College-level thinking: overthrow capitalism and pay $trillions in reparations

Florida’s state Department of Education’s rejection of the College Board’s AP African American Studies Course (already obsolete? Why isn’t it called “Black Studies”?) provides a window into the problems being tackled by America’s best academic minds.

First, most media articles on this controversy are likely mostly false. “Ron DeSantis government bans new advanced African American history course” (BBC) says the course is “banned” and that it was done by Ron DeSantis and staff. The New York Times:

Florida will not allow a new Advanced Placement course on African American studies to be offered in its high schools, stating that the course is not “historically accurate” and violates state law. … Even before Mr. DeSantis signed the contentious laws last year restricting what can be taught, his administration rejected dozens of math textbooks for use in public school classrooms, claiming their incorporation of social-emotional learning and critical race theory.

See “Florida school boards, not state officials, choose textbooks” (Miami Herald, April 21, 2022) for an explanation of how the purportedly “banned” textbooks (“Florida says why it banned these math textbooks” (Washington Post)) could be used in any and every school in Florida. Was this course actually “banned” or was it “banned like the textbooks were banned”? Public schools in Florida are run by counties and if a county wishes to teach a particular class, I don’t think that there is a mechanism for the state to stop it. Palm Beach County Schools, for example, could teach a class on “The Social Justice of Kiteboarding” even if state-level bureaucrats allege that it “lacks educational value”. Here’s the “ban” letter from the Florida DOE, in which the cruel bureaucrats have refused to include the course in a “directory”, not banned counties, which they do not control, from teaching it:

More interesting is a document that is generally absent from media reports of the atrocities committed by Ron DeSantis. It contains excerpts of material in the class and, therefore, a window into what Black Studies scholars in our elite universities are grappling with. Students are taught the importance of “overthrow[ing] capitalism” (Topic 4.31) and also that reparations must be paid (Topic 4.30). For each American who identifies as Black (roughly 50 million says the Census Bureau) to get $5 million (the fair number according to a learned committee in San Francisco), the country needs to scrape up (or print?) $250 trillion, more than 10 years of current GDP. Given that our economy is based on transferism, how is the $250 trillion to be found if capitalism is overthrown? This is the question that the PhDs in Black Studies who put together the AP African American Studies course raise. Who says that high school students aren’t being challenged?

13 thoughts on “College-level thinking: overthrow capitalism and pay $trillions in reparations

  1. One could argue that $250 trillion is within reach if the overthrow of capitalism is successful and the U.S. will enjoy hyperinflation like in Venezuela.

  2. Isn’t something that is “contrary to Florida law” banned? Especially in a state where the Governor has previously threatened teachers with arrest? As a matter of fact, I would exactly equate “contrary to law” to “not allowed” to “banned.”

    If a Florida teacher has a book in her classroom library that hasn’t been vetted, she can be charged with a felony. This whole article is crazy:

    https://popular.info/p/florida-teachers-told-to-remove-books

    • Mike: It may be the case that a county-run school presenting the AP African American Studies course precisely as designed by the College Board’s PhD advisors would violate a Florida law passed a year ago. But the recent decision/letter by the state-wide Florida DOE, which is what has been reported as a “ban” and is the subject of both this post and the referenced media stories, is not relevant to that determination.

      Regarding the books, I asked last fall at the local Palm Beach County school about what the media had characterized as Ron DeSantis’s book “bans”. They responded that no books had been removed from either the classrooms or the school’s internal library. (See https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2022/08/30/palm-beach-county-library-kids-section/ for what is available and promoted to children at the local county library.)

  3. Why does the Flordia DOE issue these declarations if the public schools can do whatever they want anyway? I mean, it sure looks like they are *trying* to subvert local control of education.

    Also, “inexplicably contrary to Florida law” is Kafkaesque. If they claim that something is contrary to law, they ought to be able to explain why!

  4. Reparations for WHAT???? There hasn’t been a slave in the US in over a century. I will never understand this mentality. What is the justification for this nonsense?

