MR. MARZO'S ENGLISH II
(CP) WEB PORTAL
THE POWER OF WORDS
LEARNING ACTIVITY SUMMARY
Students will consider the connections between anti-Semitic and other hate speech, prejudice and oppression, and violence.
Antisemitism/Anti-Semitism, hate speech, anti-Semitic terms,
including: Christ-killer, Hebe/Heeb, Hymie, kike/Kike, Shylock,
Yid, (for more, see The Color of Words: An Encyclopaedic
Dictionary of Ethnic Bias in the United States, available from
Antisemitism/Anti-Semitism (The Color of Words, pp. 13-14): Anti-Semitism is prejudice and discrimination against Jews.
… Along with the diﬃculties of the seemingly timeless issues of anti- Semitism has gone the diﬃcult problem of deﬁning the term. Not surprisingly, for many Jews the term anti-Semite carries with it the memories of Nazism and the smell of mass murder. More broadly, the anti-Semitic label has been used to refer to those who are prejudiced against Jews seen as a race or against Judaism, the religious beliefs and the observation of Jewish practices. In the “new” anti-Semitism described by Forster and Epstein (1974), it means those who criticize the policies of Israel or institutions that oppose those policies.
Hate speech (The Color of Words, pp. 103-104): Talk or communication that is likely to be perceived as oﬀensive by a minority group or a group that deﬁnes itself as a victim. Groups considered to be the targets of such speech are usually racial, ethnic, religious or national; also targeted are certain categories including gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status and physical capacity.
Christ-killer (The Color of Words, p. 53): From the second half of the nineteenth century, a hostile, insulting reference to a Jew, considered as someone whose ancestors made the mistake of betraying Christ to the Romans and failing to recognize the true Messiah.
Hebe/Heeb (The Color of Words, p. 105): From Hebrew, this term is a disrespectful or derogatory nickname for a Jewish person (usually a man) that appeared in the 1920s.
Anti-Semitism and Hate Speech
Hymie/heimie (The Color of Words, p. 113): Recent oﬀensive slang word for a Jew, from the Hebrew word hayyim, meaning “life.”
Kike/kike (The Color of Words, p. 133-134): A highly pejorative term meaning an uncouth Jewish merchant, but may be used for any Jewish man or woman.
Shylock (The Color of Words, p. 206): An anti-Semitic epithet
meaning a “loan shark” or “extortionist.” As a verb, it means to
“lend money at exorbitant interest rates.” Shylock was the name of a character in Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice. He was a Jewish man portrayed as a bloodsucking
usurer. The image of a practitioner of commercial deception, however, was a part of the stereotype of the Jew long before Shakespeare.
Yid/yid (The Color of Words, p. 239): (pl. Yidden, “the Jewish
people”). A Jew, particularly an eastern European Yiddish-speaking Jew, which is what the term denotes.
… Pronunciation reﬂects whether the usage is intended to slur:
Yid, rhyming with did, as anti-Semites pronounce it, is oﬀensive; but Yeed, rhyming with deed, is not.
TYPE OF LEARNING ACTIVITY
Case studies • Research • Problem-solving
• This lesson plan
• Teaching Tolerance’s video “The Shadow of Hate” (order
form included below)
• One or more of the following links to archives of Nazi propaganda:
The Eternal Jew
Caricatures from Der Stuermer
Nazi Propaganda (1933-1945)
Cartoons from Die Brennessel
• Several hours for research
• 2 class periods
Small to large (2 to 20+). Large groups may want to divide into smaller groups for discussion.
LEARNING ACTIVITY INSTRUCTIONS
1. Before your group meets, visit one or more of the websites listed above and view some of the archives of anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda. Notice the visual imagery as well as the language used.
2. View the Teaching Tolerance video “The Shadow of Hate.” Listen for the types of language used about or directed against the groups and individuals who were targets of acts of hatred.
3. In small groups, share your impressions.
Answer the following:
• What emotions did you feel as you were watching the
video? Did you feel anger, compassion, fear, embarrass-
ment or sorrow?
• What did you notice about the language used?
• What were some of the labels used?
• What were some of the descriptive adjectives used?
• How does this kind of language aﬀect people’s
impressions of individuals before they meet or get
to know them?
4. Consider the deﬁnition of hate speech.
5. Using that deﬁnition, and your insights from viewing the video, analyze the piece(s) of anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda you researched. Free-write for 10 minutes, explaining the connections between propaganda (hate speech); an environment that dehumanizes people; and acts of violence, killing and genocide.
6. In small groups, share your responses.
Questions for debrieﬁng:
• What strategies do hate mongers have in common?
• What are the connections between language and hate?
• How has anti-Semitism continued?
• Has this exercise given you any new ideas?
If so, what are they?
• Are there some ways you have consciously or unconsciously engaged in anti-Semitic speech or behavior (or other hate speech or behavior)?
• If so, are there ways you can change this speech or behavior?
• Do any contemporary groups use similar strategies today?
How do they use them, and to what success?
1. View the Simon Wiesenthal Center ﬁlm “Genocide,” available from www.wiesenthal.com/.
2. Starting at the Southern Poverty Law Center
(www.splcenter.org/index.jsp), Simon Wiesenthal Center
(www.wiesenthal.com/) or Anti-Defamation League
(www.adl.org), research a current anti-Semitic hate group.
3. Follow the instructions detailed above on page 2.