(NationRise.com) – An academic intellectual who contributed to the creation of Florida’s new African American history curriculum slammed Vice President Kamala Harris for “mischaracterizing” its material. During a July 24 interview at ABC, the former chief of the Commission on Civil Rights, William Allen, accused Harris of making “false” assessments. He also defended the course and said that the only criticism he has encountered so far was “articulated” by the vice president, pointing out this was “an error.”
The new curriculum, which Florida’s Board of Education approved on July 20, raised controversy because of one section related to slavery and African-Americans. That section points out that enslaved people in the United States developed some skills that, in many instances, were applied for “their personal benefit.”
In a speech, the vice president strongly condemned this line, claiming that Florida Republicans decided that middle school students would be lied to about this part of US history. She said the state’s GOP will now teach children that slaves somehow “benefited from slavery.” Harris then said this was an “insult” and that people would not “stand for it.”
In the ABC interview, Allen said Harris was wrong as the program never says that slavery was beneficial. Instead, the academic noted that the course explains how African Americans resisted and proved themselves resilient and “adaptable” in a time “of crisis.” He pointed out that, in this context, African Americans were able to develop some aptitudes and skills that were beneficial to them while enslaved and after slavery.
When asked if the curriculum’s wording should be changed, the academic said “no” and cited his ancestry. Allen explained that his grandfather came to America “from the islands” and was enslaved. He said that a member of his family overcame that situation and was able to produce for his family the ability to “prosper” in the United States. The academic pointed out that his grandfather could do this because of his “resilience” and “adaptiveness.”
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