Home » How the GOP’s presidential hopefuls could benefit from the Black histories they’re banning

How the GOP’s presidential hopefuls could benefit from the Black histories they’re banning

by The Grio

A copy of the often banned book “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” a memoir by George M. Johnson. (Adobe Stock Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

In the GOP’s rebuttal to President Biden’s State of the Union speech earlier this month, newly elected Arkansas governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, declared, “It is time for a new generation of Republican leadership.” Explaining just what direction this new generation ought to be taking, she proudly announced some of her first executive orders upon taking office, orders that would in her words, “ban CRT, racism and indoctrination in our schools.”

In fueling the “anti-woke” culture war, Gov. Sanders joins GOP figures like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley who are angling for the Republican nomination to the presidency by playing up the alleged threat of racial education. Haley herself tweeted on Jan. 30, “CRT is un-American,” warning, “Critical race theory is going to hold back generations of young people.” Meanwhile, DeSantis has proudly proclaimed Florida’s Stop-W.O.K.E. Act as the model for prohibiting education that would make students “feel guilt, anguish or any form of psychological distress” and promised to prevent funding for college programs on diversity, equity and inclusion. Through these political maneuvers, it is unclear whether celebrations of Black History Month itself are even permissible.

Yet the right-wing “anti-woke” culture war did not begin with the recent moral panic around racial education. In my forthcoming book, “The Struggle for the People’s King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement” (Princeton University Press), I find that limiting the public’s understanding of the racial past is a long-standing political strategy catalyzed through the…

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