Florida St. Rep tries to argue 'some slaves were paid'

Florida St. Rep tries to argue 'some slaves were paid'

A contentious education bill cleared the Florida House on Friday. One Republican legislator asked why schools don't discuss slave wages.

The measure, CS/HB 1291, prohibits teacher preparation programs that promote "identity politics" or ideas of systemic racism, misogyny, oppression, and privilege in US institutions.

State Rep. Alex Andrade (R) maintained that some slaves were compensated during bill discussion. "There is only one way to teach about slavery in Florida, and that is that it was evil," Andrade. "But if we can't have an honest discussion and say that some slaves were paid for their work, and were able to actually get a portion of payment that slave owners received for their labor, then we're afraid of teaching accurate history."

If you weren't aware that some slaves received payment—not good, legitimate, or moral—how can we educate and agree on facts if we can't even have that discussion in this room? We have what hope?" Andrade continued.

Naturally, most slaves were unpaid. Slaves were property without basic rights.

"Florida Republicans are hell bent on teaching our children that slavery wasn't bad," Nikki Fried told Rolling Stone. She said "Rep. Andrade's comments today are just the latest example of the GOP's obsession with whitewashing history," referencing the Florida Board of Education's requirement that schools educate that some Black people profited from slavery by learning skills.

Fried said, "Slavery was a horrific evil." This shouldn't be a bold statement, and Florida teachers should teach it. Florida Republicans' attempts to teach our children otherwise are immoral and outrageous, and every Republican elected in Florida should answer for Andrade's comments. Any answer that justifies or whitewashes slavery should disqualify them for office."

Black Florida state Rep. Ashley Gantt (D) replied on social media. "The atmosphere in the house chamber is so insulting and disrespectful," she commented on X, previously Twitter, after Andrade's comments. "White guys say I may not know about my people's captivity. Who do these people think they are?!"

Rolling Stone said that Andrade made the statements due to "one line in a 200+ page document that was being distorted by Democrats on the floor." A National Humanities Center page recounts rare slaves who "self-purchase" their freedom.

The law Andrade and his Republican colleagues enacted on Friday is the latest cultural war policy by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to prohibit critical race theory and other "woke" concepts from Florida public schools. DeSantis' failed presidential campaign promoted the concept that slavery benefitted Black people. "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," he remarked last July regarding the Florida Board of Education's new criteria.

CS/HB 1291 passed the Republican-controlled Florida House 81-31, with eight abstentions. It goes to Florida's Senate.

Read the original article here.

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