Addressing Anti-Semitism After the January 6th Attack on the Capital

Last week’s attack on the Capital is something that shook up the world and also brought attention to the vile, pervasive white supremacy in America today. Images of insurgents wearing “Camp Auschwitz” and “Six Million Wasn’t Enough” shirts to carrying confederate flags, to a noose hanging outside the Capital building affirms that anti-semitism and Neo-Nazis, hatred and racism, are not only something of America’s history and dark past. White supremacy is alive and well, and last week’s terror attack continues to affirm this.

Amy Spitalnick writes in a blog post for Integrity First for America, a nonprofit organization dedicated civil rights and equal justice, how “the capital attack followed the Charlottesville playbook in many ways: On both mainstream and fringe social media sites, these extremists planned violence in explicit detail. They then show sup with weapons in tactical gear, prepared for the violence they planned. Both are field by the idea of the “country being stolen from them.” And now, far right extremists are using the attack to recruit and organize online, with all indications pointing to the potential of more violence in the coming weeks.”

The Anti-Defamation League reports 2,107 hate crimes against Jewish people nationwide in 2019, according to the organization’s annual survey. That’s the highest the number since the ADL began tallying hate crimes in 1979. In 2020 the number of hate crimes around the world only increased. Hannahmichelledraws created and posted the image below on her Instagram account to highlight 9 antisemitic incidents in December 2020 alone.

We must allow for space and time in our classrooms and around the dinner table for conversations about dismantling racism, hatred, and anti-semitism.

Here are some resources to support these conversations:

21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge from America and Moore

Teaching Tolerance recommends the resources below to help teach about Jewish identities and antisemitism: 

When teaching social justice and WW2 with my middle school students we start with the Anti-Defamation League’s Pyramid of Hate. The Pyramid shows biased behaviors, growing in complexity from the bottom to the top. Although the behaviors at each level negatively impact individuals and groups, as one moves up the pyramid, the behaviors have more life-threatening consequences. Students read choice novels about WW2 and the Holocaust that coincides with studying about WW2 in social studies.

Classroom Resources for Teaching the Holocaust

Here is a curated list of 50 social justice books from the nonprofit Teaching for Change. Here is a second, broken down by grade level, by The National Network of State Teachers of the Year. On this blog I have shared out the playlists and projects that my students create that coincide with their reading and research about WW2 and social justice. You can check out more of these posts or grab a copy of the WW2 playlist HERE.

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