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Florida Approves Controversial Right-Wing Animated Videos for Education

August 14, 2023 | By Kali Girl

In a move drawing attention, Florida has granted approval for the inclusion of contentious animated videos, produced by an unaccredited right-wing entity, as supplementary educational resources, reports PEOPLE.

Following the cancellation of an African American history class earlier, the state has now given its endorsement to a disputed series of videos originating from PragerU, an organization established by conservative radio personality Dennis Prager.

Some of these videos depict animated portrayals of historical figures like Christopher Columbus and Frederick Douglass defending the concept of slavery to students.

While these videos are not mandatory curriculum components within Florida’s schools, the state’s Department of Education has acknowledged the availability of the PragerU materials “aligns to Florida’s revised civics and government standards” and “can be used as supplemental materials in Florida schools at district discretion.”

A recently trending video online uses Christopher Columbus as a teaching tool regarding slavery.

“Slavery is as old as time and has taken place in every corner of the world,” the fictional Columbus says in one of the videos. “Even among the people I just left.”

The video continues: “Being taken as a slave is better than being killed, no? Before you judge, you must ask yourself, ‘What did the culture and society of the time treat as no big deal?'”

Another from PragerU shows children meeting abolitionist Frederick Douglass through time travel. The animated portrayal of Douglass, who experienced brutal enslavement, appears to express unexpected empathy towards the concept of slavery, calling it a “compromise.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis himself has supported the state’s new education standards concerning slavery, saying the lessons are “probably going to show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life.”

Although DeSantis has said Florida supports “education not indoctrination,” at a 2023 conference in Philadelphia, Prager spoke about a conversation he had with protesters, saying he asked them. “’I really wanted to hear what evidence do you have that I am despicable?’

“And all I heard was, ‘Well, because you indoctrinate kids.’ Which is true. We bring doctrines to children. That is a very fair statement. I said, ‘But what is the bad of our indoctrination?’”

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