College Board Changes African American Studies


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Books showing off African American English. These kinds of readings are proposed to be banned in the state of Florida by Governor Ron Desantis.

African American history has never been taught in a way where credit is given where credit is due. Important figures that have contributed to our civil rights such as Carter Woodson or Ida B. Wells are almost never mentioned in American history.

After a College Board draft was leaked containing an Advanced Placement curriculum for African American history, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida disagreed with most of what it contained. The contents included critical race theory and other contemporary topics such as Black Lives Matter.

The political pressure put onto College Board to change some of these topics was apparently overwhelming enough to erase them from the curriculum entirely. On November 16th of 2022, a meeting between the state and College Board was held to criticize the previous unedited curriculum. Florida state officials referenced regulations such as, “topics must be factual and objective” and “may not suppress or distort significant historical events.” College Board agreed to revisions and once the finished course was revealed on February 1st.

A lot of the subjects and topics were either removed or made optional for students. Although College Board claimed the historical accuracy of the class, subjects like “intersectionality” or “systematic marginalization” that are considered to be a large part of African American studies became a second priority.

Intersectionality is defined as a concept where systems of inequality (based on race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, and more) can “intersect” to create a new dynamic according to the Center for Intersectional Justice. For example, talking about just the gender wage gap alone and ignoring other factors such as race and immigration status can “reinforce inequalities among women.”

Systemic marginalization is a socially constructed, disadvantageous socioeconomic condition. Considering that these concepts have an important connection to African American history, you would guess that it would be a concrete part of the curriculum that’s required, not a choice.

College Board continues to be heavily criticized for falling under conservative political pressure. Despite them denying it was for political reasons, Florida has been in contact since January 2023. One of the benefits of teaching the African American AP course is to bring a “controversial” topic to schools. Because African American history isn’t taught on a deeper level in most schools, having this course available to everyone to educate themselves on the deep-rooted discrimination that people of color still experience today will be eye-opening. Not only this, allowing teachers and students to talk about topics like race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. can help engage students in class. Here are some places to get more information: