Teaching about Antisemitism
This educational module aims to teach students about fighting prejudice. Using material from the Museum’s Voices on Antisemitism, the module:
- Illustrates the existence and broad impact of contemporary antisemitism;
- Demonstrates the ongoing relevance of the Holocaust to law, faith, the arts, and other areas;
- Introduces, punctuates, or ends sections of study; as homework or in-class listening.
The module is divided into six sections:
Ray Allen has visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum several times since it opened; each time he brings a different friend, teammate, or coach. The Museum, Allen says, has a message for everyone and lessons about prejudice that are universally relevant. Learn more »
As a researcher for Microsoft and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, danah boyd looks at how young people interact with social network sites, like Facebook and MySpace. Her research has led her to develop interesting observations about the nature of hate speech on the internet and tactics for combating it. Learn more »
Judea Pearl, father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, describes himself as a soldier battling the tsunami of hatred that has defined the twenty-first century. Learn more »
Cornel West encourages us to acknowledge our prejudices, rather than to pretend that they don't exist. He says that we must then formulate strategies to move to a higher moral ground. Learn more »
Professor Xu Xin has spent 40 years at Nanjing University—as an undergrad, a grad student, and currently as director of the Glazer Institute of Jewish Studies. He teaches new generations of Chinese students about Jewish history, culture, and the lessons of the Holocaust. Learn more »
The Holocaust is an example of prejudice and discrimination taken to the extreme. One can see its legacy in the efforts of some postwar activists to combat religious, racial, ethnic, and gender stereotypes. Stunned by the atrocities in Europe, many Americans turned to the fight against prejudice and discrimination at home. Unfortunately, prejudice continues today.
Tenacious individuals from a variety of backgrounds are fighting prejudice in all its forms. The Voices on Antisemitism podcast series is designed to bring together a variety of distinguished leaders of different backgrounds to comment on why antisemitism matters today. These leaders include Judea Pearl, whose son Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and killed by racial extremists in Pakistan; Cornel West, who encourages acknowledgement of prejudices, rather than pretending they don’t exist; and danah boyd, who discusses tactics for combating internet hate.
Jews were racially targeted for persecution in Nazi Germany and in German-controlled Europe. The Nazis believed that Germans were “racially superior” and that the Jews, deemed “inferior,” were a threat to the so-called German racial community. Also targeted because of their perceived “racial inferiority” were Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others).
In addition to racially targeted victims, the Germans persecuted, incarcerated in concentration camps, and killed real and perceived political opponents of the Nazi regime inside Germany. These included Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals. Nazi ideology identified a multitude of enemies and led to the systematic persecution and murder of many millions of people, both Jews and non-Jews.
Questions for Discussion or Writing
- Judea Pearl created a program intended to promote cross-cultural understanding. What can you do to promote cross-cultural understanding?
Ray Allen believes the Holocaust Museum is significant for everyone. How do you find meaning in the lessons of the Holocaust?
- Why does Cornel West think it important for us to acknowledge our own prejudices instead of just ignoring them?
danah boyd explains that internet hate has shown young people that issues of prejudice have not been solved, which has spurred them to become activists for tolerance.
- How can you become an activist for tolerance? What can you do to encourage others?
Xu Xin believes that antisemitism will come to China one way or another.
- What does this say about the spread of antisemitism?
- What does this say about the importance of fighting antisemitism and other prejudices?
- Create your own podcast interview: Students discuss how they can fight the prejudices they see today.
- Group Activity: In groups, students examine in-depth what the individuals in the Voices on Antisemitism episodes are doing to fight prejudice.
- Photo Activity: Using quotations from the podcast series, students portray their thoughts and feelings about that quotation through photographs selected from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Photo Archive database.
- Press Conference Activity: Students simulate a press conference in which they present on what the person assigned to them is doing to fight prejudice.
Additional Online Resources Related to Fighting Prejudice
(Fights antisemitism and all forms of bigotry in the U.S.)
Daniel Pearl Foundation
(Promotes cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications.)
The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding
(A national non-profit dedicated to strengthening relations between ethnic communities.)
Interfaith Youth Core
(Builds mutual respect and pluralism among young people from different religious traditions by empowering them to work together to serve others.)
Southern Poverty Law Center
(Internationally known organization for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacists, and its tracking of hate groups.)