Florida's New African American History Standards
The Florida State Board of Education recently approved new standards for teaching African American history in public schools.
One of the most controversial aspects of the new standards is the language that implies that enslaved African Americans benefited from slavery.
The standards state that students should learn "how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit."
This language has been interpreted by some as suggesting that slavery was not all bad, and that enslaved people actually benefited from their experiences.
Harris posted a video clip of her yelling 'outrage' over the new standards, writing "Extremists are pushing forward revisionist history":
Harris traveled to Florida on Friday, July 21, 2023 to speak out against the state's new Black history standards. In her speech, Harris called the standards "insulting" and "misleading."
A statement providing context was issued by members of the racially diverse workgroup to 10 Tampa Bay which read in part, "The intent of this particular benchmark clarification is to show that some slaves developed highly specialized trades from which they benefitted. This is factual and well documented.”
"Any attempt to reduce slaves to just victims of oppression fails to recognize their strength, courage and resiliency during a difficult time in American history. Florida students deserve to learn how slaves took advantage of whatever circumstances they were in to benefit themselves and the community of African descendants - the statement said.
The debate over Black history standards in Florida is part of a larger national debate over how to teach about race and racism in schools.
Black Political Opinion: Kamala Harris's theatrical outrage to Florida's Black history is purely political
Vice President Kamala Harris has been critical of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's policies on education, particularly his efforts to overhaul the state's Black history standards.
Harris's critics have accused her of using the issue to score political points against the presidential candidate.
It is important for all people, regardless of race, to learn about Black history. Black history is American history, and it is essential for understanding the full story of our country.
There are many ways to learn from the history of slavery without dwelling in it. The history of slavery is a complex and painful one, and it should not be used as a tool to divide people or to score political points.
Although the one bullet point is open to misinterpretation, the standards overall seem comprehensive for the grade level. It remains to be seen if further development to the standard in question will take place.
The standards can be found online.
For all the theatrics coming from VP Harris and those telling us Florida is anti-Black, unsafe for Blacks, whitewashing history etc., what is not mentioned is that for the 7th year in a row, US News & World Report ranked Florida #1 overall in education and #1 for higher education. And, over 90% of Florida's high school students graduate.
According to Pew Research Florida also has the most Black owned businesses.
Black Political Opinion is a multi-part opinion-editorial series that looks at various political topics, news, and views, from the perspective of a Black female, conservative leaning Independent, who voted for Biden in 2020. Follow me on Twitter @MsLashaunTurner and @MsBlackPolitics.
Read More Black Political Opinion: