Speed Reads

Don't Say Slave

NAACP, other rights groups warn tourists to avoid DeSantis' 'openly hostile' Florida

The NAACP issued a travel advisory over the weekend warning Black and gay or trans tourists that "Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals." Before traveling to the Sunshine State, the civil rights group added, "please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by, African Americans and other communities of color." Tourism is one of Florida's biggest industries.

The NAACP advisory, approved Saturday, joins similar warnings issued last week from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and last month by the gay rights group Equality Florida. All three warnings cite laws recently signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). LULAC pointed to new laws it sees as aggressively and illegally anti-immigrant, while Equity Florida criticized Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law and newer bans on gender-affirming care and efforts to remove books from school libraries. Throw in the loosening of gun restriction and the raft of news laws "pose a serious risk to the health and safety of those traveling to the state," the group said.

The NAACP pointed to "DeSantis' aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs in Florida schools," calling them in "direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon." DeSantis in January rejected a high school Advanced Placement course on African American studies, for example, and he signed a statewide ban on public school and private businesses requiring certain racial sensitively training. 

DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern called the travel advisory "a stunt."

Whitewashing U.S. history is nothing new for DeSantis, The Washington Post said Sunday in a review of a book the governor published in 2011 that has recently "disappeared." In the book, "Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama," DeSantis "dismisses slavery as a 'personal flaw' of the Founding Fathers, irrelevant to the really important stuff: context-free, cherry-picked quotes from James Madison and Alexander Hamilton," the Post reports.

The book is no longer available as an e-book and the only used copy the Post could find was selling for $1,950. "Fortunately," the newspaper says, it "purchased a digital copy last summer, in anticipation that it may someday become more relevant," and with DeSantis about to launch a presidential bid, "that time has come." Read more at The Washington Post.