Editor’s note: January’s mail bag included a lot of great letters to the editor, so we have not one but two letters of the month.
Letter of the month #1: Someone could use this AP class
One January letter of the month winner responded a story headlined “DeSantis: AP African American studies pushes agenda.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis says that he does not see Black history as a separate history. I wonder how many other ethnic groups in the United States have experienced being kidnapped from their native lands, sold into slavery, counted as three-fifths of a person, suffered generations of Jim Crow laws and official segregation and untold years of discrimination. All “histories” do not appear to be equal. An Advanced Placement class in African American studies might enlighten him.
Bruce LeBaron, St. Petersburg
Letter of the month #2: The bill comes due
The other letter of the month for January responded to a story with the headline “As US nears debt limit, political frictions raising alarms.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy claims that refusing to raise the debt limit is like cutting up your child’s credit card. Really, I think it is more like quitting your job to go on a drunken spree with your rich buddies, then abandoning your wife and kids when the bill comes due.
Gregg Niemi, Tampa
Thinking about thought police
Throw the book at thought police | Column, Jan. 29
Good for columnist Stephanie Hayes and her “wholesome act of rebellion” in distributing copies of “The Bluest Eye.” Years ago, my AP students read “Beloved,” also by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. Its story, based loosely on a real event, is especially disturbing to white sensibilities; I asked parents to read it too. Like the now-banned (oh, no — “removed”) “The Bluest Eye,” it shows the ugliness of our world. In “Beloved,” a woman kills her much-loved child rather than allow her to be forced to live as a slave. I offered an alternative, though that makes classroom life harder. No one asked.
Today, things seem distressingly different. Why would we block our children from understanding our past — or our present? How do we expect them to form independent opinions, and thus develop values, if we shield them from who we were or who we still are? Do we want puppets, mouthing only what the puppeteer has fed them?
The parent who objected to “The Bluest Eye” could stop her child from reading it. But in a system that claims to value choice, I don’t understand why that mother and Pinellas school officials decided that all children should be denied the book. It is a symptom of the disease that is stopping Florida from offering AP African American studies, the illness which appoints college trustees based on allegiance to political (and religious) identity, the smugness that demonizes the idea of God’s diversity as a political agenda. I think that is scary.
C.M. Dunn, Clearwater
Lacking the experience
Former education commissioner Richard Corcoran in line to lead New College | Feb. 1
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Just because he was Florida’s former education commissioner does not mean that Richard Corcoran should be president of New College of Florida. If he didn’t have the right experience to become the president of Florida State University, what makes his lack of experience right for New College — other than the fact it will be run the way the governor wants it to be run?
Leona Schonher, Brandon
Not so fast
Just wait | Letters, Jan. 31
A letter writer expects Gov. Ron DeSantis to eventually occupy the White House. In order to do that, the governor will have to convince voters in the other 49 states that he is not an authoritarian bully who, among other things, publicly chided high school students wearing COVID-19 masks, punished the Disney organization for treating LGBTQ people (a marginalized segment of the population) with dignity and respect and wants to ban schoolbooks that do not agree with his whitewashed (pun intended) version of U.S. history. In his favor, I doubt DeSantis could do as much damage to Florida as president than he can as governor.
Charles E. Lehnert, Sun City Center