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Tipsheet

Modest Proposal: Let's See Kamala Harris Debate This Man Over Slavery and Florida's Curriculum

Screenshot via Fox News

If you've been reading up on this wildly dishonest 'controversy,' you're already aware of the basics -- and you've probably listened to the rebuttals of Dr. William Allen, a respected scholar who helped craft Florida's new social studies curriculum.  The way the Vice President of the United tells it, for her own political purposes, Florida has suddenly decided to start informing students that slavery was actually beneficial for the slaves.  This is breathtakingly dishonest, even for her.  It focuses in on one single (historically accurate) sub-point sentence in a 216-page document, shorn of all context and substance, all to leave the deliberately false impression that history is being 'erased' by 'gaslighting' racist Republicans. If you didn't catch the response from Allen, a black historian and himself descendant of slaves, do yourself a favor and watch this interview, then read on:

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Allen joined Megyn Kelly's podcast and addressed the role of Florida's teachers unions in this idiocy, who have inevitably joined the tribal pile-on. Listen to this exchange:


The black history curriculum working group "deliberated in public," Allen notes.  "The sessions were open to the public."  The teachers union was invited to these sessions, he says, and encouraged to listen and contribute.  What did they do?  "They remained silent throughout the entire process -- contributed zero. Zero.  Until it was all done, and then surfaced, like snakes in the grass, to take potshots."  How fitting.  The unions had nothing to offer during the discussions about how best to educate children on important subjects, but they leapt for the microphones and bright lights as soon as there was an opportunity to attack politicians they loathe.  A perfect encapsulation of their priorities.  Florida's Commissioner of Education, Manny Diaz, Jr., joined my radio show earlier this week.  When I suggested the low-info Vice President sit down and debate Dr. Allen on the topic about which she's evincing a great deal of passionate anger, Diaz readily agreed.  

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How about it, Madam Vice President?  You clearly have many loud thoughts about the issue, which you're willing to bellow to receptive audiences, so why not conduct a substantive conversation about it with someone who's intimately familiar with the details?  Don't hold your breath.  She'd never, ever agree to such a thing, and we all know why.  In our discussion, Diaz also further underscored how the single line in question was not even a 'benchmark' standard in the new curriculum, totally rejected calls from Democrats for his resignation, and pointed out that the unions' actions were even more duplicitous than Allen described:

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"The process was months of publicly available meetings where the public could go. The teachers union did participate. They did compliment the work group of scholars that was putting this together as they were doing it. They were at multiple meetings...Only until they decided to pile on with the other leftists [and] decided to take this message."

The Allen and Diaz accounts are hardly mutually exclusive.  It seems as though representatives of the union showed up at some of the meetings, contributed nothing, vaguely praised the scholars and their work, then joined the outrage mob when their partisanship required them to.  A combination of disengaged laziness and ideological zeal.  Sound about right?  The Washington Examiner editorial board weighed in on this kerfuffle, upbraiding their counterparts at the (money hemorrhaging) Washington Post for echoing Harris' flagrant mendacity, and citing additional examples bolstering the factual nature of the overblown, minor sub-point at issue:

Instead of reading what the standards actually say and comparing that with the truth, the liberal media parroted Harris’s grotesque deliberate deception. "New Florida standards teach students that some Black people benefited from slavery,” blared NBC News. “New Florida teaching standards say African Americans received some personal benefit from slavery,” read Politico. The Washington Post editorial board even weighed in with, “DeSantis seeks to whitewash slavery in Florida curriculum.”  All of these stories are completely false. Here are the two sentences in question out of Florida’s 216-page social studies standards: “Examine the various duties and trades performed by slaves (e.g., agricultural work, painting, carpentry, tailoring, domestic service, blacksmithing, transportation). Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Nowhere in those two sentences does it say that black people benefited from slavery. What it does say is that some slaves were taught professional skills and were allowed to benefit from this training. This is 100% true and, in contexts other than DeSantis's Florida, wouldn’t be controversial. For example, take this from the Library of Congress: “It is important to remember, however, that while some enslaved people worked on large cotton plantations, others worked in other types of agriculture, including tobacco, hemp (for rope-making), corn, and livestock. In Southern cities, many worked at a variety of skilled trades as well as common laborers. It was not unusual for those working in the cities to put away enough money to buy their freedom.” This is from the National Park Service: “During this period, slave owners hired out enslaved artisans and tradesmen and some enslaved African Americans even managed to hire themselves out. This was one means of making money to buy themselves and their families out of slavery.”

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Will Kamala Harris go forth, shaking with rage, to lambaste the Library of Congree or the National Park Service? No, because objecting to this history isn't the point. The point is in the target, and the nature and motive of the accusation.  Speaking of which:

I'll leave you with the Democratic SuperPAC known as the "news" media lying further on this front, suggesting that Florida is erasing the evil legacy of lynchings:

The actual curriculum itself specifically requires instruction on "Jim Crow Laws" and "lynchings" on page 17.


 


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