Resolution on Teaching about Intolerance and Genocide

1993 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


The teachers who proposed this resolution cited a 1993 Roper survey which showed that 22 percent of students and 20 percent of adults responding to the survey believed there was a possibility that the European Holocaust of the 1930s and 1940s did not happen. The teachers said the survey underscored the need for vigilance against bigotry and genocide, and attempts to “revise” historical fact.

Proponents said acts of racial, ethnic, class, and religious hostility are increasing in numbers around the world, and that the destructive forces of intolerance must be countered in every setting. Education, they said, is the most powerful tool to help students perceive others’ victimization and to prepare them to fight intolerance. The resolution’s proponents believe students should study the wealth of primary source material by, as well as literature about, the victims of intolerance. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English affirm that students should read and discuss literature on genocide and intolerance within an historically accurate framework with special emphasis on primary source material; and

that NCTE create a task force to submit for publication a compilation of resources including visual media, literature, and agencies that can assist teachers in planning and producing instructional materials on the rhetoric and literature of genocide and intolerance.

This position statement may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE.