The national obsession with a middle-school curriculum in Florida has been going on for weeks, and that’s not because it’s an especially interesting controversy. As usual, playing politics is the real motivation.
Things began when Kamala Harris, likely pushed by one of her staffers, decided to claim that Florida was teaching that black Americans benefited from slavery. Eventually, because everyone seems to want a piece of Ron DeSantis these days, Republican candidates (and their official surrogates), including Tim Scott, Donald Trump, and Mike Pence, jumped on the bandwagon.
All the while, those who actually wrote the curriculum, such as Dr. William B. Allen, repeatedly pointed out that the standards don’t include any mention of slavery being beneficial. Rather, the mention of skills (and any benefits derived from them) was meant to convey that former slaves used things like being able to read and write to help their families, or in the case of someone like Frederick Douglass, help the nation. To bolster that contention, an almost identical passage in the original AP curriculum, which was rejected to the shrieks of the White House, was unearthed.
Any intellectually honest person knew from the beginning the entire controversy was manufactured because it’s never been taboo in the past to share stories of former slaves benefiting themselves and others by becoming inventors, entrepreneurs, and famous writers. In fact, it would be wrong to bury those stories, but when DeSantis is involved, all that matters is sheer hysteria in pursuit of political gain.
The situation came to a head on Monday when DeSantis decided enough was enough. He sent an official invitation to Kamala Harris to meet with him and Dr. Allen to discuss exactly what is included in the curriculum. If she were truly concerned, surely she’d take DeSantis up on the offer, right? That is unless she’s been bluffing this whole time.
Yeah, she was bluffing this whole time.
JUST IN: Kamala Harris responds to DeSantis’ invitation to meet and discuss new African American history standards
“Well I’m here in Florida […] There is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate [that] there were no redeeming qualities of slavery.” pic.twitter.com/ckJt3aM3bQ
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) August 1, 2023
HARRIS: Well, I’m here in Florida, and I will tell you, there is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate an undeniable fact. There were no redeeming qualities of slavery.
And as I said last week when I was again here in Florida, we will not stop calling out and fighting back against extremist so-called leaders who try to prevent our children from learning our full and true history.
It’s just incredible to see her cowardice on display being covered with such a comical facade of self-righteousness. She claims to know what’s in the standards, so much so that she’s gone to Florida twice in less than a month to rail against them, yet she refuses to sit down with a renowned intellectual like Dr. Allen to discuss her supposed concerns.
It’s all theater, and everyone knows it. Instead of showing she possesses any semblance of a backbone, Harris chose to once again repeat the lie that Florida’s curriculum states there were “redeeming qualities of slavery.”
Think about the implications of that. According to the false framing Harris and others are promoting, children can never be taught that any former slave ever did anything that benefited themselves or others lest slavery itself become beneficial. What a horribly cynical viewpoint. Stories of perseverance and triumph over evil are an incredibly important part of human history, but if Harris had her way, they’d be erased completely.