Why We Must Teach African American Studies: A Call to Action
Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and other right-wing conservative legislators would like us to believe that the field of African American studies is “woke’ indoctrination and has no value in K-12 classrooms or college and university curricula. The governor has even promoted the idea that teaching about anti-Black racism in U.S. history makes white children feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, and psychological distress,” without any consideration of Black students’ feelings of isolation and unimportance. Clearly, legislators’ denouncement of African American studies is a denouncement of Black people, Black history, and Black culture. It sends a clear message of disrespect for a group of people who have lived and worked in the U.S. for hundreds of years, voted as citizens, fought in consequential American wars, and significantly contributed to American culture.
Originally published: March 9, 2023
Author: Johnnetta Betsch Cole
Position: President Emerita
Institution: Spelman and Bennett Colleges
Published by: Diverse Issues in Higher Education