Barbara Coloroso’s book Extraordinary Evil: A Brief History of Genocide was recently pulled from a Grade 11 curriculum proposal in Toronto, after protests from the Turkish-Canadian community arose over including the Armenian genocide.
But a committee struck to review the course decided in late April to remove the book because “a concern was raised regarding [its] appropriateness. … The Committee determined this was far from a scrupulous text and should not be on a History course although it might be included in a course on the social psychology of genocide because of her posited thesis that genocide is merely the extreme extension of bullying,” according to board documents.
Ironically, it would seem that Coloroso’s attempt to demonstrate how common, everyday behavior (such as bullying, intimidation, and discrimination) can so easily feed an act of genocide, is the message that the committee decides to criticize during their statement. Normally this is exactly the kind of example Holocaust educators attempt to use in order to draw parallels.
Strangely, the committee decided to use works by Bernard Lewis and Guenter Lewy in place of Extraordinary Evil. Both men are deniers of the Armenian genocide, which seems a curious way to present material for a course covering the genocide, as it would naturally suggest that the committee is hoping their students walk away disavowing the events of 1915.