Ron DeSantis squabbles with Iowa reporter over Florida’s Black history standards
Image via Casey DeSantis

DeSantis Iowa NBD
'That's not what the curriculum says.'

In Iowa, Ron DeSantis found himself squabbling with a reporter about a Florida controversy.

After a meet-and-greet event in Chariton, Iowa, the Governor was asked about the state’s 216-page set of guidelines on teaching Black history. Specifically, DeSantis was asked to weigh in on the document’s assertion that people may have benefited from learning skills while enslaved.

“That’s not what the curriculum says,” DeSantis argued.

For pre-Civil War lessons, middle school students must be taught “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit,” per a new benchmark clarification.

But DeSantis continued to joust with the reporter.

“You have, I think it’s like 200-plus pages of all kinds of stuff that you can’t read that,” DeSantis said, using awkward phrasing before he turned the heat on the reporter, asking, “Have you read it?”

The reporter then responded, asking DeSantis what his “opinion” was.

“You haven’t read it. So I’m just making that clear, that makes it very clear about the injustices of slavery in vivid detail. So anyone that actually read that and then listens to Kamala would know that she’s lying, and that particular provision about the skills, that was in spite of slavery,” DeSantis said.

The Governor naming “Kamala” was, of course, a reference to Vice President Kamala Harris, who denounced the standards in a speech last week in Jacksonville.

“How is it that anyone could suggest that in the midst of these atrocities, that there was any benefit to being subjected to this level of dehumanization?” she said. “That in the midst of these atrocities there were some benefits?”

The Governor’s response to Harris’ speech has become more pointed during the six days he’s had to answer media questions on the topic.

“They’re probably going to show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Utah on Friday after Harris’ speech.

He’s leaned into sharper comments since, condemning Harris for pushing a “hoax” about the standards.

He told a Fox News interviewer the standards “talk in gory detail, a lot of the bad in American history, including, of course, the injustice of slavery. But she is trying to perpetuate a hoax and I know they’re using it to attack me because (Joe) Biden’s administration and Harris has been attacking me since they got in office and they’re always attacking Florida.”

Civil rights leaders who have watched DeSantis closely dismiss his explanations that critics are cherry-picking a single line from a broader set of guidelines on social studies curricula. And, according to National Review, at least one of the team tasked with developing the standards, Volusia County African-American history teacher Valencia Robinson, said she wouldn’t be opposed to amending the controversial provision, noting that the word “benefit” may not appropriately convey the group’s original intent in developing standards.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


19 comments

  • My Take

    July 27, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    Slavery-praiser* DeSSgustus acts like the disgraceful distorting sentence isn’t there.

    *Post like a GOPer. They hate it.

  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    July 27, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    Next he’s probably going to say that Jewish people in Europe benefitted from the holocaust because they all got free hot showers and lost weight.

  • Julia

    July 27, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Funny thing: the AP standards came out today, and they agree with the Florida standards. So does the Library of Congress. So does David Hackett Fisher. Still waiting for that avalanche of real historians to oppose them.

    • My Take

      July 27, 2023 at 4:30 pm

      Some are too dim to understand that all that is OK does not undo that which is serious wrong.
      A pristine new car with one faulty brake still has a faulty brake.

      • Dont Say FLA

        July 27, 2023 at 9:02 pm

        The Rhonda Campaign excels in faulty braking.

    • MH/Duuuval

      July 27, 2023 at 10:01 pm

      You cite no sources for your contentions.

    • doug

      July 28, 2023 at 7:37 am

      Funny thing, they dont. Read them. The AP standards note that the skills were used to provide for themselves after they were freed. Florida standards dont. The Florida standards would have you believe that slaves who did not live long enough to be freed still obtained personal benefit from those skills. They did not. Before emancipation the value of those skills was value to the owner of the slaves, not the slaves themselves. It’s an important distinction between the AP standards and Florida’s, to say nothing of the distinction between emancipated slaves and slaves who didnt live long enough to be emancipated.

      Be informed before being sarcastic.

