Ron DeSantis reminds us that he is as homophobic as he is racist

Michael Arceneaux
Published in
4 min readJan 24, 2023

The Florida governor used a press conference to explain why queer theory is behind the banning of an AP African American studies course.

Photo: @GovRonDeSantis/Twitter

On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis defended his racism by invoking his homophobia.

DeSantis has come under fire for banning the College Board’s Advanced Placement class in African American Studies.

In his first comments since the banning, DeSantis said the state blocked the course because it included the study of “queer theory” and political movements that advocated for “abolishing prisons.”

“This course, when I heard it didn’t meet the standards. I figured, ‘Yeah, they may be doing CRT,’’’ DeSantis explained at a press conference in Jacksonville.

“It’s way more than that. This course on Black history, what [is] one of the lessons about? Queer Theory. Now, who would say that’s an important part of Black history, Queer Theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids.”

“That’s a political agenda,” DeSantis added.

Meanwhile, gay Black me is wondering what closet President DeSantis would try to stuff me in if given the chance.

“That’s the wrong side of the line for Florida standards,” he continued. “We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think, but we don’t believe they should have an agenda imposed on them when you try to use Black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes.”

Florida’s education commissioner, Manny Díaz Jr., referred to the course as “woke indoctrination masquerading as education” and took to Twitter to dismiss criticism of the decision.

“Despite the lies from the Biden White House, Florida rejected an AP course filled with Critical Race Theory and other obvious violations of Florida law. We proudly require the teaching of African American history. We do not accept woke indoctrination masquerading as education,” Díaz tweeted.

“As we’ve said all along, if College Board decides to revise its course to comply with Florida law, we will come back to the table.”

In other words, remove all talk of queer people and anything that might cause people to reimagine the way we handle crime in society.

DeSantis echoed this sentiment in so many words via subsequent comments made at the press conference:

“We want to do history, and that’s what our standards for Black history are. It’s just cut and dried history. You learn all the basics you learn about the great figures, and you know, I view it as American history. I don’t view it as separate history. You know, we have history in lots of different shapes and sizes, people that have participated to make the country great, people that have stood up when it wasn’t easy and they all deserve to be taught. But abolishing prisons being taught to high school kids as if that’s somehow a fact? No, no, that’s not appropriate.”

I keep hearing how DeSantis is supposed to be a “smarter Trump” yet he always sounds like your average Republican idiot to me. Him going to an Ivy League school doesn’t make him any less dumb. It only makes him as lucky as every other white man like him that skates thanks to his ability to stoke people’s prejudices.

But it’s hard to convince the press corps to let go of their biases and blindspots, though.

Ron DeSantis operates under the assumption that his political ascension is directly related to how well he can troll his way to the presidency.

This banning and the posturing behind the choice at this presser is a continuation of that strategy.

DeSantis is not a skilled politician to me, but he is adept at managing to make bigoted policy sound reasonable to a public already conditioned to fall for it.

When DeSantis brings up “queer theory,” he is hoping people’s minds race to the logic that their children can be tricked into questioning their sexuality by the mere mention of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. That is the entire argument behind his “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. It’s more of that “groomer” bullshit perpetuated by conservative media.

The same can be said of teaching anything beyond the virtues of locking people up in prisons.

If only the press coverage surrounding DeSantis fixated less on whether or not he will replace Donald Trump as the head of the Republican Party and more on what even makes him considered to be a political heir: his bigotry.

I still highly doubt DeSantis can topple Trump in a Republican primary, but my main concern lies with the people he targets with his policies and rhetoric.

This is a person actively trying to erase Black history and the LGBTQ community with the power of the state government behind him — and succeeding.

A lot of that has to do with the complicity of the press unwilling to humanize those DeSantis seeks to dehumanize.

Even if he fails miserably in his quest to become president, he will make bigger targets of Black folk and queer folk in his state, and all Floridians, dumber and more intolerable than ever before.



Michael Arceneaux

New York Times bestselling author of “I Can’t Date Jesus” and “I Don’t Want To Die Poor.”