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Can we teach opposing views on systemic racism without invoking the Holocaust?

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17.10.2021

This past week, a school administrator in Texas was heard on tape saying that a new law forces teachers to provide “opposing” views on the Holocaust. The Texas law mandates that controversial issues be taught from “diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.”

I immediately received messages asking whether the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values’ (JILV) efforts to open up the conversation on sensitive topics encourages Holocaust denial:

Don’t arguments that there is more than one side on systemic racism in America facilitate arguments that there is more than one side to the Holocaust?

It should go without saying that it is absurd and outrageous to teach opposing opinions about whether the Holocaust, or slavery for that matter, happened. They are historical facts. There are, however, completely valid differences of opinion about how and why these monstrous evils were perpetrated, just as there are valid differences of opinion about the extent and impact of systemic racism in America today. “The dispute about the interpretation of events is completely legitimate, but the dispute about the existence of events is either dangerous or stupid or both,” stated Rabbi David Wolpe.

A JTA article on the Texas Holocaust education controversy quoted Russel Neiss, a St. Louis-based Jewish educator:

“The way that Holocaust education is taught in America is, it talks about systems of oppression, it talks about........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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