The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Travel Advisory

I've often wondered what it would be like to live in a country that was the State Department's travel advisory list. Would there be open warfare in the streets, political prisoners jailed for questioning the government's authority, or "shelter in place" warnings as crime ran rampant throughout the country? Luckily, I'd don't live in such a country, but I do live in the state of Florida, and now that we're on the NAACP's "travel advisory" list, I'm not sure what to do.

There's a lot of vicious partisan politics, considerable hyperbole, and a serious dose of dishonesty in the NAACP's statement justifying the advisory. The editors of the Wall Street Journal  examine the NAACP argument:

The NAACP said the advisory was a response to the policies of Gov. Ron DeSantis, specifically his “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.” Mr. DeSantis’s agenda is not off-limits for debate, but the people pushing this progressive narrative don’t seem to have done even five minutes of research.

Florida’s public schools are required by law to teach students about “the enslavement experience,” “abolition,” “the civil rights movement,” and “the history and contributions of Americans of the African diaspora,” the state Education Department explains. “Students shall develop an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping on individual freedoms.” Mr. DeSantis signed a bill to add to the curriculum the 1920 Ocoee massacre, in which black Floridians were killed by a mob.

Hmmm. Maybe "erasing black history" is a bit of a reach, but whatever. And how are black students doing under the supposed racist policies of DeSantis? The editors continue:

Mr. DeSantis picked Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a Nigerian immigrant, as his Surgeon General, and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez is the first Hispanic woman in that job. On national aptitude tests in 2022, black eighth-graders in Florida scored 255 in math and 247 in reading, on average. That’s better than the national figures (252 and 243), and it’s better than the NAACP’s headquarters of Maryland (250 and 244).

It's also worth noting that FL ranks #2 in black-owned businesses, so oddly, this 'dangerous' place provides rather significant opportunity to it's African-American population. According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, there are more than "250,000 black-owned businesses in Florida which collectively employ 77,136 Floridians and represent an annual payroll of $2.63 billion. That ranks it as the state with the second-most black-owned businesses in the country."

There may be legitimate reasons to criticize some of Ron DeSantis' policies, but doing it in the form of a "travel advisory" does little to burnish the reputation or the veracity of the NAACP.