    Now, having said that, it does bear pointing out that if trend of the wealth generated by capitalism continues its ever increasing migration to a smaller and smaller segment of the population and nothing is done to reverse that exponentially increasing trend, we won’t have capitalism much longer anyway because there will eventually be a full blown revolution. As top 10% (NOT top 1%, I said top 10%) earner, who spent the first 50 of my 59 years working for very little money, it’s not hard to understand the frustration of those who watch the top earners just continue to distance themselves from the rest at a steadily increasing pace.

    And before I go on, let me be clear that I am a white male with no college degree who still leans conservative and generally votes Republican and believes in FREE MARKET CAPITALISM, which I’m sure I don’t need to point out that we do NOT have in the US. And while our crony capitalistic system disgusts me, I am still anti-woke and VERY anti-socialism. If you read what I say below and consider me woke, you didn’t read what I said.

    Reparations are beyond ridiculous, but what we do actually need to do is to figure out how to get impoverished children on the right track. And by the right track I mean simply learning basic morals and ethics and having the same educational opportunities as children who don’t grow up economically challenged. African American studies tears at the fabric of the diversity that made American the melting pot that it is. What we need is AMERICAN studies. What you need to do to be a good American citizen.

    I live in Memphis TN. In TN the state poverty rate averages just under 15%. In Memphis, 25% of adults live under the poverty line, and 40% of children in the city of Memphis live under the poverty line. In 2021 there 3000 cars and trucks stolen in Memphis. In 2022 there 11,000 cars and trucks stolen, and most are believed to have been stolen by kids under 18 years of age.

    This is what happens when generation after generation of kids are raised by other kids in the same situation. At some point you have to start at the youngest age group in the demographic and understand that it will probably be a couple of decades before you see any significant results. You have to start at the source of the issue, and the source is generation after generation of children being brought up in an environment of steadily decreasing hope.

    I choose to live in a poor part of town, but I do that because I finally recognized that if I live our in the pristine world of upper middle class and upper class white folk, I have nothing in my daily life other than what I see in the news to motivate me to personally try to figure out how to help fix where we are. Living where I do I’m face to face with the real issues up close and personal every day. It’s depressing and it’s not the unicorns and rainbows of wealthier suburbs, but I can tell you with out doubt that in the two years since moving here, it’s made me a far more conscious citizen and made me want to understand why things are as they are in this world that is so far from where I’ve spent most of my life.

    Reparations is a “hell no” from my perspective, but there is tremendous justification for spending funding on mentoring and education of kids who are growing up thinking you have to take (i.e. steal) because you are never going to earn a damned thing playing by the rules. That mentality is completely wrong, but it’s accurate as hell when it’s all you see around you from the day you are born (i.e. remember, 40% children in Memphis live under the poverty line). Saying “pull up your boot straps and get motivated to change your situation” is a great tag line in motivational speeches, but it’s hard to find that motivation when you are living in surroundings that both look and feel hopeless.

    Bitching about crime and ignoring the how people get into that kind of life helps no one. If you don’t care enough to actually participate in understand what’s driving the negative trends and actively trying to change the world around you, it’s pretty hard to justify complaining when it not only doesn’t change, but gets worse by the day. “Woke” is a bunch of retards (yes I said it) claiming to be justice warriors. Don’t be one of those idiots, but DO be someone who cares enough about the world outside your own to allow yourself to be bothered with lifting someone up, rather than ignoring their plight.

    • Well said. There is an elephant in the room that will continue to disrupt our society, and it is not likely to be influenced by politicians or misguided academics. One institution that has salvaged some of these broken youngsters is the armed forces, but it seems they too are going wobbly on woke issues.

    • See https://blog.essentialed.com/students/army-ged for example. For someone without a high school diploma, getting into the military is unlikely. The U.S. military also insists on a high Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score, which has a 0.8 correlation with IQ (same as the SAT) and IQ is both correlated with income and heritable.

    • @Scott – I think you’ve identified the problem but not a workable solution. Once the state becomes your family, socialism is inevitable.

    • philg, thanks for those links – looks like I’m stuck in the 1980’s on this subject. Hard to believe they could persuade a middle-class infantry to embark on an exploit like Iraq (I believe our original strikes into Afghanistan were justified as proportionate actions to disrupt bin Laden and AQ) Iraq was bald hubris worthy of McNamara and Friends.
      This selectivity may explain why our expeditions quickly turn into hunkered-down Color Zones obsessed with force protection.

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