Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts is an 8th-generation Floridian, born and bred in Tallahassee, which probably explains her unhealthy fascination with Florida politics. Educated at Florida State University and Oxford University in England, she has been writing for newspapers since 1983, when she began producing columns on the legislature for the Florida Flambeau. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times of London, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and Flamingo. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the St. Petersburg Times–back when that was the Tampa Bay Times’s name–and a long-time columnist for the paper in both its iterations. She was a commentator on NPR for 22 years and continues to contribute radio essays and opinion pieces to the BBC. Roberts is also the author of four books, most recently Dream State, an historical memoir of her Florida family, and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America. She lives in Tallahassee, except for the times she runs off to Great Britain, desperate for a different government to satirize.


To conservatives, history is bunk. ‘All that’s in the past: Why bring it up’?

By: - July 12, 2021

Ron DeSantis hates our freedoms — and rightfully so. Why should Florida allow eggheads like me to go around teaching impressionable students about, say, the Rosewood Massacre in 1923, when dozens of Black people were tortured and murdered by a white mob in Levy County while law enforcement turned a blind eye. Or maybe that […]


Across Anglo-America, anti-woke crusaders can’t handle history’s complexity

By: - June 28, 2021

LONDON — People love to tour the stately homes of England, imagining themselves taking tea in the library at Highclere Castle (the real Downton Abbey) or sporting a tiara at a Bridgerton-style ball in some Palladian mansion, just as they like to relish the gracious plantation houses of the South: Oak Alley in Louisiana, Brandon […]


Some countries are better than others at confronting their dark histories

By: - June 8, 2021

LONDON — The United States is not alone in struggling with the endemic racism of its past — and present. The United Kingdom is also trying to reckon with the way much of its empire was built on slavery. Britain has its own Black Lives Matter movement and, even during the coronavirus pandemic, this diverse […]

Regarding critical race theory: Can we talk about American history like grown ups?

By: - May 28, 2021

Florida State University’s new president will be Richard McCullough of Harvard. Probably. The state Board of Governors must still ratify his selection when they meet in late June, and while it’s unlikely they’ll put forth another candidate, it’s not impossible. They are political animals, and higher education in Florida — as in other red states […]


Richard Corcoran is not FSU president material, in part because he’s an enemy of public education

By: - May 19, 2021

Florida State University’s Presidential Search Committee has refused to put Florida’s irascible Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on its short list. He should never have been on any list. He’s not FSU president material. FSU is a public institution. Corcoran’s an enemy of public education, an ardent supporter of school vouchers. He graduated from a private […]


DeSantis and his confederates in FL’s GOP Legislature: They don’t care about bettering the state

By: - May 7, 2021

Every year, I think the Florida Legislature can’t get any worse. Every year, I’m wrong. Let’s start with the hypocrisy. Republicans used to embrace local government, piously insisting that government closest to the people is best, and that “Tallahassee” doesn’t know what St. Pete, Palatka, or Palm Beach need. But now that city and county […]


Notes on the rise and fall of the Anglo-Saxon Caucus and its Florida fellow travelers

By: - April 26, 2021

“America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” — America First Caucus You may have heard that some of the most MAGA-ty of the congressional MAGA types — Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Duelling Banjos; Paul Gosar, R-Trump Tower; plus our own Matt Gaetz, […]


U.S. Rep Gaetz epitomizes the present state of the state of FL: cocky, clueless, and in a heap of trouble

By: - April 12, 2021

Matt Gaetz is not a prince among men. OK, maybe since he’s been accused of having sex with a 17 year-old, you might call him a Prince Andrew. Definitely not a Prince Charming. But even Prince Andrew didn’t go around showing naked pictures of women (one reportedly deploying a hula hoop) and bragging about bedding […]


Think every citizen has the right to vote? Not around here

By: - March 29, 2021

Voting: It’s not for everyone. The Founding Fathers only wanted some of us to vote, not all of us, and who are we to question rich, white, slave-holding gents from the 18th century? To that end, the Republican Party is working overtime to make it much, much harder for the wrong sort to go around […]


Some compassion, please, for Anthony Sabatini, ‘the worst person in the Florida Legislature’

By: - March 15, 2021

Pity Rep. Anthony Sabatini. He’s like an over-stimulated chihuahua at a crowded party, yapping for attention and never getting enough. Now he says he’s running for Congress to make America more greater again, again. Give him a Milk-bone, poor little fellow. Sabatini began his IED of a political career in 2016 as a member of […]


Sen. Baxley’s Big Idea: Let’s take scholarship money away from college kids who want to major in useless subjects like art, history, philosophy

By: - March 5, 2021

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Republicans in possession of both legislative chambers, must mess with higher education in Florida. Controlling unruly universities was a lot easier back in Olden Times, when the state contributed most of their budgets. But since 2005, state support for state universities is down nearly 30 percent to a […]


FL’s 2021 legislative session: A smelly storm of Bad Ideas

By: - February 23, 2021

It’s that time of year, dear readers, when the Florida Legislature gets ready to descend upon Tallahassee like a flock of incontinent pigeons. The 2021 Session will be a smelly storm of Bad Ideas, the likes of which you haven’t seen since Rick Scott, last seen on the U.S. Senate floor coloring in a blank […]