WHITE SUPREMACISTS ARE NOT THE ONLY RACISTS

I had a major battle on Amazon about a book I said was racist. A lot of people said “No, it isn’t. The author is an avowed Boston liberal.” I’m sure he said he was and he probably believes it’s true, but he wrote like a racist. Every time he mentioned someone of color, he referred to his or her color.

 

Tears never ran down their cheeks. The tears ran down their black cheeks. The didn’t have hands. They had brown hands or black hands. Not once were the Natives of the region — somewhere in or around Guiana, I think — ever mentioned without in indicating their race. Their name might be forgotten, but never their race.


That is racism. Call it whatever you like. It is what it is.

Passive? Probably insofar as those who feel that way rarely attend racist rallies or carry fascist flags. But these are the friends who would never visit us when we lived in a Black neighborhood because they were sure they would be mugged or shot by our neighbors — most of whom were police officers, one of whom was a guard at a city prison, and two of whom were Sheriffs.

We had less crime there than we had while living on Beacon Hill. Far less. No one broke into our house or vandalized our cars. No one stole our cars (both of which were stolen while we lived on Beacon Hill) or tried to swipe things from our deliverers. Racism isn’t only the white-hooded, marching and shouting kind. It’s an attitude. A belief that says that dark-skinned people are more violent, predatory, and criminal. Different in bad ways. Dangerous. Gun-toting. The kind of “passive ‘I’m really a liberal’ ” racism that’s so easy to pretend doesn’t exist.

Without significant attitudinal changes, it will never go away.

 

Racism runs deep in this country. North, south, east and west and without regard for ethnicity or political agenda. You’ll find it in your household, your neighborhood, your church. Your “liberal friends” who won’t go anywhere that isn’t known as a “white” neighborhood. These are the people who prevent non-white people from being promoted at work, from getting scholarships, from getting into management positions.

The ones who are constantly complaining about “equal opportunity” ruining their work are because dark-skinned people are stealing their jobs. The same morons who never consider they don’t get promoted because they don’t work hard enough and aren’t very good, either. The same people who bitch that “political correctness” is keeping them from calling people “n#gg#rs.” Who would use that word — with or without political correctness as a measure?

Red lights in Roxbury

These folks are cops and judges. Office managers. Parole officers. Social workers. Teachers. They are your drinking buddies, the barkeeper, and the kids your kids play with. The first step to making this problem begin to go away is to figure out where you stand on this matter. Are you a racist? A nice, quiet, suburban racist? Are you? Think about it. There has never been a better time to take a good hard look at who you are and where you really stand.

Get back to me on it.

DEAR BLACK PEOPLE – FROM THE SHINBONE STAR

By Denise Shabazz

Dear Black People,

A year ago, I was compelled to write to white women who voted for Donald Trump even though their interests were not clearly aligned with the Grab-Them-by-the-Pussy-in-Chief. I was angry at them then, and now I’m angry at you for the same reason.

I’ve noticed that many of you are concerned about California Sen. Kamala Harris, Democratic presumptive presidential candidate Joe Biden’s pick for his vice president. Most of your concerns stem from her record when she served as a district attorney for San Francisco. Others complained that Harris just isn’t black enough, noting her marriage to white Jewish entertainment lawyer Douglas Emhoff, as well as her biracial South Asian heritage. Other critics say she just isn’t progressive enough.

To all you naysayers: Now. Is. Not. The. Time.

I’m going to remind you of what a racist clown we have in the Oval Office.

REMEMBER? Neo-Nazi racists carrying Tiki torches in Charlottesville, Va., some of Donald Trump’s “very good people.”

Let’s start with what happened in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 12, 2017. It was called the Unite the Right Rally, a protest organized by white supremacist groups.

Neo-Nazis and white supremacists — dressed in khakis and carrying Tiki torches — protested the removal of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s statute. According to the New York Times, the group was chanting: “You will not replace us” and “Jew will not replace us.”

