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What Happens in Florida Stays in Florida

  • January​ 22, 2024

The coastal state of Florida is home to many controversial and wild occurrences. With rampant alligators and angry “Karen” citizens, Florida presents itself at the forefront of many internet memes and controversy. However, more pressing issues in Florida have surfaced, ones that are not as comical. In 2023, the Floridian government-imposed bans on several children's educational books. While one might naturally assume that these books were deemed inappropriate or harmful, the reality could not be further from the truth.

Many of these children’s books promoted cultural representation, appreciation, and lgbtq inclusivity. These cultural books were about highlighting ethnic foods, music, upbringing, and successful or impactful ethnic figures. The question is, why were these children’s books banned? The Floridian governor, Ron Desantis, claims that these books would be “sending the wrong narrative.” What narrative about cultural appreciation is so morally vice? What narrative about ethnic embrace and pride is harmful to children, and to society? There is no narrative or agenda about these cultural books that in any way threatens the children of America. These books were made for children of color to feel recognized and appreciated in American literature. These books were made for children of color to feel comfortable in their own skin and culture. 

Lgbtq inclusivity in the education system has sparked much controversy in American society. Many concerned parents worry that with the implementation of lgbtq education, children will be confused about their identity. However, when does this apprehension of lgbtq inclusivity become homophobia? This fine line was made clear when Ron DeSantis once again banned another book, “And Tango Makes Three.” This children’s book tells the tale of two male penguins who take in a baby penguin to create a family together. How could a wholesome story promoting family and love be deemed malicious? It was deemed malicious by DeSantis because it told the tale of homosexual couples.

The concerns of the integration of lgbtq inclusivity in literature or education are heard and acknowledged. However, one must understand that this is about including the lgbtq community in history, and is not about forcing their identities on others. The lgbtq community has been shunned from television, art, and literature throughout history. Thereby making people who do have feelings or identities that fall under the lgbtq community apprehensive about coming out, or have struggles with accepting their true identity. By representing the lgbtq community in literature, it won’t create confusion about their children’s identity. Rather, it will allow the children who are in the lgbtq community to feel safe and represented. 

While alligators run rampant and Karens storm the local grocery stores in Florida, innocent books promoting inclusivity for minorities are being banned. If this spreads across the states, chaos will ensue. What happens in Florida, should stay in Florida.

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