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.


Donald Trump’s and Ron DeSantis’ alternative reality: If you call yourself a ‘great environmentalist’ you are one

By: - September 15, 2020

You will be thrilled, if perhaps surprised, to hear that Donald Trump is a “great environmentalist.” He said so himself — in Jupiter (the town in Florida, not the planet), where he declared he was “number one since Teddy Roosevelt,” bragged about his eco-friendliness, and signed an order extending the ban on oil drilling off […]


Donald Trump’s RNC was an orgy of nepotism and white panic

By: - August 31, 2020

A Whiter Shade of Pale: On Day One of the Republican National Convention, Charlie Kirk called Donald Trump “the bodyguard of Western Civilization.” Kirk, a pasty youth not to be confused with that smirking MAGA hat brat from Kentucky (the kid railed against the media on the second night) or the equally pasty blonde owner […]


Kamala Harris confounds the white enforcers of America’s racial lines

By: - August 21, 2020

That Sen. Caramel Harris or however you mispronounce her name? She’s not black. Yeah, she went to Howard University, a historically black institution, alma mater of Black History Month founder Carter G. Woodson, opera diva Jessye Norman, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael, Peggy Quince, the first African American woman on […]


Amid COVID-19, student athletes are revolting against the football plantation culture

By: - August 10, 2020

Sometimes a man — or, say, a 19 or 20 year-old kid — must be willing to sacrifice, to risk death for the greater good, the larger cause. Sacrifice is what America’s all about — as long as it’s sacrifice of other (usually younger, browner, poorer) people, who, in this case, must offer themselves up […]


Oh, for a return to the days when the Grand Old Party was actually grand

By: - July 27, 2020

Younger readers may find it impossible to believe, but many Republicans used to be perfectly reasonable people. Some of them were even what you might now call “progressive,” deep believers in racial equality, women’s rights, and environmental stewardship. Without Nathaniel Reed of Jupiter Island, every inch of South Florida would have been paved during the […]


Trump has dragged America back to full-on Lost Cause craziness

By: - July 13, 2020

The surrender at Appomattox was Fake News. The white South was just playing possum, lying low till another John C. Calhoun (who called slavery “a positive good”) or Nathan Bedford Forrest (slave-trader, Klan founder: What’s not to like?) arose to lead the light-complected to the pale Promised Land, and lo! when Donald Trump took the […]


This heritage isn’t worth preserving

By: - June 29, 2020

NASCAR banned the Battle Flag. Quaker Oats fired Aunt Jemima. Jeff Davis has been run off Monument Avenue. There was a time America would have defended her heritage, from the racing that got its start in running loads of untaxed ‘shine down the mountain to the pancake mix that changed the world (or breakfast, anyway) […]


Excuse us, Trump’s America — your white sheet is showing

By: - June 15, 2020

Later this summer, on Aug. 27, Donald Trump will deliver a speech accepting the Republican Party nomination for re-election in Jacksonville — named for a genocidal slave-holder — on the 60th anniversary of the day the Ku Klux Klan and a mob of fellow-traveling white folks beat peaceful civil rights protesters with ax handles. Later […]


Our Gov is hiding in the Mansion trying to figure out how to talk to people of color who appear to be upset

By: - June 8, 2020

The American Empire is disintegrating before our very eyes, but what the hell? This is Florida: The beaches are open, baby! Still, a little guidance, some stirring words from the white folks in charge, wouldn’t go amiss. The state’s racking up between 600 and 1,400 new COVID-19 cases every day, totally messing up football practice […]


Republicans can try to run from science, but they can’t hide

By: - May 26, 2020

Donald Trump and his government minions don’t know nothing about no damn science and boy, are they proud of it. Rudy Giuliani went on Fox last month to sneer at contact tracing to track the virus, wondering why, since obesity, cancer, and heart disease also kill you dead, we don’t contact trace for those bad […]


Hellooooo: FL needs visionary leadership, not boneheadedness

By: - May 11, 2020

The writer (and biochemist) Isaac Asimov famously decried the “false notion,” all too common in America, “that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” This is practically the national creed, epitomized by the person who won’t wear a face mask because it infringes on his “freedoms;” or the anti-vaccination movement […]


Rick Scott, a man of no sympathy for “whiners who lost their little jobs” and try to access FL’s glitch-prone, crash-happy unemployment system

By: - April 29, 2020

Florida’s junior US senator is quite a guy–as he’d be the first to tell you. He’s worth over $250 million, and you’re not. Rick Scott has no sympathy for these grasping whiners who lost their little jobs in the coronavirus pandemic and now have the gall to expect a government hand-out. Who do they think […]