Kamala Harris criticizes ‘extremists’ in Florida for new curriculum suggesting some benefitted from slavery

Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris - Photographer: Chris Kleponis/Abaca/Bloomberg

Kamala Harris said “extremists” want to “replace history with lies” after Florida’s educational standards changed the way slavery will be taught in schools.

The vice president traveled to Jacksonville on Friday to condemn new guidelines, approved by the state’s board of education this week, which she said include instructions for middle school students saying some enslaved people benefitted from the skills they learned.

“They dare to push propaganda to our children. This is the United States of America. We’re not supposed to do that,” she said.

“Adults know what slavery really involved. It involved rape. It involved torture. It involved taking a baby from its mother. It involved some of the worst examples of… depriving people of humanity in our world.

“How is it that anyone could suggest that in the midst of these atrocities, there was any benefit to being subjected to this level of dehumanization?”

While she did not mention Republican presidential candidate and Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, by name, she referred to “extremist, so-called leaders”.

Mr. DeSantis, who has battled the Walt Disney Company over its criticism of a law in his state banning the discussion of sexuality and gender in the classroom, said the new curriculum was needed to prevent liberal indoctrination and accused Ms. Harris of attempting “to demagogue” and politicize history.

He said he was not involved in devising the education board’s standards but defended the parts about how enslaved people benefitted.

But he added: “I think – I think what they’re doing is, I think that they’re probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into, into doing things later in life.”

He continued: “These were scholars who put that together. It was not anything that was done politically.”

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