How should schools resolve the Jewish Holocaust debacle?
The Jewish Holocaust is curriculum mandated for many schools across the nation. There are exactly twenty-nine states that require their students to have exposure to this event. Congress adopted the Never Again Education Act, which requires that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum develop and disseminate resources to improve exposure of the Jewish Holocaust. However, politicians, public personalities, and professional athletes have made remarks regarding the Jewish Holocaust that are deemed detrimental and have led Jewish advocacy groups and museums to voice their opposition.
Recently, in an interview with London-based newspaper The Sunday Times, actress, comedian, and “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg claimed that the Holocaust “wasn’t originally” about race. New York Nets guard Kyrie Irving faced backlash for promoting a film that Jewish advocates found offensive. Rapper, Kanye West was suspended from Twitter after he tweeted an image of a swastika, praising Hitler, and making jokes that Jewish Holocaust proponents consider offensive. This list is not inclusive but sets the tone for individuals in the public who have expressed their displeasure with the presentation of the Jewish Holocaust.
New Jersey is one state that requires the teaching the Jewish Holocaust to public education students. A careful examination of the New Jersey Jewish Holocaust curriculum reveals that this curriculum is absent of the requirements of the 2002 Amistad Law.
The Amistad Bill (A1301) requires that New Jersey schools incorporate African American history into their social studies curriculum. The Bill was sponsored by Assemblymen William D. Payne and Craig A. Stanley. This legislation also created the Amistad Commission, a 23-member body charged with ensuring that African American history, contributions, and experiences are adequately taught in classrooms.
Additions to the social studies Jewish Holocaust curriculum should include requiring curriculum materials and speakers that are associated with the Wiener Holocaust Library. The library was started by Dr. Alfred Wiener which host the world’s largest British collection of original Nazi era and Holocaust materials. One of the most promising library materials is a news article titled “The Persecution of Black People in the Nazi Camp System”. Other curriculum materials that would provide the experience of African Americans involved in the Jewish Holocaust include:
- Black Germany: The Making and Unmaking of a Disapora Community 1884-1960
- Hitler’s Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi-Era
- Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender, and Memory in the Third Reich
- Black German: An Afro-German Life in the Twentieth Century
Utilizing curriculum materials regarding African Americans and the Jewish Holocaust is a perfect segway to incorporating the holocaust experiences of African Americans. One such resource is the Americas Black Holocaust Museum.
The Americas Black Holocaust Museum was founded in 1988 by Dr. James Cameron. The museum has seven History Galleries and a Special Exhibits Gallery. The History Galleries detail in chronological order life in Africa before captivity to African American life today. The Special Exhibits Gallery includes a memorial to victims of lynching, the freedom Lovers Roll Call Wall, an art exhibit as well as featured exhibits.
In short, incorporating the holocaust experiences of African Americans into Jewish Holocaust experiences will help New Jersey schools to meet the requirements of the Amistad law.
This model can work for any State or school district that is contemplating incorporating the Jewish Holocaust into their curriculum. Utilize the Jewish Holocaust and include the presence and heroism of the African Americans that played a major role. Then make it mandatory that students learn about the African American Holocaust too. This model will help the world to understand that the same challenges that were faced in the Jewish Holocaust were faced by African Americans too.
Dr. Derrick Campbell
Quarantine Racism Educational Services