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I recently posted a blog about current exhibits at The University of Florida’s Harn. I was especially taken by Posing Beauty, a collection that “explores the way African American beauty has been represented in historical and contemporary context..”
I really urge you to get to The Harn and see this exhibit. And not just because it only runs through June 4th.
No, you really need to see this exhibit because after Gov. DeSanitizer and his Puppet Legislature finishes their work this session, the Harn may never again be free to mount this sort of…well, some in the GOP halls of power would surely consider it DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) indoctrination. As such it would violate, if not the letter, certainly the spirit of Florida Law.
These images are not only stunning. They are also thought-provoking. There is a scene of Black Panther members outside their headquarters. A beaten and abused Black Man wearing manacles. The actress Pam Grier brandishes a shotgun in a decidedly provocative “Black Power” pose.
This sort of display cannot be allowed to stand in The DeSanitizer’s Free State Of Florida.
A bill making its way through his Puppet Legislature would almost certainly render such future exhibits illegal.
“The bill prohibits the promotion or support of any campus activities that ‘espouse diversity, equity and inclusion or critical race theory rhetoric.’ This goes far beyond simply ending DEI programming, and could make many campus speakers, as well as student organizations like Black student unions, verboten.” Michelle Goldberg, in a February New York Times column.
If you really believe The DeSanitizer’s assault on higher education is simple intended to keep innocent freshmen from being indoctrinated by Marxist professors, you are fooling yourself.
Once an authoritarian regime begins to wield state censorship in iron fist fashion, it inevitably turns its attention to the arts.
As author E.L. Ewing wrote “artists play a distinctive role in challenging authoritarianism. Art creates pathways for subversion, for political understanding and solidarity among coalition builders. Art teaches us that lives other than our own have value. Like the proverbial court jester who can openly mock the king in his own court, artists who occupy marginalized social positions can use their art to challenge structures of power in ways that would otherwise be dangerous or impossible.”
“Authoritarian leaders throughout history have intuited this fact and have acted accordingly.”
This isn’t about “liberating” Florida higher education of liberal thought. This is nothing less than all-out war on the freedom to think critically, to question authority, and, ultimately, to challenge the political, social and economic status quo.
History tells us that art is always an early casualty when authoritarians wage a war on culture.
The Puppet Legislature seems willing to cater to The DeSanitizer’s every authoritarian whim. Floridians who insist on thinking for themselves, and especially those who value art for civilization’s sake, need to walk up to this clear and present danger.