An anti-racist group — including Black Lives Matters marchers — clashed with the racists and several were hurt. One of the counter protesters, Heather Heyer,  was killed when James Alex Fields slammed his car into the crowd.

But the most jarring thing about the whole tragedy was Trump’s response to the carnage:

“You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”

Now. Is. Not. The. Time.

REMEMBER? Donald Trump actually campaigned on a racist message. It wasn’t false advertising.

May I remind you, too, of the time when Racist Donny announced his presidency on June 15, 2015 from Trump Tower. He proclaimed on that day:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Black people, if you aren’t troubled by those comments, I question your consciousness. Trump’s campaign launch was an indication for racist rhetoric to come. And sure enough, our Clown President didn’t disappoint. Most recently, he blew the racist dog whistles when he tweeted earlier in August that suburban housewives would vote for him because:

“They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood.”

Now. Is. Not. The. Time.

I could go on and on about the Clown President’s race-baiting, but it would require me writing a book.

I will say that I did research Sen. Harris’ record as a prosecutor, and it is interesting that both Fox News and the New York Times have differing views, which to me demonstrates that her record is complex and not so cut-and-dried like many of you want to believe.

Times profile on Aug. 9 notes that “Critics saw her taking baby steps when bold reform was needed — a microcosm of a career in which she developed a reputation for taking cautious, incremental action on criminal justice and, more often than not, yielding to the status quo.”

However, a Fox News article from Aug. 13 notes that Harris is not a “progressive prosecutor” and has a lenient record on crime, refusing to seek the death penalty for many criminal defendants, including for the killer of police Officer Isaac Espinoza.

So, Black people, I give you Exhibit A: Donald Trump, a liar, a racist and a corrupt, soulless man who most recently has gone to war against the United States Postal Service, appointing a key supporter to defund the institution in order to slow the mail — specifically mail-in-ballots — ahead of the election. He gives not one damn about veterans and the elderly who depend on prescriptions that come through the mail. After all, it’s always about him. He has also demanded that schools reopen to in-person learning without a national strategy or funding to provide COVID-19 testing or for supporting educators.

On the other hand, I present Exhibit B: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, candidates who are now offering a responsible strategy for containing the COVID-19 virus, calling for a national mask-wearing mandate in light of the pandemic, as well as providing emergency aid for the unemployed.

I could care less who Kamala Harris shares her bed with or whether she’s “Black enough.” The fact that she went to my alma mater, Howard University, an historically Black university, shares my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha is all I need.

Again, Black people, Now. Is. Not. The Time


See original source: Dear Black People – THE SHINBONE STAR

IS EVERYONE A LITTLE BIT RACIST?

Fandango’s Provocative Question #81

From Fandango:

“Racism, especially in America, is a thorny and divisive topic. Someone I know told me about a song, “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” from the Broadway musical “Avenue Q.” It goes:

Everyone’s a little bit
Racist, sometimes.
Doesn’t mean we go around committing
Hate crimes.
Look around and
You will find,
No one’s really
Color-blind.
Maybe it’s a fact
We all should face.
Everyone makes
Judgments…
Based on race.”

I’d like to point out that racism by color has NOT always existed. Until the introduction of slavery — Black slavery — into Europe and America, bonds were largely religious and/or tribal. They were not based on skin color. The addition of skin color was a Christian weapon to justify slavery. It worked so well, they discovered if you turn any non-white people — North American Natives, abducted dark-skinned African natives, and Indians (from India) — into “barbarians” or “brutes,” then they weren’t human and you didn’t have to treat them as human. Race is, as human history goes, a relatively recent introduction to the haters scoreboard. Children who are brought up in a non-racist household in diverse neighborhoods often don’t notice skin color. When my son was growing up, I had to explain skin color to him because he had no idea what I was talking about. So I had to explain “more like my color or more like Garry’s color.” He still didn’t get why it mattered.

I don’t know what as a society we can do to stop parents who hate others based on skin color from pushing the same intolerance into their children’s little heads. Short of lobotomy — which occasionally seems like not a half-bad idea — how do you get ignorant, arrogant haters to consider the possibility that skin color has nothing to do with any other human abilities? People with other skin colors are as smart — or smarter — than lighter skinned people. They have the same sets of gifts for music, art, writing, mathematics or nuclear physics than whiter people do.

