I asked students – eleventh graders – to make a list of the biggest, most impactful historical American events, people, or places. I’m expecting the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Rosa Parks, MLK Jr., Jackie Robinson, Elvis Presley, Henry Ford and the advent of assembly lines, Detroit, Motown, westward expansion, fast food industry, Brown vs. Board, Roe v. Wade, Loving vs. Virginia, Christopher Columbus, slavery, feminism, Ms. magazine, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the Chrysler building, the Sears tower, Mt. Rushmore, Mt. Saint Helens, the Grand Canyon, Theodore Roosevelt creating the National Parks system, the New Deal, NASA and the first man to walk on the moon, the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Special Olympics, Barack Obama becoming the first Black president…
One kid said “feminism stuff.” One kid mentioned Rosa Parks.
The rest of them? Literally the rest of them said either WWII or, more specifically, the Holocaust.
The only people listed (with the exception of the aforementioned Rosa Parks) – I shit you not – were Anne Frank, Albert Einstein, and Adolf Hitler. All of them German.
I leave you with this final thought: ??????????