There would be no lynching if it didn’t start in the schoolhouse”
—Carter G. Woodson
Sharif El-Mekki founding director of the Fellowship-Black male educators for Social Justice and currently leads the Center for Black Educator Development stated that, “public schools, it seems, are, once again, the fresh front in the culture wars, the next “democratic institution” to be undermined and remade in the sanitized sepia of revisionist white supremacy. The politics of white grievance have always spread through mis-education,” he points out.
“Fresh off a series of electoral repudiations of various efforts to acknowledge in meaningful terms the impact of systemic racism on our children, our schools and society, and a general gnashing of teeth from white conservatives, there is a moment of possibility in the air for alt-right demagogues and would-be heirs to the MAGA trash throne.”
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is heir apparent. While a federal judge once again blocked its implementation earlier this month, DeSantis was able to pass into law last year his Stop WOKE Act, which prohibits the teaching and mention of systemic racism in schools and workplaces; was able to water down the College Board’s Advanced Placement African American Studies course and is now going after the state’s social studies textbooks, getting one publisher to omit references to race, including in the story of Rosa Parks’ arrest,” he continued.
“And while I laud the efforts of those who are fighting back — including three Florida high school students, represented by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crum, who said they planned to sue DeSantis over trying to kill the AP African American Studies course —the Florida governor’s actions are harbingers of more to come from his ilk as anti-CRT legislation is being passed from coast to coast,” El-Mekki added.
“White America’s power and position are so deeply entrenched in the very fabric of American schooling and society, the notion that it can be dislodged or undermined by the modicum of diversity, equity and inclusion work now being done in our public schools would be laughable if it didn’t have such chilling and dangerous consequences for Black and brown children.
From how we finance public schools to how we assign our children to them, the prevailing structure of traditional public education is inexorably tilted against Black and brown students. The form and function of our traditional public school systems are a direct reflection of historical political power dynamics produced by racial and economic inequity.”