As racial groups, we may have differences in physiology. For example, Ashkenazi Jewish woman are more likely to get breast cancer than women without that gene. Young Black women are also more likely to get breast cancer. I’m sure one day we’ll work out the DNA links that make this true and maybe fix the problem. We know some of it, but not nearly enough. There are other ailments that are linked by DNA to specific groupings, probably many more than we know about.

Anything else is sheer prejudice.

Do people smell different? Sure they do. My son doesn’t smell like me and neither does my husband. A scent that smells good on me may smell awful on my best friend. Do they have different kinds of hair? Does baldness count? My grandmother was a redhead and I’m not. On the other hand, I inherited my father’s heart condition. I would have preferred the red hair. Oh, and Garry has dark skin and I’m about as white as anyone can be. We used to argue about beach vacations. His idea of a great vacation would put me in a burn unit. Somehow, we manage mostly because putting me in a burn unit would probably ruin both our vacations.

I don’t know why people hate each other for anything other than entirely personal reasons. It’s not that I don’t understand hate. I just don’t understand group hate, racial hate, religious hatred. But personally? I get the one-on-one thing. I often think the weirdest difference between any two humans is male versus female. It’s amazing that people so completely different manage to live together in some semblance of harmony for decades. It proves that tolerance can work.

Maybe if everyone  of every color marry until we are all one, nice tan, there will be no group left to hate.

UNEQUAL TERMS – Marilyn Armstrong

While I was growing up, mostly in the late 1950s and early 1960s, I knew there was plenty of inequality to go around. Whether you were non-white or non-Christian, or a woman, there was plenty of prejudice and bigotry to give everyone a healthy dose.


While it was no longer fashionable to be (at least in my home state of New York) an obvious bigot, it didn’t eliminate bigotry. Many of us felt the effects. It was subtle. It always left a question mark hanging in the air. What had really happened? If you were a member of any group that suffered from social and workplace intolerance, you had to tweeze apart encounters to make sense of them. There was what had been said aloud. Then, there were innuendos and attitudes that left you trying to figure out if it was personal or something else.

I remember talking with my mother about this following an unsuccessful job interview where I had gotten the distinct impression the real issue was not my education or experience, but my plumbing. Or maybe it was the hook in my nose. Or both. What did she think?

“When I started working,” she said, “I was only 14 … so I guess that was 1924? I didn’t look particularly Jewish. Blond hair, green eyes. But in those days, they didn’t have to guess. They just asked. It was legal to ask about religion and race. They gave me a form to fill out. I filled it in. Name, age, address, school. Where I had worked before. Then they asked for my religion. I wrote Jewish, then handed back the form.”

“That was legal?” I asked. It seemed incredible to me that this had gone on, but of course I was naïve and young. I would grow more cynical as years went on. “And then what happened?”

“He looked over the form,” continued my mother. “Then he mumbled Jewish. He took the paper, tore it up, and threw it in the trash. Right in front of me. At that point, I decided I would write “Protestant” when I was asked. No one was going to do that to me again.”

Things have supposed gotten better. After all, we have the civil rights amendment and laws which, in theory, prevent people from being fired (or not hired) because of race, age, having children, being female, being any religion other than Christian and in some cases, being the right kind of Christian. Prospective employers can’t directly inquires about your race, religion, or suggest that being a parent would make you unsuitable for the job. But whether or not they ask, people get fired (or not hired) every day for having children. For being the wrong sex, wrong color, wrong faith … wrong being whatever the person doing the hiring deems it to be. You can make prejudice, race hatred, and gender bias less visible, but you can’t make people be fair. Prejudice live in the bones and no law will change it.

