English teacher’s lesson equating Germany’s Holocaust to US slavery stirs controversy

A North Carolina high school teacher’s lesson plan appears to downplay the Holocaust while suggesting that Americans were akin to Nazis for allowing slavery to exist for a longer period of time.

Lisa Patrizio, an English teacher at Ardrey Kell High School, asked students in an 11th-grade class to discuss their thoughts from the standpoint of a fictional person after reading about the Second World War.

The correct answer to a multiple-choice question as seen in a screenshot sent to the Washington Free Beacon gave the impression that Americans give too much importance to the horrific treatment endured by Jews during the Holocaust.

“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,” said the answer. “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 question on the quiz asked students what their characters had discovered after they read “the Germans had been trying to do in only a few years what the Americans had worked at for nearly two hundred.”

While historical accounts note that African slaves brought to the colonies – and then the newly-formed United States – were very often treated poorly, they were not exterminated en masse. Hitler’s Nazi regime, by comparison, targeted Jews specifically for genocide.

The mother of a student at the Charlotte, N.C., school, Brooke Weiss, told the Free Beacon her daughter was stunned by the question and the answer but she did not speak out over fear of retribution.

Weiss, who is Jewish, told the outlet that she failed to understand why the comparison was made in the first place.

“Slavery and genocide are different things, but they’re both atrocities,” Weiss told the Free Beacon. “There’s no value in putting those words in the same sentence, other than pitting those two groups against each other.”

Weiss shared a screenshot of the question as well as her concerns on a Jewish mothers’ Facebook page in February, though her post was criticized including by another Charlotte public school teacher, Sivonne Stone, who wrote that Weiss was “literally cray cray.”

Stone, who has since resigned her position, added, “You give Jewish people a bad name,” while privately messaging Weiss to say, “F**k off.”

But Weiss remained steadfast in her criticism, explaining that she sees the lesson plan as part of a larger pattern of presenting “reframed” Marxism in classrooms.

“Instead of proletariat and bourgeoisie, it’s white versus black,” she told the outlet. “I’m not happy with it at all.”

The Free Beacon reported that the head of the school’s English department, Sarah Payseur, did not respond to requests for comment but that Ardrey Kell High School Principal Jamie Brooks issued a statement saying that school officials had addressed the matter with Weiss.

“A growing number of public and private schools across the United States have begun to push radical, antiracist curriculum in K-12 classrooms,” the Free Beacon reported.

“California has considered adopting woke standards that demonize Christianity, and dozens of leftwing education groups have pushed for antiracist math instruction, which considers finding the right answer and showing your work to be relics of white supremacy,” the outlet added.

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Jon Dougherty

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