Statement on the TAAF Grant Read

AAAS Statement in Defense and Support of AP African American Studies

We write as educators and community members in defense and support of an AP African American Studies that reflects the intellectual project of Black studies. We are outraged by the recent move by Florida Governor DeSantis to reject the AP pilot of an African American Studies course, leading it to be dramatically revised by the College Board. This move was based on a meritless argument that curriculum material that focused on topics such as intersectionality, activism, and Black Queer Theory lacks educational value. This is DeSantis’s most recent attack against Black Studies and Ethnic Studies. In 2022 he put into law the “Stop WOKE Act” that prevents the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 education. This law was again invoked by DeSantis in 2022 when he required Florida state colleges to provide information about potential critical race theory courses and diversity, equity, and inclusion activity, a thinly veiled attempt at threatening scholars and administrators working on these topics. We are deeply concerned that the Florida Department of Education as well as the Presidents of the Florida State Colleges have acquiesced to DeSantis’s attempts to ban critical race theory.

Thus, we recognize that the attack on the pilot AP curriculum is a part of a broader strategy to police Black educators, as well as delegitimize education around the enduring impact of racism and injustice in our society.  DeSantis’s activity echoes efforts across the United States, such as by Governor Abbott of Texas, to silence critiques of structural racism and inequality including the removal of discussions of intersectionality, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, and queer theory.

Ethnic studies courses and programs across the nation, including Asian American Studies, were borne from struggles of multi-racial coalitions across the country. On most college campuses this was primarily rooted in the student activism of Black Student Unions and other Black Student organizations.

In the spirit of anti-racism and with a radical vision for an education that speaks to the lived experiences of marginalized populations in this country, we call for the College Board to reject the ideological white-washing of the history of this country and the dismissal of the intellectual contributions of our colleagues in African American and Black Studies.

Other statements:

Open Letter In Defense of AP African American Studies – African American Studies Faculty in Higher Education

OAH Statement on AP African American Studies – Organization of American Historians

Articles:

The Meaning of African American Studies – Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, New Yorker

Florida’s State Colleges Say They’ll Ban Promotion of Critical Race Theory – Chronicle of Higher Education

The Black Scholars Ron DeSantis Doesn’t Want Students to Read – Boston Review

The College Board Strips Down Its A.P. Curriculum for African American Studies – New York Times