The one guy I hug a lot

Inequality is every time a woman gets paid less than the guy next to her for doing the same (or more) work. When the white kids applications rise to the top of the pile and those of the non-white applicants somehow remain on the bottom. When anything but who you are, what you know, what you can do are issues in the workplace or our culture. That’s inequality at its worst — not counting being black and getting shot for no known reason except your skin color. That’s definitely worse.

You can rail about “political correctness” and how it’s being overdone, but I disagree. It’s bad enough so many people have to suffer the indignities of bigotry. The least we can do for them is make it illegal to shove it in their faces and down their throats.

I suppose we can thank Orangehead for taking the subtlety out of racism and putting is back where it belongs. Nothing subtle about it these days. You don’t have to guess anymore.

NOT GETTING A NOSE JOB – Marilyn Armstrong

I don’t remember how many times my mother told me this story, or how many times I have told it to you. It bears retelling especially since racism and bigotry are the words of the month and maybe, the  year.


My mother, like many young women of her generation, had wanted to attend high school. And college. But the family was poor, and there were many mouths to feed. In the end, she had to quit school after seventh grade to take a job. She worked as a bookkeeper. At 14, my mother was respectable. Also naïve and innocent.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

The first place she worked was in a music publishing house on the Lower East Side where she had grown up. She was there for seven or eight years and finally decided to get a better job.

Immigrant children had trouble breaking into the workforce. Of course, my mother had the additional burden of being female at a time when women were not considered equal. There was no “political correctness” to protect them. My mother was blond and green-eyed. At 5 foot 7 inches, she was tall for her generation. Her English was better than most of the family since she had been born “on this side” of the Atlantic and had all her schooling in New York.

She was ushered into a room to be interviewed for the job she wanted. A few questions were asked. A form was handed to her and she filled it out. When she came to the box that asked her religion, she wrote Jewish. The interviewer looked at the application, said: “Jewish, eh?”

He tore the application to pieces and threw it in the trash in front of my mother. She said that from that day forward, she wrote Protestant so no one would ever do that to her again.Finally, I made a leap of understanding. I connected this anecdote to an aspect of my mother I never “got.” My mother wanted me to get a nose job. When I turned 16, she wanted me to have plastic surgery to “fix” my nose.

“It’s not broken,” I pointed out.

“But don’t you want it to look ‘normal’?” she asked.

“It looks fine to me,” I said. I was puzzled. My sister took her up on the offer. I continued to say “no thanks” and my nose is the original model with which I was born.

Since the last time I told this story, I realized my mother wasn’t hinting I wasn’t pretty enough. She was asking me if I wanted to not look Jewish. Remarkably, this thought had never crossed my mind. Until a few weeks ago.

I know many children of Holocaust victims refused to circumcise their sons because that’s how the Nazis identified little Jewish boys. I know non-white mothers frequently sent their light-skinned children north hoping they could “pass” for white. But never, until recently, did it occur to me my mother was trying to help me “pass” for non-Jewish.

I never considered the possibility I was turned down for a job because I was, in the immortal words of Mel Brooks, “too Jewish.” I always assumed it was me. I failed to measure up. I was too brash. My skills were insufficient.

I told Garry about my revelation. It was quite an epiphany, especially at my advanced age. I needed to share. It left me wondering how much I’d missed.

I told him I’d finally realized my mother’s persistent suggestion to “get my nose fixed” was an attempt to help me fit in, to not look so obviously Jewish. I had never considered anyone might not like me for other than personal reasons. I said I thought perhaps I’d been a little slow on the uptake on this one.

Garry said, “And when did you finally realize this?”

“Yesterday,” I said.

“Yesterday?” he repeated. Garry looked dumbfounded.

“Yesterday,” I assured him.He was quiet and thoughtful. “Well,” he said. “You’re 73? That is a bit slow. You really didn’t know?” I shook my head. I really didn’t know. Apparently, everyone else got it. Except me.

BELLWETHERS AND BULLIES – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

When I was a girl in elementary school, probably around fifth grade, so I must have been about 8 or 9 – I started school almost a year early. It had to do with New York state’s cutoff entry dates for starting school. My birthday fell on the exact end of the age bracket, so I didn’t hit five until nearly the end of kindergarten.

