It has been reported that a Texas school district administrator told teachers in a training session that if they have books about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they should also have books that offer the “opposing” or “other” viewpoint on the subject. Texas Bill 3971 mandates that if public school teachers choose to discuss current events or widely debated or controversial public policy or social issues, they should present numerous points of view without giving deference to any one perspective.

In addition, as many as 22 states have passed or are considering laws to ban or restrict conversations about race and racism in public schools as of August 2021. Iowa bans educators from teaching content that could lead to discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of race or sex. Florida passed a law earlier this year banning critical race theory, which it says, claims “racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal system in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons.” An interesting concept, especially during this time of America’s racial reckoning.

It is illuminating to provide the facts and the opposing views regarding dehumanization and genocide. At best, providing both sides of the issue, one can evaluate and critically analyze the difference between factual historical events and fiction or mythology.

First, the Jewish Holocaust: What are the historical facts and what are the opposing views?

The fact:

  • there was a Nazi genocide of six million European Jews.

Opposing views:

  • the Holocaust never occurred;
  • there was no official policy or intention to exterminate the Jews;
  • poison gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau camps never existed;
  • finally, the Holocaust was invented or exaggerated by Jews as part of a plot to advance Jewish interests.

Second, the Black Holocaust: What are the historical facts and what are the opposing views?

The facts:

  • between 1526 and 1867, 12.5 million Africans were shipped from Africa and 10.7 million arrived in the Americas. The Middle Passage was brutal - approximately 12 percent of those who embarked did not survive the voyage. Once in America, the enslaved suffered inhumane working conditions, hunger, illness, rape and other forms of brutality.

Opposing views:

  • slavery was a benevolent institution. Slavery was a positive good and morally acceptable institution;
  • slaves by their nature were unable to take care of themselves, and whites had been appointed by God to watch over their bodies and souls;
  • enslavers tutored black people in civilization and religion;
  • slaves were well-treated and happy;
  • chattel slavery was more humane than the system of wage slavery in the North.

Third, the Native American Holocaust: What are the historical facts and what are the opposing views?

The facts:

  • by the late 19th century, fewer than 238,000 indigenous people remained - a sharp decline from the estimated 5-15 million living in North America before the arrival of Columbus;
  • from 1830-1850, the U.S. government used treaties, fraud, intimidation and violence to remove 100,000 Native Americans into the territory West of the Mississippi;
  • the Trail of Tears: The Native Americans faced hunger, disease and exhaustion on the forced march. More than 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokee died.

Opposing views:

  • native Americans held back the progress of the country;
  • native Americans were an obstacle to westward expansion;
  • native Americans were uncivilized people who made little use of vast tribal lands;
  • they were pagan savages killed in the name of civilization and Christianity;
  • the United States had a “Manifest Destiny” to occupy the entire continent from coast to coast;
  • finally, if removed, Native Americans could acculturate at their own pace, retain their autonomy, and live free of trespassing American settlers.

Each of the Holocausts presented above were crimes against humanity, an inherent subjugation and degradation of human beings. Humanity versus inhumanity is the issue in presenting the opposing views; heinous acts were committed, and the legacy of those acts remains.

The opposing views:

  • distort the reality of acts against humanity;
  • make victims into subhuman objects;
  • illustrate the lowest level of moral development;
  • perpetuate hateful beliefs;
  • perpetuate stereotypes;
  • undermine the truth and our subsequent understanding of history.

Shall we as a nation and as a people look beyond the lies and mythologies that the opposing views present? Will we stand up for the rights of those deemed uncivilized and inferior? Will we in this period of racial reckoning in America resolve to never allow this type of inhumanity to occur again? We are at a choice point of choosing: humanity and morality over hatred and greed.