The Univision co-host of the Fox News Republican presidential debate reinforced false leftist narratives Wednesday night when pressing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on his state’s K-12 curriculum.
Univision’s Ilia Calderon implied DeSantis promoted educational standards that suggested slavery benefitted the victims. The question emanates from claims Vice President Kamala Harris fabricated this summer.
“Florida’s new Black History curriculum says ‘slaves developed skills that in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit,'” Calderon said, ignoring that the left-wing College Board has apparently made nearly identical statements. “You have said, ‘Slaves developed skills in spite of slavery, not because of it.’ But many are still hurt. For descendants of slaves, this is personal. What is your message to them?”
The Florida governor attacked the question as a “hoax” engineered by the vice president to smear Republicans as racist.
“First of all, that’s a hoax that was perpetrated by Kamala Harris. We are not going to be doing that,” DeSantis said. “Second of all, that was written by descendants of slaves. These are great black history scholars, so we need to stop playing these games.”
“Here’s the deal,” DeSantis added, “Our country’s education system is in decline because it’s focused on indoctrination, denying parents’ rights. Florida represents the revival of American education.”
Fox host @iliacalderon repeats misinformation spread by Vice President Kamala Harris about DeSantis and Florida's black history curriculum: "For descendants of slaves, this is personal. What is your message to them?" pic.twitter.com/76IkdwfsI3— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) September 28, 2023
Vice President Harris helped ignite the conspiracy theory surrounding Florida’s education standards in July when she landed in Jacksonville to denounce the new curriculum for middle schoolers.
“They decided middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery,” Harris said. “They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not stand for it.”
Dr. William Allen, the former chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who helped design Florida’s new curriculum, condemned the vice president’s remarks as “categorically false” on ABC News.
“The only criticism I’ve encountered so far [on the new curriculum] is a single one that was articulated by the vice president, and which was an error,” said Allen, who is black. “It was never said that slavery was beneficial to Africans.”
Univision host Calderon went on to amplify another leftist narrative in the Fox News debate when she asked former Vice President Mike Pence about warnings from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for LGBT Americans.
“The Department of Homeland Security warns violence against LGBT+ people is on the rise and intensifying,” Calderon said, citing an unnamed study claiming that “members of that community are nine times more likely to be victims of violent hate crimes.”
“As president, how would you protect this community from violent attacks and discrimination?” Calderon asked.
The Federalist’s Eddie Scarry debunked the popular left-wing myth of an overwhelming surge in anti-LGBT crimes in his 2022 book, “Liberal Misery,” and even highlighted one such report from the DHS released in the final months of President Donald Trump’s term.
“But there was a problem with the report,” Scarry wrote. “There were precisely zero citations showing where the Department of Homeland Security had derived its conclusions — no news articles or academic papers. Just an assurance by the acting secretary, who was ‘particularly concerned about white supremacist violent extremists’ of late.”
The agency posted another bulletin in November to garner headlines — and apparently debate questions — about a supposed outbreak of violence against LGBT Americans. But it cited just a few prominent episodes of anti-LGBT violence. One example DHS offered was the November shooting at a gay bar in Colorado Springs. The agency failed to mention the shooter identified as “non-binary” and used “they/them” pronouns.