If you’re a girl — maybe even if you are a boy — you remember “the mean girls.” There was always a clique of them. In every schoolyard, there was a Bellwether, the girl who — for no particular reason — was the leader of the mean girl gang. While she was usually pretty, she was not a heartbreaker either. She just had that inexplicable “thing” that makes others blindly follow her. A human bellwether.

You might think that a group of girls following each other wouldn’t automatically be rotten little brats. After all, they could follow each other and do good deeds. Help others get their homework done. Protect little ones from predatory bigger kids.

That’s never the way it worked. The gang was always mean. Physical and mental cruelty was their specialty. Taunters and teasers. Nothing made them happier than seeing others cry from being relentlessly humiliated and called names by their gang. Sticks and stones are only one of the many things that hurt. Words are lethal too.

Other features of the gang? They were stuck up. They “set the style.” They also had a radar capacity for spotting an underdog They knew who they could taunt until they broke down and wept.

I never understood them. Why behave that way? What do you gain? Are you that way because that’s how you were treated at home? Were your parents’ jerks too?

I came from a highly dysfunctional family. It brought my brother and me together and we stayed bonded until he died 12 years ago. It never occurred to me that making other kids feel bad would make me feel better. There had to be something else going on that I could never see.

Early in my post-professional career, one of the girls from the mean girls of childhood tried to make friends. Online. I couldn’t help it. I told her I didn’t remember her being my friend. I remembered her as one of the mean girls, never saying anything that didn’t have a barb in it. She never wrote back.

And now, here we are and the guy who supposedly runs our country is one of the mean kids! It was deplorable in elementary schools, but to run a country like that? Sometimes I feel as if I fell through the cracks of reality and am living in a place that merely resembles the U.S. as a physical entity, but otherwise, it’s a different universe. It’s another dimension where the mean kids have taken over.

We are all their targets because there’s always something wrong with us. Of course, if you really want to get mutilated, be any kind of minority. Skin color matters, but being Jewish isn’t bad either. Or being liberal. Or an atheist. Hating is easy. Love takes effort. It ought to be exactly the opposite.

It is my personal opinion that nobody hates one group of people. If you are a hater, you have a little list. You hate gay men and black people? You probably hate Natives, Hispanics, and Asians too.

Hatred is a lifestyle. If you are a hater, in your heart, you hate everyone probably yourself most of all.

This is why Colin Kaepernick took a knee – The Washington Post

For what are probably obvious reasons, this has been a major subject in this mixed-race household. If I were a lot younger and sturdier, I think I might be out there too. This has gone on for as long as the U.S. has been a nation. It started with slavery, continued with Jim Crow, and apparently will never end. And EVERYBODY knows it.

There’s apparently no middle road on this, not politically or in sports. I supported Kaepernick’s position and could not understand why everybody didn’t support him.

We live in a racist country with a president who apparently hates his own people. Violence is what he wants and violence is what he gets. When he first came into office, I thought he was “merely” trying to tear down whatever Obama had accomplished. Now, I think, he is trying to tear down what our founding fathers created. He will, if he can, destroy our system of justice, laws, and balance of powers. He will turn this country into the biggest, richest banana republic on Earth.

Is this what the GOP calls “making American great again?” It seems entirely the opposite to me.  This is grinding America into the dirt, destroying all the things that made anyone want to be part of our nation. Shame on the country for electing this murderous, bloated bigot to a position of power. Shame on the rest of us for not getting him out-of-office and replacing him with someone — at the very least — sane and literate.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/c268c732-8f0a-4400-b65b-ffb17e37f0da

The NFL ostracized the quarterback for his protests against police brutality. It’s more clear than ever what a terrible decision that was.

Source: This is why Colin Kaepernick took a knee – The Washington Post

A NOSE JOB FOR MOM – Marilyn Armstrong

I don’t remember how many times my mother told me this story, or how many times I have told it to you. It bears retelling.

