Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Inflammatory Rhetoric


Ron DeSantis didn’t listen. No wonder Jacksonville booed him

Opinion by Noah Berlatsky 8/28/2023

Three people were killed on Saturday in a Jacksonville Dollar Store by a racist white man who said he “hated black people” and decorated his weapon with swastikas. Governor Ron DeSantis tried to speak at a vigil for the murdered victims, but was roundly booed. 

Florida state representative Angie Nixon responded to the community’s anger, saying “at the end of the day, the governor has blood on his hands.”

Nixon is right. DeSantis, and the GOP, have created a climate where violent, racist terrorists have the means and inspiration to commit horrific acts of violence against Black people and other marginalized communities. An increasingly rabid gun rights movement has been cultivated, and with it rabid racist rhetoric, because of what? A political advantage to capitalize on paranoia and hate. And when followers are fed this diet, the result is a political movement that encourages acts of racist political violence.

DeSantis, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, has placed himself on the extreme right of the party. That means he has enthusiastically embraced both guns and racism. In April, he signed a law allowing people in Florida to carry concealed guns without a permit.

Ron DeSantis at Jacksonville vigil

He’s been even more notorious nationwide for his legislative attack on the teaching of Black history. DeSantis claims that teaching lessons about racism makes white students feel “uncomfortable” – an inflammatory argument that suggests even speaking about Black people’s experiences harms white children. DeSantis’ anti-history dictate resulted in banning AP African-American history in the state. The NAACP responded by issuing a travel advisory for Florida. “Under the leadership of Governor Desantis, the state of Florida has become hostile to Black Americans,” said NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson.

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[Angie] Nixon believes that DeSantis has been engaged in an attack on the Black community. “We have repeatedly told him what his rhetoric was going to do,” she said. But DeSantis didn’t listen. Instead, he doubled down. Based on his statements and his actions, he wants his followers to believe that Black people, Black history, and Black existence are a threat. He wants them to think that guns are a solution to every threat. And as long as that’s the case, Florida is going to see more horrific racist murders like those in Jacksonville.

Read more in the MSN article "Gov. Ron DeSantis, known for pro-gun and 'anti-woke' policies, booed at vigil for Black Jacksonville shooting victims"

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