Black Republicans Criticize DeSantis Over Florida's Controversial Slavery Curriculum

 July 31, 2023

Rep. John James has publicly criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over a recently approved slavery curriculum in Florida, joining other Black Republicans in expressing concern over the questionable framing of slavery in the educational guidelines.

Rep. John James (R-Mich.) made a strong statement against the new curriculum on Friday. He believes that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has overstepped in defending the recent changes to Florida's K-12 education system. The curriculum changes involve a controversial approach to teaching about slavery, which has raised concerns among many, including fellow Black Republicans. For a closer look at the original statements, please visit the Forbes article detailing the issue.

This controversy centers around a part of the curriculum that requires teachers to frame slavery in a way that emphasizes skills developed by slaves. The notion that these skills could be applied for personal benefit has provoked strong reactions from Black Republicans, including James.

James Challenges DeSantis's Defense of the Curriculum

In a post on X, the new version of Twitter, James directed his frustration at DeSantis. He vehemently disagreed with the Florida governor's stance on the new curriculum, finding it far from acceptable.

"Slavery was not CTE! Nothing about that 400 years of evil was a 'net benefit' to my ancestors."

James also took the opportunity to stand up for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), two Black Republicans who have faced criticism from DeSantis. Both have expressed their disagreement with the way slavery is framed in the new curriculum.

In his social media post, James further expressed his disillusionment with the current direction of the Republican Party. He accused Florida's education board of "re-writing history" and highlighted that there are only five black Republicans in Congress, two of whom are being attacked by DeSantis.

Florida's Board of Education Approves Controversial Curriculum

Earlier this month, Florida's Board of Education approved the new slavery curriculum. This decision quickly led to backlash from key figures within the Republican Party, such as Donalds and Scott.

Rep. Donalds praised the overall guidelines as "good, robust, & accurate" but was alarmed by the specific aspect concerning slaves developing skills for personal benefit. He called this idea wrong and recommended adjustments to that part of the curriculum.

Gov. DeSantis did not take kindly to this criticism. He responded by challenging Donalds to choose sides, either with Vice President Kamala Harris and liberal media or with the state of Florida.

Scott and DeSantis Clash Over Slavery Narrative

Sen. Tim Scott, who is challenging DeSantis for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, made his thoughts known following a Thursday town hall. He firmly stated that there is no positive aspect to slavery and described it in stark terms.

"There is no silver lining" in slavery, Scott said, adding that the practice was inhumane and was about separating families, mutilating humans "and even raping their wives."

DeSantis, in turn, responded to Scott by comparing him to Vice President Kamala Harris. He accused Republicans of accepting false narratives and perpetuating supposed lies created by the Left.

The debate over this curriculum is likely to continue as more voices join in. The criticism from three Black Republicans within the party, including James, is notable. It underscores the deep divisions and differing perspectives on a subject that remains sensitive and complex.

A Sensitive Topic Creates Tensions Within the Party

The approval of the new slavery curriculum in Florida has exposed divisions within the Republican Party. The way slavery is being taught has drawn criticism from prominent Black Republicans. Their voices are adding to the pressure on Gov. DeSantis, who remains steadfast in his support of the controversial guidelines.

The issue is far from settled, and the ongoing debate reflects broader questions about how history should be taught in schools. The intense reactions from all sides reveal a deeply polarized political climate and demonstrate the challenges in addressing historical topics with care and sensitivity.

• The controversy began with the approval of a new curriculum that frames slavery in a questionable manner.
• Rep. James joined other Black Republicans in criticizing the curriculum, leading to a public disagreement with Gov. DeSantis.
• Sen. Scott and Rep. Donalds also expressed their concerns, resulting in heated exchanges with the Florida governor.
• The issue has exposed divisions within the Republican Party and sparked a conversation about the teaching of history in schools.