At age 22

My mother, like many young women of her generation, had wanted to attend high school. And college. But the family was poor, and there were many mouths to feed. In the end, she had to quit school after seventh grade to take a job. She worked as a bookkeeper. At 14, my mother was respectable. Also naïve and innocent.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

The first place she worked was in a music publishing house on the Lower East Side where she had grown up. She was there for seven or eight years and finally decided to get a better job.

Immigrant children had trouble breaking into the workforce. Of course, my mother had the additional burden of being female at a time when women were not considered equal. There was no “political correctness” to protect them. My mother was blond and green-eyed. At 5 foot 7 inches, she was tall for her generation. Her English was better than most of the family since she had been born “on this side” of the Atlantic and had all her schooling in New York.

She was ushered into a room to be interviewed for the job she wanted. A few questions were asked. A form was handed to her and she filled it out. When she came to the box that asked her religion, she wrote Jewish. The interviewer looked at the application, said: “Jewish, eh?”

He tore the application to pieces and threw it in the trash in front of my mother. She said that from that day forward, she wrote Protestant so no one would ever do that to her again.Finally, I made a leap of understanding. I connected this anecdote to an aspect of my mother I never “got.” My mother wanted me to get a nose job. When I turned 16, she wanted me to have plastic surgery to “fix” my nose.

“It’s not broken,” I pointed out.

“But don’t you want it to look ‘normal’?” she asked.

“It looks fine to me,” I said. I was puzzled. My sister took her up on the offer. I continued to say “no thanks” and my nose is the original model with which I was born.

Since the last time I told this story, I realized my mother wasn’t hinting I wasn’t pretty enough. She was asking me if I wanted to not look Jewish. Remarkably, this thought had never crossed my mind. Until a few weeks ago.

I know many children of Holocaust victims refused to circumcise their sons because that’s how the Nazis identified little Jewish boys. I know non-white mothers frequently sent their light-skinned children north hoping they could “pass” for white. But never, until recently, did it occur to me my mother was trying to help me “pass” for non-Jewish.

I never considered the possibility I was turned down for a job because I was, in the immortal words of Mel Brooks, “too Jewish.” I always assumed it was me. I failed to measure up. I was too brash. My skills were insufficient.

I told Garry about my revelation. It was quite an epiphany, especially at my advanced age. I needed to share. It left me wondering how much I’d missed.

September 15, 1990 – My family at our wedding. I think most of us look a bit alike!

I told him I’d finally realized my mother’s persistent suggestion to “get my nose fixed” was an attempt to help me fit in, to not look so obviously Jewish. I had never considered anyone might not like me for other than personal reasons. I said I thought perhaps I’d been a little slow on the uptake on this one.

Garry said, “And when did you finally realize this?”

“Yesterday,” I said.

“Yesterday?” he repeated. Garry looked dumbfounded.

“Yesterday,” I assured him.

He was quiet and thoughtful. “Well,” he said. “You’re 72? That is a bit slow. You really didn’t know?” I shook my head. I really didn’t know. Apparently, everyone else got it. Except me.

REALITY CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE! GIVE IT A TRY! – Marilyn Armstrong

I got to thinking about what my world would look like if I (personally) got rid of everyone who isn’t white enough for this current America. I would have to remove my husband — and all my friends. And my entire family. After which I’d have to go, too. I may be white, but Jewish isn’t really white.

realitychangedmylife

Not merely is this a bad idea, it is impossible. People love to talk about this country as if we are (kind of) akin to Germany, and SCROTUS is (kind of) a version of Hitler. Except … in Germany, the different people were a relatively small number in a country where most people were the same. It was a homogeneous country. Which made it easy to pick out the ones who were different.

That was true all over Europe. It was easy to figure out who were the “different” ones. In most European countries, it’s still true.

Germany in the 1920s and 1930s was nothing like this country.

SCROTUS isn’t Hitler.
The United States isn’t Germany.

same-but-different

The number of not-white people in this country is larger than the number of whites. Yes, you heard me correctly. If you are one of the people who believe that facts mean anything, take a look at the numbers.

