Rep. John James (R-MI) slammed Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for attacking black Republicans who expressed concern with Florida’s education standards that purport to teach students about the “personal benefit” enslaved Americans received under slavery.
DeSantis’s campaign came under fire because Florida’s newly enacted education standards require students to be instructed about “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
Florida’s Board of Education’s changes to the social studies curriculum were made possible by Florida’s Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, which DeSantis signed into law last year.
On Friday, James accused Florida’s Board of Education of “re-writing history.”
“@RonDeSantis, #1: slavery was not CTE! Nothing about that 400 years of evil was a ‘net benefit’ to my ancestors. #2: there are only five black Republicans in Congress and you’re attacking two of them,” James tweeted.
.@RonDeSantis, #1: slavery was not CTE! Nothing about that 400 years of evil was a “net benefit” to my ancestors. #2: there are only five black Republicans in Congress and you’re attacking two of them.
— John James (@JohnJamesMI) July 28, 2023
My brother in Christ… if you find yourself in a deep hole put the shovel down. You are now so far from the Party of Lincoln that your Ed. board is re-writing history and you’re personally attacking conservatives like @VoteTimScott and @ByronDonalds on the topic of slavery. You’ve gone too far. Stop,
James’s comment came after DeSantis attacked Florida Rep. Byron Donalds (R) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) for criticizing the “personal benefit” language found in the education standards.
Donalds called the standards “good, robust and accurate,” but said the “personal benefit” language “needs some adjustments.”
Scott offered harsher criticism of Florida’s new education standards.
“The truth is that anything you can learn, any benefits that people suggest you had during slavery, you would have had as a free person,” Scott said. “What slavery was really about was separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives. It was just devastating.”
DeSantis accused Donalds and Scott of siding with Vice President Kamala Harris, who called the new standards “propaganda,” instead of siding with Florida.
“Are you going to side with Kamala Harris and liberal media outlets or are you going to side with the state of Florida?” DeSantis said in response to Donalds’ comments.
“Part of the reason our country has struggled is because D.C. Republicans all too often accept false narratives, accept lies that are perpetrated by the Left,” DeSantis said, speaking on Scott’s comments. “And to accept the lie that Kamala Harris has been perpetrating even when that has been debunked, that’s not the way you do it.”
Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-TX), a Black Republican congressman from Texas, also added to the criticism of DeSantis, calling on him to spend “more time doing the job the people of Florida elected him to do.”
As the direct descendent of a slave, I have a hard time understanding Governor DeSantis’ position that transferrable skills learned in bondage are somehow a net benefit.
If Ron DeSantis spent more time doing the job the people of Florida elected him to do and less time on his failing Presidential campaign, perhaps Florida’s curriculum on slavery would more accurately reflect the pain and heartbreak experienced by millions who suffered through the original sin.
If Ron DeSantis spent more time doing the job the people of Florida elected him to do and less time on his failing Presidential campaign, perhaps Florida’s curriculum on slavery would more accurately reflect the pain and heartbreak experienced by millions who suffered through the…
— Wesley Hunt (@WesleyHuntTX) July 28, 2023
In the 2022 midterms, Republicans sent more black politicians to Capitol Hill than at any point since 1877. With Donalds, Scott, James, and Hunt opposing the “personal benefit” language found in Florida’s educational standards on slavery, that makes a near united front among congressional Black Republicans.
Donalds’ spokesperson Harrison Fields noted:
If you condemn CRT & refuse to support BLM, black Republicans are called a coon, sellouts, & Uncle Clarence. If you vocalize minor distaste with a sentence in a curriculum that lauds skills developed by slaves during slavery, black Republicans are called Democrats and frauds.
Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT) is the only Black Republican in Congress who has not weighed in on the issue.
Black Conservative Federation president Diante Johnson said the controversial education standards “raises eyebrows” and shows that “Ron DeSantis is not the candidate for Black conservatives.”
“It’s just not a good position for the DeSantis campaign to take. And they’re doubling down and that’s what’s even more disgusting,” Johnson told Politico.
Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.