Last April, State House bill 7 was signed into law in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis claimed the law’s purpose was to protect school children from things like “Critical Race Theory”(CRT) despite that course not being offered anywhere in public schools but only as a graduate level law class. He billed it as a “parent’s rights” bill. Less than a year later, as books about Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente, among others, are being banned in Florida counties, everyone is seeing that this law isn’t about protecting anyone except small minded racists who want to whitewash and bury history.

Apparently, just mentioning that Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente had to deal with racism growing up is unacceptable to the folks in Duval County, Florida. The theme of the book appears to tell us what is what is so objectionable in the book about Aaron …

“Before he was Hammerin’ Hank, Henry Aaron was a young boy growing up in Mobile, Alabama, with what seemed like a foolhardy dream: to be a big-league baseball player. He didn’t have a bat. He didn’t have a ball. And there wasn’t a single black ballplayer in the major leagues. But none of this could stop him.”

This is the summary of the book about Clemente …

“On an island called Puerto Rico, there lived a little boy who wanted only to play baseball. Although he had no money, Roberto Clemente practiced and practiced until—eventually—he made it to the Major Leagues. As a right-fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he fought tough opponents—and even tougher racism—but with his unreal catches and swift feet, he earned his nickname, “The Great One.” He led the Pirates to two World Series, hit three-thousand hits, and was the first Latino to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. But it wasn’t just baseball that made Clemente legendary—he was was also a humanitarian dedicated to improving the lives of others.”

Both books are thoughtful and honest biographies about great men who overcame poverty, racism and other obstacles to reach the pinnacle of their sport. Florida is declaring that unacceptable for children to learn.

Duval County has also banned a book about Jackie Robinson, who was the first player to break the color barrier in baseball.

So, the reality that is now in DeSantis’s Florida is that kids can learn about a sport like baseball that denied allowing any black players until the 1950s — as long as they don’t learn that baseball denied allowing any black players until the 1950s.

In DeSantis’s Florida, racism did not ever exist. Not 50 years ago, not 100 years ago — not ever. Slavery? What slavery? Segregation? Never heard of it.

In addition to this, they have also banned a biography about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor because apparently she too is “inappropriate” for children to learn about.

In total, Duval County has banned 176 books so far. Other counties have seen books banned as well. All of them are being taken off the shelves because of the CRT law and another law DeSantis signed that is commonly referred to as the “don’t say gay” law which nixes any children from learning about people who aren’t straight heterosexuals — even if they live in a home with gay parents.

After DeSantis signed the “don’t say gay” bill his spokesperson declared that anyone who is against the new law is probably a pedophile who wants to groom children.

Duval claims the bans are “temporary” but people aren’t buying it. Even if some books are returned to the shelves, the law DeSantis signed is having the chilling effect that many believe was very intentional. Radical right-wing political and activist groups are scouring books for any sign of mentions of racism, homosexuality, or anything the radical righties deem “inappropriate” to get the book off the shelves.

From there, schools have to run a gauntlet to get them back on the shelves. Hovering over the gauntlet is the threat of jail time for anyone who makes the wrong call according to DeSantis’s courts.

The end result and reality is that in Ron DeSantis’s Florida, they are changing history by censoring it. No one’s rights are being protected except for the “rights” of racists and homophobes.