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Black Floridians Slam Ron DeSantis in the wake of Jacksonville Shooting

Black Floridians Slam Ron DeSantis in the wake of Jacksonville Shooting

In the wake of the tragic Jacksonville shooting, floundering presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, who has failed to gain any ground on front-runner Donald Trump, now finds himself at odds with the Florida black community.

DeSantis has already raised the ire of crucial African-American voters in Florida with his controversial policies regarding race education in public schools. Now, the Florida Governor is coming under fresh scrutiny after an avowed racist gunman killed three Black people over the weekend at a Jacksonville Dollar General store, an attack the Justice Department is investigating as a hate crime.

The white gunman, identified as 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter from neighboring Clay County, had more than 20 pages of writings that expressed open racism toward Black people, found by his parents after the 11-minute rampage, which included Palmeter taking his own life.

“I know for a fact that he did not like Black people,” Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said at a news conference to address the shooting. “He made that very clear.”

Florida’s Black community and beyond have been vocally opposed to the DeSantis administration’s focus on wiping out higher education diversity programs, the teaching of institutional racism to public school students, scrutinizing African American history courses, and drawing a redistricting map that erased northern Florida’s only Black-performing congressional seat, which included the city of Jacksonville.

In May, the NAACP even issued a travel advisory for the state of Florida over DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs.”

“How much can we allow the governor to keep his foot on our neck and not say anything?” said state Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Miami Democrat who is Black. “This is the result of that stuff. It’s not only the result, but it gives individuals who committed this act a hall pass to make it seem like it’s OK.”

Issues of race and education are part of a broader culture war agenda that has defined DeSantis’ time in office and been a hallmark of his 2024 presidential campaign. The agenda regularly has him at odds with civil rights leaders who say his “war on wokeness” is a thinly veiled attempt to go after people of color and other marginalized communities in the state.

Most recently, DeSantis doubled down in defense of his Department of Education releasing education standards that include the idea that some Black people received some “personal benefit” from slavery.

For weeks, as he was trying to reset his presidential campaign after a slow start, DeSantis insisted that some slaves learned skills like how to become a blacksmith while enslaved. That position earned him a torrent of criticism from people who said the move was just another in a long line of politically motivated slights toward the Black community.

That mistrust between DeSantis and Florida’s Black community was on full display Sunday when the governor faced audible boos at a Jacksonville vigil for the three victims — jeering that continued until Jacksonville City Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman, a Black Democrat, asked the crowd to let DeSantis speak.

At the vigil, DeSantis called the gunman a “scumbag.” Jeffrey Rumlin, a Jacksonville pastor who spoke after DeSantis, was more direct.

“At the end of the day, respectfully, governor, he was not a scumbag,” Rumlin said. “He was a racist.”

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  1. Dan tyree

    Yeah right. The governor did it

  2. Mike f

    Desantis has not helped his quest to be president with any of the fights he has engaged in during his second term as governor. It appears that all decisions have been made to shore up his position with the ignorant base, rather than focusing on broader appeal. Unlikely he will ever be elected to a political office in the future…

    • frank stetson

      This guy begged off meeting with Biden on the hurricane flyover because he claims it would slow recovery efforts. Wow, perhaps a first in American history to ditch the President, the guy who just moved heaven and earth to get the funds and support flowing, regardless of politics.

      Wonder what he would say if Biden begged off….

      Saw DeSatan yesterday, at the ole podium, after Team DeSanctimonious trumpeted the fact “he’s coming off the campaign trail to focus solely on support of the recovery efforts. There he was, at the ole “off the campaign trail” podium telling us how swell everything was going, how every resource was fully deployed, everyone busy, everyman on deck, state helping, fed helping, everyone with lazar focus on getting it done. Then, the camera pans and you see lots of flags. And a dozen guys in fatigues, in formation, behind DeSantimonious doing absolutely nothing as if the guys leaning on the shovels during the Depression work-relief teams. In full military gear, sans weapons.

      Sure looked like a parade to me of army guys in a parade to make DeSantis look pretty instead of doing relief work. Something tells me they lost more work there than anything Biden could have done. They were young and fit, they could actually have helped.

      • Dan tyree

        Why do democrats hate black people? The left believes that blacks are too stupid to think for themselves. I think it’s funny that the democrats are so racist and try to cover it up. They still talk about how blacks can’t have ID to vote. Why not? Do we have any commiecrats that can answer the question? Mike F as in fag? Frank? Andy? Anyone? I know this is old news but it’s still being discussed locally.

  3. Jenny

    But isn’t Ron DeSantis Black.

  4. Robin w Boyd

    In this case, DeSantis should have taken the opportunity to address racism and it’s true causes; Progressives and government programs. DeSantis should have condemned hatred for another based solely on their ethnicity. He could have put the blame for the rise in racism where it belongs; on those who differentiate citizens in any way based on our ethnicity. DeSantis lost an opportunity to unify all citizens against all racism.