    • MH/Duuuval

      July 28, 2023 at 9:01 am

      * The College Board rejected claims by Florida officials that some aspects of the state’s new history standards align with an Advanced Placement African American Studies course that Florida officials banned earlier this year, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

    • Vero Beach's Dr. Bob

      July 29, 2023 at 8:41 am

      I re-read your comment carefully, twice in fact. You inferred the AP Standards, the Library of Congress, and one of the USA”s greatest historians DH Fisher, agree with the Florida standards in question. If you has simply added “According to Right-Wing Christian Nationalist news sources and opinionators” it would have been true. In fact, as an example, ands an overview, learning to read or writes was viewed by slave-holders(i.e. slave owners) as undermining their power over slaves. If discovered, a fact well-documented, transgressing slaves were punished, sometimes by death. AP has denied RWCN new/opinion claims. Also, Fisher’s greatest works showed the great influence Black writers and thinkers had on the drafting of the USA Constitution, and American literature and political thought in general, but such input was not from slaves. Indeed, if it was from former slaves, he well points out, it was after the shackles on them preventing the learning of reading and writing English were secretly unlocked, or their obvious skills flourished in non-slavery states or in “post”-slavery USA. The Library of Congress? Any legitimately published work gets into the Library. The key will be does it get into their collections on understanding slavery. My extended review of those collections shows no such DeSantis-like interpretation. You could have avoided this calling out your untruthfulness by citing your sources. The AP denial is cited here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2023/07/27/college-board-criticizes-florida-black-history-standards/70480361007/

  • Church Traffickers

    July 27, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    Christine Pushaw is banging:

    1. Fired Nazi Nate Hochman

    2. Jill Casey DeS.(name redacted)

    3. Matt Geatz

  • Suze

    July 27, 2023 at 4:33 pm

    Truth DeathSantis. Own your white nationalism bullshit. U can’t love the proud boys and moms for liberty, destroy Mew College, kill African American studies than cry how you r the victim

  • My Take

    July 27, 2023 at 4:40 pm

    A wider application of GOP Critical History Theory:
    The American Soldiers Who Survived The Bataan Death March Benefited From It.
    They lost fat and gàined exercise and maybe even learned a little Japanese

  • tom palmer

    July 27, 2023 at 5:44 pm

    What the standards say has been hard to find; not sure if that is deliberate or not

    • Mark

      July 28, 2023 at 9:42 pm

      Every recent law DeathSantis passed has been vague on purpose. The exact opposite of what good law is. Glad he went to Harvard and Yale.

  • PeterH

    July 27, 2023 at 7:15 pm

    DeSantis is scrambling to change the subject and spin!

  • Dont Say FLA

    July 27, 2023 at 9:01 pm

    This post does not describe the reporter but I’d bet my bottom dollar this reporter was a woman.

    Little Rhonda is always a big tough guy when it comes to yelling at women and children.

    Pit Rhonda against any man, Rhonda backs right down.

