The NAACP’s recent travel advisory warning black Americans against visiting Florida has prompted a strong backlash from Florida Republicans. Despite the fact that the NAACP’s own chairman, Leon W. Russell, and another board member, Karen B. Towns, have close ties to the state and frequently vacation there themselves, they are urging others to boycott it. The travel advisory claims that Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis is erasing black history by removing critical race theory from schools. However, many conservatives are pointing out the absurdity of the NAACP’s claims and are calling out the organization for its hypocritical stance.
The recent travel advisory issued by the NAACP warning Black Americans against visiting Florida has been met with pushback from Florida Republicans, who contend that the civil rights group’s own members enjoy vacationing in the state. Leon W. Russell, the NAACP chairman who lives in Florida, and Karen B. Towns, a co-chair and board member who frequents Clearwater, are among those who issued the travel advisory.
Despite their deep connections to the state, the NAACP’s warning calls for African Americans to boycott Florida over claims that Governor Ron DeSantis is erasing Black history by getting rid of critical race theory in schools.
One Florida GOP member, Chairman Christian Ziegler, has even gone so far as to offer to help Russell relocate to a different state. This offer comes as part of a broader conservative backlash against the NAACP’s travel warning and the organization’s allegations that DeSantis is a threat to Black history education.
Russell, who has lived in Florida for his entire adult life after growing up in Virginia, is among the many Floridians who are proud to call the state their home. However, his support for the travel advisory and criticism of DeSantis is a source of tension with Florida Republicans who believe that the governor is working to improve education and promote unity in the state.
To be sure, DeSantis has been a vocal supporter of promoting patriotic education in Florida schools in place of divisive and controversial critical race theory. The governor believes that the best way to honor American history and promote a shared sense of national identity is through promoting traditional civics education.
In contrast, the NAACP’s travel advisory is a clear attempt to stir up division and promote a radical political agenda. By urging African Americans to avoid Florida, the group is engaging in political fearmongering that does nothing to promote unity or address the real challenges facing Black communities in America.
It is regrettable that the NAACP has chosen to use its platform to pursue such a divisive and unproductive political agenda. The people of Florida, regardless of race or ethnicity, deserve better than this sort of political grandstanding.
It is clear that Florida Republicans will not stand idly by as the NAACP spreads false information about their state. The fact that the organization’s own chairman and board members have close ties to Florida only underscores the farcical nature of their travel advisory. With many conservatives pushing back against critical race theory and the false narratives surrounding it, it is unsurprising that the NAACP’s claims are falling on deaf ears. Instead of calling for unjust boycotts, the NAACP should focus on real solutions to uplift the black community and promote unity rather than division.