Tim Scott Hits Ron DeSantis over Black History Curriculum: ‘There Is No Silver Lining…in Slavery’

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - May 22: Sen. Tim Scott speaks to a crowd during a presidentia
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“There is no silver lining” in slavery, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said on Thursday in reaction to Florida’s new African American history curriculum, which states that “instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

“As a country founded upon freedom, the greatest deprivation of freedom was slavery,” the Republican presidential candidate told a reporter following a forum with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R).

“There is no silver lining…in slavery,” he said, explaining that slavery was really about “separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives.”

“It was just devastating. So I would hope that every person in our country — and certainly running for president — would appreciate that,” Scott continued. “People have bad days. Sometimes they regret what they say. And we should ask them again to clarify their positions.”

His remark follows controversy surrounding the Sunshine State’s newly approved black history program, which instructs students to “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,” the “Florida’s State Academic Standards – Social Studies, 2023” document adds in a section under “benchmark clarifications.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came under fire by some for defending the standards, telling a reporter that he was not involved in the details but adding that the curriculum is “factual” and “probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith, into doing things later in life.”

“They listed everything out. And if you have any questions about it, just ask the Department of Education. You can talk about those folks. But, I mean, these were scholars who put that together,” DeSantis added. “It was not anything that was done politically.”

Florida Department of Education (FDOE) Commissioner Manny Diaz has defended the curriculum, asserting that the “federal government won’t dictate Florida’s education standards.”

“This new curriculum is based on truth. We will not back down from teaching our nation’s true history at the behest of a woke @WhiteHouse, nor at the behest of a supposedly conservative congressman,” Diaz said, taking a jab at Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL). While Donalds said the curriculum “did a very good job of covering all aspects of black history in the United States,” he added that the controversial section “needs some adjustments.”

Diaz shared a letter, as well, emphasizing the department’s intention to move forward with the program. It reads in part:

To develop these new standards, the Department assembled an august group of African American scholars and Florida educators utilizing a rigorous process, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. The standards are supported by historical accounts of African Americans, including slaves and their immediate descendants. If you wish to look into these accounts yourselves, I encourage you to reach out to the Department for reference materials. As is always the case with new standards, the Department’s social studies team members will prepare professional learning that will guide educators as they implement the new, robust African American History standards.

“Let me be clear: we are not turning our backs on the great work of the African American History workgroup,” the letter adds, noting the standards will be implemented “swiftly, transparently, and honestly.”

RELATED — Clyburn: Republicans Taking “Black History Out of the Schools” by Calling it “Theory”


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