This is just the beginning. Not only do we have a lot of non-white citizens from everywhere in the world, but people marry each other. They will continue to marry, have children and eventually, the current madness will vanish and never come back.

None of this means anything. It’s nonsense. Utter crap.
The world is full of hate but in the end, haters are losers. 

Eventually, we will all be some shade of slightly off-white, medium tan, or terribly freckled. We aren’t getting rid of most of our population. Really.

NEVER AGAIN? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I am Jewish and grew up with parents and grandparents who watched the rise of Hitler and his systemic persecution and eventual annihilation of the Jews of Europe.

I was brought up with the fighting words, “NEVER AGAIN!” I was educated, probably too early (by the age of nine or ten) about the horrors of the concentration camps. I also knew about pogroms first hand from my grandparents – the organized massacres and looting of Jewish towns in Eastern Europe and Russia. The worst of the pogroms took place between 1919 and 1921, when thousands of towns were razed and the populations decimated in brutal and sadistic ways. This level of anti-semitism explains the cooperation the Nazis received in Eastern Europe by locals when they wanted to round up Jews and send them to camps or kill them on the spot.

From the time I was nine or ten, I would lie in bed and plan what I would grab to take with me when the knock came on the door to take us away to an unknown fate along with other Jews in the community. It breaks my heart to think that my childhood had these strong elements of distrust, insecurity and outright fear.

But as I got older, I came to believe that it could never happen in America. I called my parents and grandparents paranoid when they pointed to instances of anti-semitism in the States. I poo-pooed their fears and felt confident in the near total assimilation of Jews in America from the 1970s and 1980s on.

Many Jews in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s thought they were “safe” because they were, say, ‘Germans first’, and Jews only second. Unfortunately, it didn’t matter. Sigmund Freud, a Jew, lived in Austria and was sure that as an ‘Austrian’ and a famous scientist, he was safe from persecution. He believed that the Nazis wouldn’t touch him. He had to be dragged onto a plane to get out of Austria in time – his was one of the last planes allowed to leave without Nazi sanction. And, in fact, his name was on a list to be picked up by the Gestapo and shipped to a concentration camp.

Sigmund Freud

I just finished working on a deeply moving project for my audio theater group, Voicescapes Audio Theater. We dramatized the experience of one Jewish town, Felshtin, in Ukraine, which suffered a particularly horrible pogrom in February of 1919. The town never fully recovered. And those who didn’t escape the town and emigrate elsewhere in the aftermath of the pogrom were all wiped out by the Nais in 1941, only 22 years later.

We had the personal recollections of the pogrom from survivors, who told their stories in 1937 in order to preserve the memory of the town and its people. I took their poignant words and turned them into a powerful script which we performed with a violinist, sound effects and a power point display of photos. We got a standing ovation from the descendants of the Jews of Felshtin.

Voicescapes performance

Shortly after our wrenching performance, I heard about a synagogue shooting in San Diego, CA, by a white supremacist, which injured three or four, including the Rabii, and killed one. There had been an even more lethal shooting in a Philadelphia synagogue six months before. These incidents of violent anti-semitism hit me harder than ever because I am still raw from a year spent engrossed in the horrors of pogroms against the Jews.

Remembering the image of avowed Nazis marching in Charlottesville, NC, in 2017, shouting “Jews will not replace us!”, I get a chill to the bottom of my soul. This, unfortunately, IS America today.

Charlottesville rally, 2017

My parents and grandparents were right in understanding that there is, and always has been, a wide and deep swath of anti-semitism in the U.S. As late as the 1980s, there were apartment buildings in New York City, a very Jewish, diverse and liberal city, that didn’t allow Jews. One was across the street from where I lived. There were also still law firms that were all gentile or all Jewish because the two groups were not always allowed to mix in one law firm. This is also from personal knowledge and experience as a young lawyer in the city at this time. That was not so long ago.

