By Bashir Muhammad Ptah Akinyele —
I am outraged that the college board capitulated to the likes of Governor Ron DeSantis. Let’s be clear! Governor DeSantis’ effort to suppress aspects of AP African American history is just the tip of the iceberg. He reflects the thinking of many people in today’s power structure. The US establishment has a very long racist history of viewing Black history as illegitimate history. Since our sojourn in the western world, we as Black people have struggle to hold on to our history, tell our own history, and challenge the world to respect the history of Black people. Unfortunately, white supremacy and institutional racism have worked to distort African American studies. Therefore, when Black history is allowed to be taught in schools and universities, most of its “versions” are taught from a non-threatening and acceptable perspective.
They see study of historical figures like Imamu Amiri Baraka, a freedom fighter for democracy and Black liberation, as a threat. They see the study of the writings of Ta-Nehisi Coates on reparations as threat. They see the study on slogan and movement of Black Lives Matter as a threat. They see the study of the 1619 Project as a threat. Any study of history that challenges the view of white domination in the world is going to be see as threat.
White hegemony has a long track record of dogmatic racial intellectual biases toward Black people, especially Black people’s history.
Because of these conditions, Governor DeSantis, and his elk, have been severely miseducated on history, especially African American history. Their knowledge of the US and the world civilization is completely narrowed by white supremacy and systematic racism.
Therefore, they are intentionally misconstruing the teaching of AP African American studies with critical race theory.
This is not new. They did this back in the 1990s when Afrocentrism began to consume America nationally.
The establishment was threaten by Afrocentrism. Through Afrocentrism, Black people challenged the mainstream to accept several historical facts: 1) all humanity came from Africa, 2) the first major civilizations emerged on the continent of Africa, 3) Egypt was a Black civilization, and 4) that Black people contributed greatly to the establishment of America and the development of human civilization. They worked to to stop Afrocentrism. They saw Afrocentrism undermining white hegemony in America and in the world.
Therefore, the teaching of Black history is still viewed a threat to the system. And in their eyes, it must be dismantled and destroyed completely in order to keep the fabricated lies of America and western civilization flourishing to pass it off as the only legitimate history in America and in the world.
Bashir Muhammad Ptah Akinyele is a community activist and a member of ASCAC (the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations). He is also a history and Africana Studies teacher at Weequachic High School in Newark, NJ and an active adherent to the Nation of Gods and Earths.