A North Carolina high school teacher’s lesson on slavery likened slavery in America to the Holocaust and stated that Americans acknowledge the horror of the Holocaust but are reluctant to “take responsibility for the degradations of enslaved people that took place on American soil.” When a Jewish parent objected, acknowledging that the Holocaust and slavery were both atrocities but saying to make them synonymous was inaccurate, another teacher wrote, “You give Jewish people a bad name,” then reportedly privately messaged the Jewish parent, “F*** off.”
The initial incident that provoked Brooke Weiss, the parent of an 11th-grade student in an Ardrey Kell High School English class, was initiated by the teacher, who asked her students what a fictional character had learned after reading that “the Germans had been trying to do only in a few years what the Americans had worked at for nearly two hundred,” as The Washington Free Beacon reported.
The students were asked to choose from multiple answers for the correct answer, which read:
While the monstrosities of the Holocaust may have been more intense over a shorter period of time, those who lived through slavery endured conditions just as horrible over a much longer duration. Yet while Americans are largely comfortable acknowledging the events of the Holocaust as the worst impulses of mankind, there is often more hesitancy to take responsibility for the degradations of enslaved people that took place on American soil.
The Nazis murdered six million Jews during the Holocaust, including one million children. Their genocidal plan was to exterminate every Jew in Europe. As Yad Vashem has noted, “At the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, German government and SS leaders met to coordinate the extermination of every Jew in Europe. From this time until the end of the war in 1945, the ‘Final Solution’ was official Nazi policy and meant only one thing — total extermination of Europe’s Jews.”
Weiss, apprised of what had transpired in the class, shared a screenshot of the question on Facebook in early January and stated her concerns about the matter. She told the Free Beacon, “Slavery and genocide are different things, but they’re both atrocities. There’s no value in putting those words in the same sentence, other than pitting those two groups against each other.”
After Weiss’ post on Facebook, a Charlotte public school teacher responded that Weiss was “literally cray cray,” adding, “You give Jewish people a bad name.” She sent a private message to Weiss stating, “F*** off.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told the Free Beacon, “The whole issue is not to compare. We don’t need a pecking order of victimhood and suffering. We need to learn objectively what happened.”
Cooper pointed out that anti-Semitic preacher Louis Farrakhan has used comparisons similar to the teacher’s to foment hatred between Jews and black Americans. He added, “When you start first and foremost is you start with the facts. You have to try to humanize history. Beyond that, especially for Americans, we need to be empathetic to our neighbors, and to do that you need to do research, you need to read, and you need to knock at your neighbor’s door.”
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