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New Lessons For Florida School Kids: Native Americans Were No Saints, Slavery Much Nicer Than Death
More garbage propaganda from PragerU!
Florida schools continue to be the envy of all Gilead, and Gov. Ron DeSantis just can’t seem to stop trying to explain that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the state’s new African American history standards, which explain that enslaved people learned valuable job skills, and that atrocities like the Tulsa race massacre involved violence perpetrated “against and by” African Americans.
New Florida History Guidelines Require Teaching Upsides Of Slavery, Like Learning Job Skills, Getting Free Slop For Dinner
Adding more insult to gaslighting injury, the Florida Department of Education earlier this month approved the classroom use of videos from Dennis Prager’s rightwing culture-wars factory “PragerU,” which is not an actual university but doesn’t mind if viewers go on thinking it is.
As we’ve noted previously, PragerU’s videos regularly promote rightwing myths and pretend it’s history with five-minute lectures aimed at that vital MAGA constituency, the Poorly Educated. Adult offerings have included lie-fests claiming that modern Democrats are no different from the founders of the KKK (because 1964 never happened) and that There Was No Southern Strategy.
In recent years, PragerU has expanded into the honorable field of Lying to Children, because they’re less likely to fact check, and after all, kids need to be saved from liberal indoctrination. The productions from PragerU Kids are just as tendentious and fallacious as the adult offerings, but have the added benefit of providing jarringly bad animation and voice acting, because kids love cartoons, no matter how badly made.
The fracas involving Florida’s African American history standards has put the spotlight on one PragerU Kids vid in particular, which features a modern brother and sister going back in time to meet Christopher Columbus, who when informed that teachers say he brought disease and slavery to the New World, exclaims “Carramba!” like any 15th-century Genoese guy would have. We’ve cued up the vid to that bit, but feel free to watch the whole thing if you’re a glutton for punishment.
Columbus patiently explains that the “place I discovered was beautiful, but it wasn’t exactly a paradise of civilization, and the native people were far from peaceful.” Oh sure, some tribes were peaceful, but others were “vicious warring cannibals,” and that all the ills of humanity could be found among the people he met. Ergo, Columbus tells the wide-eyed kids (they’re just drawn that way), people who think the pre-Columbian Americas were a “peaceful Paradise” are “misinformed — or lying.” And probably the latter, since liberals lie about everything.
Then Layla asks about slavery, which is surely wrong, and Columbus explains that slavery has always existed, “even among the people I just left.” He immediately jumps to this impressive conclusion: “Being taken as a slave is better than being killed, no? [big smile] I don’t see the problem.” Apparently those are the only two choices.
No, please do not point out to PragerU that in reality, thousands of Africans taken by enslavers really did commit suicide — or attempted to — during the hellish Middle Passage.
Layla informs him that people today consider slavery horrible and evil, and Columbus is glad to hear we’ve advanced so much, but then lectures the kids:
“You’re from 500 years in the future? How can you come here to the 15th century and judge me by your standards from the 21st century?”
He decries the “idea of throwing away the past because of your present values,” which means we must keep Columbus Day and Confederate statues forever, then explains, when Layla asks if good and bad are entirely a matter of historical context,
“Some things are clearly bad, no matter when they happen. But for other things, before you judge, you must ask yourself, ‘What did the culture and society at the time treat as no big deal?’”
Then, after explaining that only God and Jesus Christ are perfect, Columbus thanks the kids for coming to visit, and “jokes” that now he’ll lock them up to show to the King and Queen of Spain, because we understand that slavery is just a funny little joke and he would never treat nice Christian kids like the indigenous people he literally had in the hold of his ship.
Strangely, the video ends with no guidance as to what’s always wrong, except that slavery is not in that category. We suspect that PragerU would condemn as corrosive “cultural relativism” any similar attempt to argue that LGBTQ gay people have always been around.
It’s not clear whether any Florida schools are actually using this particular video, but the state Education Department has given the all-clear for any of PragerU’s offerings to be used in schools, explaining that “the material aligns to Florida's revised civics and government standards."
Other videos in the series depict Frederick Douglass decrying the tactics of some pre-Civil War abolitionists as being on par with dangerous Black Lives Matter “rioters” of today, and explaining that while
“I’m certainly not OK with slavery, but the Founding Fathers made a compromise to achieve something great: the making of the United States.”
So no, don’t expect PragerU videos to quote from Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech, either.
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