SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utah House Democrats say they are “deeply concerned and disappointed” by Florida Gov. Ron Desantis’ comments concerning the teaching of slavery in his state’s academic curriculum during a recent visit to Utah, according to a press release.
When asked about education guidelines on slavery in the state of Florida at a press conference on Friday, Desantis replied, “I think that they’re probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life.” He continued, “But the reality is, all of that is rooted in whatever is factual. They listed everything out.”
Desantis’ words at the Utah State Capitol sparked some blowback among Utah democrats.
The Utah House Dems said that his comments take part in the enabling of an academic curriculum that “ignores historical truths” and “is damaging to the education system,” according to a release.
The Dems said that it was a “step backward in the civil rights movement,” and that creating any perception that slavery was beneficial makes “a mockery of any progress toward a kinder, more equitable America.”
Furthermore, the release states that they are alarmed by the failure of Desantis’ Utah supporters to publicly decry these comments.
“Racist rhetoric that seeks to erase the unsavory parts of our history has no place in our state’s dialogue. We must insist better from our state leaders. If we do not, we fail to do better for our state, and fail everyone in our communities who deserve to live in a world free from racism and bigotry,” the release states.
The Dems added that work is still needed in the Beehive State to overcome “the lasting traces of racism.” They called upon legislative colleagues to recognize the importance of “providing opportunities to learn from past atrocities and build a better, more inclusive future for every person.”
The release states that it is not about hiding our nation’s history, but about working to eradicate injustices. “It is imperative the State of Utah continues to teach the whole truth of American history and not hide our dark past. As public officials we must not shy away from our history, but actively work to eradicate injustices in order to create a better future for all Utahns.”
You can read more about Desantis’ recent campaign stop in Utah, as well as who endorses his campaign and who opposes him here.