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DeSantis Faces Criticism from Republican Senator Scott over Black American History Curriculum

Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s woes following his state’s adoption of new standards on the teaching of Black American history continues to pile up and possibly impacting his campaign.

The recent criticism of the new education policy came from fellow presidential candidate and member of the Republican party, South Carolina senator Tim Scott.

“There is no silver lining in slavery. Slavery was really about separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives. It was just devastating,” Scott said, while speaking to Politico.

Florida’s teachers have been instructed to teach middle-school students that enslaved people “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit”, news agency the Associated Press said.

Scott’s remarks came during a campaign stop in Iowa on Thursday. The South Carolina senator said there was no upside to the system whatsoever.

The only Black Republican in Florida’s congressional delegation Representative Byron Donalds also criticised the move. Vice President Kamala Harris said that the teachings are “propaganda” at an event last week. “They dare to push propaganda to our children. Adults know what slavery really involved. It involved rape. It involved torture. It involved taking a baby from their mother,” Harris was quoted as saying by US-based media agencies.

The Black Conservative Federation, which is one of the US’ leading Black conservative organisations, also condemned the new education policy. “This stance undermines the historical reality of slavery and the unimaginable hardships endured by millions of enslaved individuals. In reality, slaves were oppressed and denied access to education, equal opportunities, and social mobility,” the group said in a statement.

Several other Black American – conservative and liberal – have criticised DeSantis over his new policy.

DeSantis shot back and said that anyone listening to the Vice President knows that she was lying. “Anyone that actually reads that and listens to Kamala would know that she’s lying. That particular provision about the skills, that was in spite of slavery not because of it,” DeSantis was quoted as saying by the Hill.

Republicans around the US have cracked down on how race is being taught in American schools. Not just Florida but Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio are pushing legislation that stops or changes how teachers instruct on race.

This is being implemented through curriculum updates, book bans and providing parents with more say in what is being taught to their children, the Hill said.

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