Kamala Harris rejects Ron DeSanti’s offer to discuss slavery curriculum | Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris fired back at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after he invited her to discuss new school standards for teaching African-American history, which argue that some slaves gained benefits that could be used later in life.

“There is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate an undeniable fact: there were no redeeming qualities about slavery,” the vice president said.

Harris, the first woman and first person of color to serve as vice president, spoke in Florida at a convention of the Women’s Missionary Society at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Orlando on Tuesday.

Harris had previously attacked Florida’s school standards, saying last month that the state was “pushing propaganda” against children.

DeSantis made his invitation on Monday a letter.

Complaints that “the Biden administration has repeatedly denigrated our state and misinformed Americans about our education system,” the governor claimed to have “pushed forward nation-leading independent African-American history standards — one of the only states in the nation requiring this level of learning about such a important subject.

“You’d think the White House would applaud such boldness in teaching the unique and important story of African-American history. But instead you’ve tried to score cheap political points and label Florida parents ‘extremists.’

“It’s past time to set the record straight.”

According to to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, in New York, “from approximately 1526 to 1867, approximately 12.5 million captive men, women, and children were put on ships in Africa, and 10.7 million arrived in America”.

Slavery ended in the United States about 350 years after it began, with the ratification of 13th amendment in December 1865.

DeSantis is a distant second to Donald Trump in the Republican presidential race. His letter was a political stunt. The governor complained about “hateful Marxist thinking,” “critical race theory” and “diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives” — all musings of the hard right in the battle for education and history teaching. He also hit Harris for her work on immigration and the southern border.

DeSantis has also faced pushback from Republicans.

Will Hurd, a former Texas congressman who is also running for president, told NBC “slavery is not a jobs program”, adding: “Anyone who suggests that there was any benefit to slavery is insane.”

Byron Donalds, the only black Republican in Congress from Florida and a prominent hard-right voice, has said the standards are “wrong and need to be adjusted.”

But DeSantis has pressed on. In his letter to Harris he said said he was willing to meet her “as early as Wednesday this week”. Harris didn’t buy it.

“Right here in Florida,” she said in Orlando, “they plan to teach students that slaves benefited from slavery.

“They’re insulting us in an attempt to gaslight us, in an attempt to divide and distract our nation with unnecessary debates, and now they’re trying to legitimize those unnecessary debates.

“… Well, I am here in Florida and I will tell you, there is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate an undeniable fact: there were no redeeming qualities about slavery.

“As I said last week when I was back here in Florida, we will not stop shouting and fighting back against extremist so-called leaders who are trying to prevent our children from learning our true and full history.”

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