Vice President Kamala Harris has been at the center of advancing a false claim that Florida’s updated education guidelines teach students about the “benefits” of slavery. The claim stems from a single line in the 216-page document that says, “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
“They [Florida leaders] want to replace history with lies,” Harris said. “Middle school students in Florida, to be told that enslaved people benefited from slavery. High schoolers may be taught that victims of violence of massacres were also perpetrators.”
Jeremy Redfern, who currently works as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, soon pointed out that Harris previously referred to state lawmakers as “extremists” for voting to remove a class that used the same language. “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?” Redfern wrote in a tweet. “Well, here is one of the standards considered ‘essential knowledge.’”
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) July 27, 2023
“In addition to agricultural work, enslaved people learned specialized trades and worked as painters, carpenters, tailors, musicians, and healers in the North and South. Once free, American Americans used these skills to provide for themselves and others,” reads page 72 of the AP African American Studies Official Course Framework, Project, and Exam Overview.
Dr. William Allen, a black scholar who was among 13 experts consulted when crafting the new guidelines, described Harris’ framing of the guidelines as “categorically false” while pushing back on criticism. “The only criticism I’ve encountered so far [on the new curriculum] is a single one that was articulated by the vice president, and which was an error,” Allen told ABC News.
Allen’s assessment was evidently not heard by the hosts of another ABC program, however, as The View co-hosts took turns attacking Florida and DeSantis for trying to “whitewash slavery.”
“I have been spitting mad about the culture wars that Ron DeSantis has been creating,” said Ana Navarro. “He has created the environment that has led to this… Slavery was the darkest moment of American history… How dare you! Shame on you people in Florida. How dare you try to whitewash slavery?”