Ah, Florida! The hottest tourist getaway where you can refine your tan, stoke your adrenaline on Disney World rides, and soak up state-sanctioned prejudice and ignorance under the sun. Joining fellow civil rights groups League of United Latin American Citizens and Equality Florida, the NAACP issued a travel advisory for the Sunshine State to warn tourists about the laws and policies that are “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.” If Stefon from SNL were in charge of promoting DeSantisLand—gawd forbid!—he’d say this hot spot has everything. The Don’t Say Gay Bill and anti-trans legislation. The Stop WOKE Act and anti-CRT itchies. Anti-immigrant bills and border crisis scaries. And open-carry assault weapons to glow up your belts.
Florida’s dystopian theme park makeover didn’t take place in a vacuum or overnight. We have this selection of our authors’ books to wrap our heads around what happened and as a reminder to heed the NAACP’s advisory until the gun-shaped peninsula gets it act together. Whenever that will be. How harrowing yet on-brand American that relics like the Green Book can’t be called relics in the twenty-first century.
Prong I: Don’t Say Gay Bill and Anti-Trans Legislation
“If we are erased from the history books, then how can we ever know who we are? This absence, this erasure, denies us the right and the ability to use our history as a guide, to feel pride in the heroism and accomplishments of the LGBTQ people who came before us. And it denies us the ability to use this history as a guide to the future so we can follow in their footsteps.”
—Michael Bronski and Richie Chevat
“Our histories have been erased and whitewashed. We are told that transness is new, that transition is unprecedented. We know this to be patently untrue, but anti-transness continues to find new ways to protect the binary (see the contemporary emergence of gender reveal parties). It remains up to us to track down and preserve our own histories for ourselves. Leslie’s work showed me that it was possible to make history—to find, create, and archive the histories of those who laid the groundwork for us, who showed us how to move beyond the gender binary, and who existed all throughout time as their most full, beautiful, and expansive selves.”
—Tourmaline, from the introduction of the twenty-fifth anniversary edition
Verbal and physical attacks on Black lesbian feminists may seem surprising to some, as if they belong to a less enlightened era, but they are predictable in times of our high activity and visibility. Regardless of the risk, however, we Black queer and trans women have been on the front lines of anti-police and Black liberation organizing in the United States. We have been there after Black men and boys have been slain by police officers and vigilantes. We have shown up, even when masses have not, after a Black woman, girl, or trans, or queer, or gender-nonconforming person has been killed. And we will continue to show up. What we choose to support and oppose defines our politics.
—Charlene A. Carruthers
“Rather than being threatening to others, the visibility of trans and gender-nonconforming people contributes to the well-being of youth, both trans and cis, and to a safer, more civil society. Exposure to trans and gender-nonconforming individuals benefits our society both directly and indirectly. Normalizing transgender and gender-nonconforming lives through visibility on television, in movies, and in daily life offers role models people can identify with, especially during the agonizing process of coming out.”
—Laura Erickson-Schroth and Laura A. Jacobs
Prong II: Stop WOKE Act and Anti-CRT Legislation
“I wrote this book because as a scholar I want to ensure that no Latinx or Black children ever again have to be ashamed of who they are and of where they come from. Collectively speaking, African Americans and Latinx people have nothing to apologize for. Every democratic right we enjoy is an achievement that our ancestors fought, suffered, and died for. When I was growing up, their struggle was not part of the curriculum.”
“Critical race theory is kryptonite for the myth of color-blindness and helps cut through the bullshit of postracial propaganda by specifying the role of social institutions (especially laws and legal practices) in reproducing racism. From a critical race perspective, the United States is not (and never was) a benevolent ‘nation of immigrants.’ Rather, it is a nation of settler-colonialism, genocide, white nationalism, racial slavery, legal torture, and institutionalized rape. Since the inception of this country, laws and legal practices systematically favored whites economically, politically, and socially . . . From this perspective, laws and legal institutions within this country have continually converted white identity into a valuable, exclusive mechanism for maintaining power.”
—Crystal M. Fleming
“When Peruvian American George Zimmerman killed unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin for walking in his neighborhood in 2012, Zimmerman’s relatives and defenders insisted that the murder was not racist because Zimmerman was Latino. Zimmerman’s brother Robert explicitly stated that Zimmerman was not “some kind of mythological racist monster [because] he is actually a Hispanic non-racist person.” All of which strongly suggests that sociologist George Yancey’s survey research indicating that Latinos (unlike African Americans) are more disposed to believing that Latinos cannot be racist is also applicable in the more extreme context of physical violence and murder.”
—Tanya Katerí Hernández
“As we’ve seen with the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black seventeen-year-old gunned down by an armed citizen in a Florida suburb in 2012, perceptions of threat are in the eye of the beholder. Defensive lethal violence by armed citizens shares a historical genealogy with contemporary police violence, in that the usual targets are most commonly people of color . . . If Black men are widely perceived as intrinsically dangerous, they do not need to be armed to be seen as a threat to public safety.”
“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. The large house in which we live demands that we transform this worldwide neighborhood into a worldwide brotherhood.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr., “The World House”
Prong III: Anti-Immigrant Sentiment and Legislation
“Despite the many differences in national origin, language, faith, generational status, and socioeconomic status of Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans, and Indians, anti-Asian hate in the United States wove their fates together. The linkage between Asian bodies and diseases was only one strand of this pattern of hatred. Economic and sexual competition, imperial and colonial hierarchies, and wartime politics were others. At moments of various crises beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century, they incited egregious forms of anti-Asian violence in the United States.”
—Catherine Ceniza Choy
“When US Americans talk with fear or hate about ‘Latinos’ or ‘Hispanics,’ or that ‘there are too many of them,’ they are talking about Mexican Americans, not Cuban Americans or Argentine Americans. And the Mexican American population in the US at thirty-seven million does dwarf all other Latino groups, the second and third largest being Cuban Americans and Salvadoran Americans at over two million each. Importantly, unlike other Latin American nations, there is an ancient connection between Central México and the southeast and southwest, and beyond, of what is now the United States, with migrations, roads, and trade routes . . . Although not enunciated by the Mexican haters in the US, this affinity of north and south threatens the legitimacy of settler colonialism and the artificial border that the United States established and militarized but cannot control. Mexican hating is a form of Indian hating.”
“Immigration laws are a central, but often unrecognized, part of the white supremacist vision of the United States as a white country. The idea of restricting immigration to protect a white identity connects the immigration crackdown of the Trump administration, the eugenics and race pseudoscience of the immigration restrictions in the 1920s, and the anti-Chinese movement of the 1880s. In the great replacement version of America, new immigrants are not seen as like-minded workers drawn to the ideal of the American dream. Instead, they are an existential threat to the white character of the country. Although immigration restrictions are described as protecting American jobs, they are fundamentally about protecting white supremacy.”
“Citizenship stripping runs counter to the popular perception of the United States as an open, tolerant, and multicultural nation of immigrants, welcoming not only newcomers but also new cultures, religions, and beliefs. That perception is rooted in fact. From the beginning of the nineteenth century to the start of the twentieth, the United States became the new home for three-fifths of the world’s immigrants, and it continued to take in more immigrants than any other country throughout the twentieth century. . . . And yet the United States is often at war with that identity, at times embracing exclusionary and intolerant policies ranging from Jim Crow to racially restrictive immigration rules to McCarthyism.”
About the Author
Christian Coleman is the digital marketing manager at Beacon Press and editor of Beacon Broadside. Before joining Beacon, he worked in writing, copy editing, and marketing positions at Sustainable Silicon Valley and Trikone. He graduated from Boston College and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Follow him on Twitter at @.