By: John Moor
President Biden and VP Harris have voiced strong indignation to the Florida Education Curriculum on black history. They have focused in on one statement which says “Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” They claim that this statement is a commentary on slavery but this is not the point of the lesson. Their attack is mostly to score points against their political opponents but secondarily they want to control the narrative on black history. They are claiming that the Florida curriculum says slavery has some good benefits. In response to this claim Senator Tim Scott said “there is no silver lining to slavery”. But the administration’s claims are just an effort to distract from the main point being made in the curriculum. Everyone (except the most extreme radicals) knows that slavery is an abhorrent criminal act against humanity. Even our children instinctively know this. The authors of the Florida curriculum, especially the author who descended from slaves, are not insinuating this in any way but the current administration wants to denigrate the effort to look at other aspects of what our children can learn from our history.
The curriculum that is taught to our children should first emphasis that slavery is wrong but the Florida curriculum seeks to go the next step and teach our children how to react to oppression. There are two choices when faced with adversity: 1) view yourself as a victim that needs to be rescued or 2) seek to better yourself in spite of the adversity. The Florida curriculum seeks to teach the latter response by using the slaves as an example of how to improve and better yourself even when the world is against you. The slave’s strength, courage and resilience are a positive role model that should not be forgotten.
President Biden and VP Harris don’t want this aspect of black history to be the main narrative because they don’t want it to over shadow the response of being a victim. For example, President Biden recently dedicated a monument to a victim of discrimination. While it is good to have reminders that discrimination is wrong, where are the monuments Biden dedicated to black people who overcame discrimination and accomplished great things. There is an appropriate role for government to ensure equality for all people as stated in our Constitution. The government should prohibit discrimination as stated in our laws like the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, the current administration seeks to go beyond this Constitutional obligation by showing favoritism to certain groups in order to win their favor. That is why the administration objected so strongly to the Supreme Court’s ruling that eliminated favoritism in college admissions based on race.
As parents, grandparents and citizens we need to decide what we want our children to be taught about how to react to adversity. It does not benefit them or us to teach them that they are a victim every time they run into adversity regardless of the cause or who it comes from. Discrimination based on hundreds of reasons will always be present in one form or another and the government will try to prevent it in order to have an equal playing field for all. But all of our children will be faced with it during their lives so it is important that our children be taught how to deal with it in a constructive way. In a later interview with AMAC Senator Tim Scott said, “The problem is that we have the radical part of the country who seem to think grievance, victimhood, and despair are the future – versus those of us who believe in individual responsibility, hard work, and the American Dream. We have to educate young Americans to see America’s promise and their own promise and assure quality education in every zip code.” President Biden and VP Harris indignation will have a chilling effect on teaching our children anything positive about how the slaves endured under oppression. Instead, our children should be taught that discrimination based on inherent traits is wrong but also our children should be taught to rise up and work even harder when faced with adversity instead of waiting on the government to rescue them.