Ron DeSantis and the ‘Woke’ war will impact HBCUs

For the second time, a federal judge has banned Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Stop Woke’ Bill. DeSantis, once a Donald Trump ally, has control of the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate.  

With that power he has blazed through an agenda basically taking aim at the rights of humans in many ways aligned with the most extreme of the Republican Party.  He has a six-week abortion ban on deck, he has challenged Walt Disney World and rescinded an agreement with the megacompany which is decades old, which basically allowed them to operate as their own city without any taxpayer monies from Orlando.  

One of his loudest attacks is what he calls the “Stop Woke” act. Governor Ron DeSantis is taking dead aim at black folks.  It is a term black folks use to reference being awake to the plots and motives of others to take aware our inalienable rights.  This week, yet another Federal Court ruled that DeSantis’ Bill can not be enforced because it in fact is a violation of rights.  Unfortunately, that won’t stop DeSantis.

Ron DeSantis was not a supporter of covid vaccines or masking

Ron DeSantis is a Covid denier.  He hired a black doctor who also was a controversial covid denier to be Surgeon General of the state.  In doing so, using recommendations from that doctor, he was able to pull funds from anyone who forced folks to wear masks back in 2021.  He even punished school boards by withholding the salaries of school board members who supported masking as an option.  Leon County, the capital county of Florida, and where FAMU resides was one of those counties.

DeSantis is pulling reading books from shelves.  Part of his claim for doing so is to control what can be taught.  He feels people of today should not feel guilty about the past transgressions of their ancestors.  In other words, he doesn’t want descendants of slave owners to feel guilty about what their relatives who were slave owners did, so he doesn’t want it taught.  Caught in the snare of these books is the Hank Aaron Story for kids and the Roberto Clemente book for kids.  That includes anyone who receives state funds for education.  In other words, he doesn’t deny any of the things happened, he just doesn’t want kids to learn about it and feel guilt.

It is a controlling measure the likes of which we have not seen in America.  It is more like something we expect from Russia or Germany or even North Korea.  He has randomly banned an extremely large list of books and has his appointed secretary of education enforcing the agenda.

The courts will have little impact on his platform

While the court has ruled in the favor of human rights, it won’t stop DeSantis.  The reason is he has a goal to achieve.  He has his eyes set on the White House and his chosen path is to attract many of the followers of former U.S. President Donald Trump, even though they are currently at odds.  As recently as last year he was not nationally known, but he has been successful in drawing national attention within the last 12 months with his extreme activism.  He was in Iowa this week on what Trump is saying was a campaign stop, without actually filing to run.

Why all of this is critical is that Florida A&M (the state’s lone public HBCU) and all universities within the state of Florida are also under attack.  Critical Race Theory (CRT) as they call it, is the study of factors of race.  On a black college campus, one of the responsibilities is to discuss where the black culture and race come from and where it’s going.  DeSantis has taken measures to remove that from any coursework.  The Secretary of Education has been empowered to punish colleges and granually professors for teaching CRT.

What good is Florida A&M if they can’t be a hub for teaching its history accurately?  Why go to a black college if you can’t learn your history in an unfiltered way?

They introduced a House Bill 999 last week, which could target any “special” groups it feels is a part of diversity.  In the initial filing of this bill, it is intended to ban several groups from formulating on campus.  The “Divine 9” Greek. Organizations could be halted on campus if this bill is enacted. DeSantis has already ordered a study on every dollar the state spends on diversity and inclusion efforts.   He wants them stopped.  He does not believe they have a place in Florida.

HBCUs were created because whites did not want to admit us to their colleges.  Many HBCUs were formed with land grant designations.  America wanted to finally allow us to get college educations, they just didn’t want us on their campuses, so they funded segregated colleges.   In time, the black colleges began to excel and teach its students at a higher level than many of the general colleges.  At that point, HBCUs became threats and we’ve seen several measures taken over the years to tame these HBCUs.

The “Stop Woke” act is definitely a taming tactic.  One thing for sure, with an inevitable run for the U.S. Presidency all but assured for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, black Floridians and FAMUans can expect for him to put his foot on the gas in the coming year.  Having a man as smart and powerful as a former military JAG is a threat to any and everything we know as normal in Florida.  More importantly, If he wins the presidency in 2024 all HBCUs in the U.S. will then be squarely in his crosshairs.

Ron DeSantis and the ‘Woke’ war will impact HBCUs
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