*Published with the generous permission of David Pepper. Read and watch more of his work here.
By David Pepper
And that’s exactly where we are today in countless states around the country—and, most prominently, in Florida, where Ron DeSantis banned an AP African American Studies Course.
In a nation with a long and painful history of racial discrimination, that censorship is especially dangerous. As the video explains, when you excise American history of its worst moments of discrimination, white supremacy, and violence, you leave the false impression that progress in this country was steady and inevitable.
The truth is: breakthroughs in justice have always been followed by an intense backlash, only overcome later—sometimes lifetimes later—by heroic struggle and fierce resistance.
Progress, then pushback….progress, then pushback. That’s our history. Excising that pattern of pushback from our history books and courses distorts it all. It shields us from the hell of some eras and the true heroism of others.
Another reality obscured by censoring that history is that the tools of that repeated backlash have largely been the same over the years: myths and misinformation (e.g. false accusations of voter fraud), voter suppression, intimidation, and outright violence. Hiding history camouflages those tactics even as they are being wielded in the present day.
Suppression and censorship go hand in hand. They are again rearing their ugly heads today.
We must stand up to both.