In a recent speech in Jacksonville, Florida, Vice President Kamala Harris faced a wave of criticism from conservatives after blasting the state’s new history curriculum, accusing it of teaching students that slaves in the U.S. actually “benefited from slavery.” However, critics argue that Harris mischaracterized the curriculum’s content to advance her narrative.
Harris claimed that the Florida Department of Education had approved a curriculum that taught middle school students that enslaved individuals benefited from slavery. This statement drew sharp reactions from several conservative figures who accused her of “brazenly lying” and “misleading” the American people.
The new curriculum, which includes the history of slavery in the U.S., states, “Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” Critics contend that this statement does not imply slaves benefited from their enslavement but rather acknowledges that some enslaved individuals developed skills to improve their circumstances within the oppressive system.
National Review writer Charles Cooke provided a detailed analysis of the curriculum, emphasizing that every mention of slavery, abolitionism, civil rights, and African Americans demonstrated no intention of “gaslighting” or whitewashing history. Despite the evidence presented, Harris has not retracted her claims or issued an apology.
I read through FL’s new curriculum. It is difficult to convey the astonishing extent to which Kamala Harris is lying about it. To illustrate it, I’ve copied and pasted all 191 of its references to slavery, the slave trade, abolition, and civil rights. https://t.co/9eZnAqYCBV
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) July 21, 2023
Conservatives further accused Harris and the left of attempting to make slavery a more significant issue than ever before, resorting to falsehoods to support their narrative. Fox News chief political analyst Brit Hume stated that the left’s push to amplify the issue of slavery required them to “lie about it.”
Numerous Twitter users and politicians, including Fox News contributor Ben Domenech, the Republican National Committee, and Georgia Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, called out Harris for allegedly misleading the public and promoting an agenda of indoctrination.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, criticized Harris, accusing her of being “obsessed” with Florida and the Biden administration of attempting to indoctrinate students. DeSantis emphasized that his state stands against such practices and will continue to promote a curriculum that unites rather than divides.
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy highlighted the inconsistency in Harris’s positions, stating that her actions inadvertently made a compelling case against race and gender quotas in government.