Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) called out Florida over its recently approved African American history standards, calling one controversial portion “outrageous.”
“It’s outrageous that in Florida, public school students will now be taught that enslaved Black folks benefited from slavery,” Tlaib wrote in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, on Monday. “Slavery was evil, disgusting and had no redeeming qualities. Period.”
Tlaib also shared a video clip of her speaking on the matter during a House floor session last week. She said that Florida is attempting to whitewash Black history with their new education guidelines and ignore how the practice of slavery has denied Black Americans their basic human dignity, also noting that the country’s founding fathers participated in this practice.
“These are just facts. These are history. You cannot teach the truth about American history without teaching African American history,” Tlaib said in her floor speech.
“We must teach our children, Mr. Speaker, the truth about our nation’s history. That means reckoning with racism, oppression and lynching, dehumanization and white supremacist violence,” she added, referring to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). “If our past is no longer being taught, we will not allow anyone to rewrite our history. And again, it is so important that this chamber understands that Black history is American history.”
There has been a massive backlash over Florida’s new education standards, which were signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). The new standards require that lessons on race should be taught in an “objective” manner that does not seek to “indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.”
Most controversially, the updated curriculum will also require educators to teach students on “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
That line in particular drew the ire of figures from across the political spectrum, including some conservatives like Florida Rep. Byron Donalds (R).
NAACP President Derrick Johnson said that the laws “are an attempt to bring our country back to a 19th-century America where Black life was not valued, nor our rights protected.”
“It is imperative that we understand that the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow were a violation of human rights and represent the darkest period in American history,” Johnson said in his statement.
“We refuse to go back. The NAACP has been fighting against malicious actors such as those within the DeSantis Administration for over a century, and we’re prepared to continue that fight by any means necessary. Our children deserve nothing less than truth, justice, and the equity our ancestors shed blood, sweat, and tears for.”