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Ron DeSantis Invites Kamala Harris to Discuss Slavery Standards with Homophobe Who Wrote Them

Ron DeSantis Invites Kamala Harris to Discuss Slavery Standards with Homophobe Who Wrote Them

Ron DeSantis and William Allen

DeSantis has been signed several laws targeting LGBTQ+ people.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has invited Vice President Kamala Harris to Tallahassee to discuss a widely panned Black history curriculum. The governor also wants to bring along the homophobic activist who wrote the standards.

DeSantis, a Republican candidate for president, appears anxious to spend a second week on the state’s newly adopted education guidelines. Most controversially, the new standards will require to teach “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Harris flew to Jacksonville and lambasted the standards in her own speech.

“These extremist, so-called leaders should model what we know to be the correct and right approach if we are invested in the well-being of our children," Harris said in a speech reported by ABC News on July 23.

More than a week later, DeSantis has now invited Harris in a letter to come to Florida so he can “set the record straight.”

“I will ask Dr. William Allen — instrumental in the development of our impressive new standards — to join,” DeSantis wrote.

Allen served on the governor-appointed board that wrote the standards. NBC News reported last week that a majority of members on the work group developing the standards opposed the “personal benefit” language, but that Allen and Frances Presley Rice pushed for the inclusion of the controversial passage.

Those two members released a statement after Harris’ comments defending the standards.

“The intent of this particular benchmark clarification is to show that some slaves developed highly specialized trades from which they benefitted,” the statement reads. “This is factual and well documented.”

The statement goes on to list a number of specific individuals who allegedly personally benefitted from slavery, though the Tampa Bay Times reported more than half of those listed were never slaves.

Of note, Allen and Presley Rice, both Black Republicans, each have a long history of controversial statements about race or about LGBTQ+ issues, which was recently documented in the newsletter Popular Info. Rice, when she chaired the National Black Republican Association, posted billboards and advertisements falsely claiming Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican.

Allen’s history of anti-LGBTQ+ comments is extensive. When he chaired the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 1989, the rest of its members voted to condemn a speech he gave at a conference organized by Rev. Louis Sheldon, an antigay activist who founded the Traditional Values Coalition and viewed homosexuality as “deathstyle.”

While the Los Angeles Times reported Allen told the conference he did not share anti-homosexual attitudes, he also argued that neither Black people nor sexual minorities should be treated as protected classes. He titled his talk “Blacks? Animals? Homosexuals? What is a Minority?,” and said legal protections would effectively treat those groups the same as animals.

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