If you’ve been following the political news of the last week or so, there have been two major stories dominating the headlines. One has been Hunter Biden and his sweetheart plea deal falling apart while the other has been an accusation led by Kamala Harris that Florida’s new education standards teach slavery in a positive light. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the Biden administration cooked up a controversy at the exact moment another embarrassment was embroiling the Biden family.
Regardless, the accusation of promoting slavery in a positive light centers around a single line in over 200 pages of curriculum detailing the horrors of slavery. It reads as follows.
Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some cases, could be applied for their personal benefit.
It wasn’t long before Kamala Harris pounced, and that included a taxpayer-funded trip down to Jacksonville, FL. The vice president presented herself as a freedom fighter, rolling into the state to save the day from nefarious pro-slavery fascists.
In the state of Florida, they decided middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery.
They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not stand for it.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 24, 2023
Extremists here in Florida passed a law, “Don’t Say Gay,” trying to instill fear in our teachers that they should not live their full life and love who they love. (Applause.)
And now, on top of all of that, they want to replace history with lies. Middle school students in Florida to be told that enslaved people benefited from slavery.
Lost amidst all the manufactured outrage was the fact that Ron DeSantis did not write the education standards. Rather, a majority-black independent commission wrote them. Dr. William B. Allen, a member of the commission, spoke publicly in defense of the curriculum.
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) July 25, 2023
ALLEN: Permit not to give you Kamala Harris’ motives. They’re invisible. I don’t know them. We can all have suspicions there’s a dishonest purpose afoot. But what’s more important than that dishonest purpose is the truth, and this curriculum is devoted to telling the truth whereas Kamala Harris has retailed a lie. Now, it may only have been a falsehood the first time she stated it, but when you repeat a falsehood, it becomes a lie.
WATTERS: Tell her right now what specifically this component of the slavery course teaches.
ALLEN: Well, permit me to have Frederick Douglas tell her. He wrote an autobiography in which he described how the mistress of his slave owner began to teach him to read. She pulled back the curtain through which a glimmer of light showed before the master made her close it. But that glimmer of light was enough for Frederick Douglas to illuminate a bright flame that he exploited to his benefit and his country’s benefit thereafter. Such examples are numerous, and they are detailing the stories of those who suffered the indignity of slavery time and again.
And quickly permit me to say, what this curriculum is about is having people who lived the experience, who lived the history, tell their stories. And nothing is more important than that we never, ever erase the stories that people who lived the stories tell. No one has a right to interpret before first understanding the stories as the people who lived them understand them themselves.
Allen’s explanation seems more than reasonable, and it’s exactly what I thought the curriculum was seeking to teach when I first read the line in question. The outrage honestly surprised me because it seemed like a purely semantical argument over the word “benefit” when the curriculum clearly wanted to emphasize stories that were obviously worthy of telling and part of black history, i.e. that freed slaves took the remnants of a terrible, inhumane situation and used it to do great things, from providing for their families to influencing the very foundation of the nation as Frederick Douglas did.
With all that said, there’s been a major plot twist, and given Kamala Harris’ most recent caterwauling, it’s a rather hilarious one.
You may remember the consternation shown by the Biden administration some months prior when Florida first rejected the AP curriculum on black history due to its inclusion of Critical Race Theory. In fact, Harris called the rejection of the course “extremist.”
Take a wild guess at what’s included in that AP course.
Remember when Florida wouldn’t allow that AP African American Studies course because it focused too much on CRT and not enough on history, and the @WhiteHouse lost its mind?
Well, here is one of the standards considered “essential knowledge.”
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) July 27, 2023
Do you know what you call taking learned skills and using them to provide for yourself and others? You call that benefiting from those skills. The above “essential knowledge” point from the AP curriculum is literally synonymous with what Allen and the rest of his colleagues included in their curriculum.