A Miami Black Affairs leader Friday apologized to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for being called racist by a board member.
Miami-Dade Black Affairs Advisory Board Chairman Pierre Rutledge apologized in a statement to Gov. DeSantis, on behalf of his board, for a comment made at the board’s Wednesday meeting. A board member said during the meeting, “Our governor is racist,” according to a Fox News report.
“We take it to heart when someone uses the term racist,” Rutledge continued. “Words matter. And so as chair, I must start by saying we want to pull that back. There’s nothing wrong with saying ‘we’re sorry.’ That’s not what we intended to say or be depicted by anyone. And that’s not the feeling of this board.”
Members of the black community in the state’s most populous county have criticized DeSantis for rejecting an Advanced Placement course in African-American history. The governor reportedly objected to including instruction about Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ issues. The heated opposition to blocking the Advanced Placement course was reportedly considered the basis for the member’s racism charge.
The College Board modified the course curriculum Wednesday to remove content opposed by DeSantis, the report added. Florida’s Department of Education will reportedly reevaluate the course.
Florida’s governor still supports the Department of Education decision to remove the African American History course, claiming it advocates for a political agenda.
“This course on Black history, what’s one of the lessons about?” asked DeSantis before answering his own question,” Queer theory. Now, who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda.”
The Florida Republican has acted as a culture warrior to push back against Critical Race Theory, mandatory masking and sex and gender instruction for K-3rd grade in public schools. The governor gained national attention when he signed the Parental Rights in Education bill that banned lessons on gender identity in third grade and below. Critics tried to cancel the legislation by labeling it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which drew scorn from DeSantis.
Black leaders and Florida Democrats pledge to defend the course’s inclusion in schools. Protesters will rally on February 16, at the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee, according to the Fox report.
“Black history matters,” said Bethel Missionary Baptist Pastor, the Rev. R.B. Holmes, in his announcement of the rally. “Black history is not inferior. And Black history does not lack educational value.”
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