by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A North Carolina teacher’s lesson on slavery included a discussion question that downplayed the Holocaust and likened 19th-century Americans to Nazis.
Ardrey Kell High School English teacher Lisa Patrizio asked her 11th-grade students to describe a fictional character’s thoughts after reading about World War II. The correct answer to the multiple-choice question, a screenshot of which was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, implied that Americans give undue weight to the horrors of 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,” the answer read. “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 quiz question asked what the character had learned after reading that “the Germans had been trying to do in only a few years what the Americans had worked at for nearly two hundred.”
Brooke Weiss, the mother of a student at the Charlotte public school, said her daughter was shocked by the question but did not speak out about it for fear of retribution. Weiss, who is Jewish, told the Free Beacon that she didn’t understand the school’s need to compare the two horrific events.
“Slavery and genocide are different things, but they’re both atrocities,” Weiss said. “There’s no value in putting those words in the same sentence, other than pitting those two groups against each other.”
Weiss expressed her concerns and shared a screenshot of the question on a Jewish mothers’ Facebook page in February. Her post was met with criticism from Sivonne Stone, then a Charlotte public school teacher, who wrote that Weiss was “literally cray cray.”