After Charlottesville: Teaching about Racism, Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy

  • For Educators
    For Parents, Families, and Caregivers
Teacher and Students in Library Discussion

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In August 2017, ‘Unite the Right’ convened one of the largest and most violent gatherings in decades in the U.S. that brought together white supremacist groups including the alt-right, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. The gathering’s stated goal was to save the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, because like other places in the South, there are still monuments celebrating leaders of the Confederacy. Hundreds gathered on Friday evening and Saturday to broadcast their viewpoints and ideologies, including chanting, “blood and soil,” “you will not replace us” and “hail Trump.” They carried torches, homemade shields, weapons and Confederate and Nazi flags. Many brandished Nazi salutes. After continued clashes with their opponents, a car plowed into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring nineteen. A state of emergency was declared by Virginia’s Governor.

This event has precipitated many public conversations about the state of white supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, domestic extremism, free speech and other related topics. Because this is an important “teachable moment” for teachers and parents and family members, below are relevant lessons, related curricula and additional anti-bias resources and strategies to help you discuss these topics with young people.

Curriculum Resources

Challenging Anti-Semitism: Debunking the Myths and Responding with Facts

Elementary School,
Middle School,
High School
This curricular unit includes multi-grade lessons that provide students with a basic understanding of Judaism and the cultural, historical and religious aspects of the U.S. Jewish community and offer facts to refute anti-Semitic myths and stereotypes and ways to effectively respond to anti-Semitic incidents.

Holocaust Education

Holocaust education programs provide education and resources to help educators and students study the history of the Holocaust.

Privilege, Discrimination and Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

High School
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the killing of Michael Brown through the lens of race, privilege and power. Students will learn more about unearned privilege, examine the various levels of racial disparities in the criminal justice system and explore the role white privilege plays in the different interactions whites and people of color have with community service providers, such as law enforcement.

Educator and Parent Resources for Discussing Issues of Racism, Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy with Young People

Hate Symbols

We see symbols every day in all aspects of our lives. Lately, a proliferation of hate symbols is increasing concern. Use this discussion guide to engage youth in conversations about swastikas and other hate symbols.   

Children's Literature with Educator and Parent Discussion Guides and Other Books

Who Will Tell My Brother?

Determined to sway high school officials to remove disparaging Native American mascots, Evan assumes a struggle that spirals him onto a soul-searching journey and exposes him to a barrage of bullying, taunts and escalating violence.

March: Book One

Book One of this graphic novel trilogy spans Congressman John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

Milkweed

This book takes place in the Nazi-occupied Warsaw of World War II—and tells a tale of heartbreak, hope and survival through the eyes of a young orphan.

ADL's Center on Extremism Resources

Hate on Display™ Hate Symbols Database

This database provides an overview of many of the symbols most frequently used by a variety of white supremacist groups and movements, as well as some other types of hate groups. 

Other Resources

When Hate is in the Headlines: Resources for K-12 Educators

Sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), this webinar provides resources and concrete examples of how to discuss issues of hate in the headlines with students in elementary, middle and high school.

Mass Violence and Extremism Backgrounder: Information for Educators and School Administrators

This backgrounder strives to provide comprehensive information that is relevant and appropriate for all school districts. It delves into some of the causes and observable signs of student violence and extremism and provides a set of steps for schools to take that may aid in discouraging attacks. This resource is a joint project of ADL and The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.