  • Igary salters

    July 28, 2023 at 9:41 am

    OKAY I AM GOING TO SET RECORD STRAIGHT I AM GOING TO SET HISTORY STRAIGHT THE AFRICANS THAT WAS STOLEN AND PUT IN CHAINS AND BOUGHT OVER HERE TO A STOLEN LAND FROM THE PEOPLE WHO WAS HERE BEFORE EUROPEANS CAME HERE THERE AN ASSUMPTION THAT THESE PEOPLE LEARNED HOW TO FARM LAND WILL BEING ENSLAVED THAT THE ENSLAVED BLACK WOMEN LEARN HOW TO COOK FROM THEIR ENSLAVERS THAT THE BLACK MEN LEARNED HOW TO BUILD AND REPAIR STUFF FROM THEIR ENSLAVERS THAT THEY LEARNED HOW TO PREPARE FARM ANIMALS FOR CUSSUMPTION AS FOOD OKAY LET EDUCATED PEOPLE THESE AFRICANS WHO WAS ENSALAVED HERE IN A STOLEN LAND WAS FARMERS THEY WAS HUNTERS THEY WERE BUILDERS THEY WRE INVENTORS WAY BEFORE THEY WRE STOLEN AND BROUGHT THIS THIS STOLEN LAND BUT PEOPLE LIKE RON THE RACIST DESANTIS DON’T WANT THEIR WHITE CHILDREN TO KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE ONLY WAY TO DO THAT IS TO PREVENT TRUE AND REAL HISTORY OF BLACK PEOPLE THE TRUTHIS BLACK PEOPLE AFRICANS WERE KINGS AND QUEENS PRINCES AND PRINCESS LONG BEFORE THEY WERE STOLEN AND PUT INTO CHAINS BOUGHT HERE TO A STOLEN LAND AN ENSLAVE BY WHITE MEN AND FUTHERMORE IF IT NOT FOR BLACK PEOPLE THEIR WOULD NOT BE AN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BLACK MEN FOUGHT IN THE WAR FOR INDEPENCE BLACK MEN WERE ALONGSIDE ANDREW JACKSON AT THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS DURING THE WAR OF 1812 BLACK MEN FOUGHT IN WORLD WAR ONE BLACK FOUGHT IN WORLD WAR TWO AS A MATTER OF FACT ONE OF THE MEN WHO SURVIDE THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR WAS NOT ONLY AND COOK BUT A BLACK SAILOR IN THE US NAVY TOOK CONTROL OF AN ANTI AIRCRAFT GUN AND SHOT SHOT DOWN SEVERAL JAPANESE PLANES AND LATTER IN THE WAR WAS KILLED WHEN THE USS INDIANAPOLIS WAS SUNK IN NOW WHEN COMPLETED AND COMMISSIONED A US NAVY NUCLEAR POWER AIRCRAFT CARRIER WILL BEAR HIS NAME THE USS DORIS MILLER AND YES WHEN GENERAL PATTON WAS SENT TO RESCUE MEMBERS OF THE 101 AIRBOURNE UNIT SURROUNDED BY GERMANS AT BASTONGE DURING THE BATTLE OF THE BUGLE THERE WAS A ALL BLACK INFRENTRY AND TANK UNIT WITH HIS 3RD ARMY AND LET NOT FORGET THE REDTAILS THE ALL BLACK FIGHTER PILOTS FLYING P51 MUSTANGS WHICH WAS CONSIDER ONE OF AMERICA TOP FIGHTER PLANE IN WAR SAVE THOUSANDS OF WHIYE BOMBER CREWS WHILE FLYING ESCORTS MISSSIONS THE ONLY FGHTER GROUP NOT TO LOSE A BOMBER TO GERMANS FIGHTERS AND LET NOT FORGET ABOUT THE BLACK WOMEN WHO WORKED FOE NASA AND HELP SEND WHITE AMERICANS ASTRONAUTS INTO SPACE AND RETURN SAFETYTO EARTH TWO OF THOSE BLACK WOMEN WERE MARY JACKSON KATHERINE JOHNSON AND DOROTHY VAUGHAN ALL OF THESE BLACK MEN AND WOMEN SERVED THIS COUNTRY AND WERE NOT CONSIDERED TO BE REAL AMERICANS BECAUSE THEY HAD NO RIGHTS I.E. NO CIVIL OR VOTING RIGHTS BLACK PEOPLE HAD FOUGHT AND DIED FIR THIS COUNTRY AND STIILL HAD TO MARCH AND PROTEST IN STREET OF STATES IN THE DEEP SOUTH HAD DOGS TURN ON THEM BY WHITE POLICEMEN WAS SPRAYED WITH WATER BY FIREMEN WAS LYNCHED AND KILLED BY RACISTS WHITE MEN THE KKK BECAUSE ALL THEY WANTEDWAS TO BE TREATED THE SAME AS WHITE AMERICANS AND EVEN TODAY IN 2023 ARE STILL FIGHTING FOR OUR CIVIL AND VOTING RIGHTS WHILE MANY RACIST WHITE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE GOP CONTINUE TO PASS LAWS PREVENTING BLACL AMERICAN FROM HAVING CIVIL AND VOTING RIGHTS TO HAVE THE SAME OPPURNITIES AS WHITE AMERICANS SO IF YOU BELIEVE THAT ENSLAVED BLACK PEOPLE BENEFITED FROM BEING ENSLAVED YOU ARE WRONG AND YOU ARE RACIST ENOUGH SAID

  • Joe

    July 28, 2023 at 5:12 pm

    This is literally the issue that is ending Tiny D’s campaign right before our eyes.

    “You hate to see it–but more than that, you love to see it.”

  • My Take

    July 29, 2023 at 1:03 am

    Supporting Jim Crow got a lot of people elected, up to well through the mid1900s.
    But its been a while until DeSSantis since someone notable has supported slavery.

Comments are closed.


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