-limits in Florida classrooms because state officials have determined that discussion of the reparation movement, which involves offering financial restitution to the descendants of enslaved people for the harms of slavery and racial discrimination, is an attempt at “indoctrination.”

“We proudly require the teaching of African American history. We do not accept woke indoctrination masquerading as education,’’ wrote Education Commissioner Manny Diaz on Twitter last month as he defended the Department of Education’s decision to reject the Advanced Placement course in African-American Studies because it “lacked educational value.”

Hypocrites. DeSantis is hoping to become President by appealing to racism and to white grievances and resentment towards Blacks. He has amplified false claims about critical race theory, which involves the study of racism. He wants to make open bigotry respectable by loudly proclaiming that anyone who wants factual history and wants to eliminate racism is “woke.”

Lincoln spoke to “the better angels of our nature.” DeSantis appeals to the worst instincts of our nature.

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