Today we’re seeing white supremacy rising and getting the Presidential stamp of approval. Detention camps are being set up at the southern border for the vilified ‘immigrants’ from Mexico and Central America. If Trump wins a second term and gets to have six more years to reshape America in his xenophobic, racist and anti-semitic image, where will we be? Ready to put other nonwhite or otherwise not ‘totally American’ people into these camps? Are Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews next? Then will they come after the evil Democrats and liberals?

It has happened before. Many times. Can it happen again? Here?

WORDS ARE WEAPONS – Marilyn Armstrong

 


“Sticks and stones can break my bones,
but names can never hurt me.”


It’s an old childhood chant, a miserably inadequate defense against bullies and bigots when one is small and powerless. It was oft-repeated, not only by us, the little victims but by parents, teachers and other wise counselors. It was supposed to comfort us.

It didn’t because we all knew it was untrue.

Names can and do hurt. The hurt caused by a cruel name goes deeper than any mere cut or bruise to the body. Psyches heal, but slowly. Sometimes they never heal.

Horrible words. Can you still tell me — with a straight face — that names can’t hurt? Will you give me all your arguments that “political correctness” is stupid? That anything which makes it illegal or socially unacceptable to spew hate is too restrictive of free speech? Really? Your free speech? It’s not my free speech. I don’t talk that way and I don’t hang around anyone who does.

Do you actually believe it? Or did you read it as part of some rant on Facebook?

Of course, names hurt. They’re intended to hurt. Such words, hateful words have no other purpose but to cause pain. These words carry with them the ugliness of generations of haters.

It has been argued by otherwise respected bloggers that if a member of a minority (in your opinion) does you wrong, you have every right to strike back any way you can.

I disagree. Racial and ethnic name-calling epithets are never justified. By anything. Is it the word or its intent that hurts so much? I think both. Words have power.


“The pen is mightier than the sword.”


But wait a minute. I thought words could never hurt me? It’s a lie. Yes, words can hurt you, hurt me, hurt any of us.

Words bring with them the weight of history. A hated word carries the ugliness of everyone who has spoken it. Each time these words fly into the air, their potency is renewed and reinforced.

It’s time to stop forgiving bigots. We have to stop letting them off the hook. Those hate-filled monologues by drugged and drunken celebrities were not slips of the tongue. They were not the result of drugs or drink.

In vino veritas! Also written as in “uino ueritas,” is a Latin phrase that means “in wine lies the truth.” It suggests a person under the influence of alcohol (and in modern terms, also drugs) is more likely to speak his or her hidden thoughts and desires. (West German, Talmudic comment)

You could fill me with all the drugs and booze in the world and you’d never hear that from me. Because it’s not in me to say it. I don’t have a hidden pocket of hate waiting for drugs or booze to unlock it. But many do. And now, they seem to have been given permission to shout it to the world.



We are currently watching a Netflix production called “Five Came Back” about five internationally famous directors who went into World War II and created an amazing set of films. John Ford, William Wyler, John Capra, John Huston, and George Stevens created the war. Not a Hollywood war. The real war.

I look at it and I see tens of thousands of Germans shouting “Heil Hitler.” Trump may have his adherents, but they haven’t grown in number. They are not taking over our world. There are no brown shirts beating up minorities. They may want to, but most Americans draw that line. Whatever they believe, they do not believe it’s okay to form groups of bullies and beat down the rest of the population. It’s an important distinction.

People who talk hatred never do it by accident. It isn’t because of their environment, upbringing, or environment. It’s a choice they made. They know exactly what they are saying and why they are saying it.

It isn’t a joke. It isn’t funny. And most importantly, it isn’t okay.

Excuses are not enough. Phony repentance is not enough

Don’t give bigots and haters another chance.

PROUD TO BE CIVIL – Marilyn Armstrong

Politically correct. What outrage that term produces! How dare anyone tell me how to behave, how to speak? I can say anything I want. I mean … look at our president!

Yeah. Look at our president. Take a good look.

To be politically correct means to tread carefully on other people’s feelings and sensibilities. I’m for that.

Around here, “P.C,” means you can’t go around spewing racist epithets thinly disguised as humor or these days, as pure hatred. PC is designed for all the morons, bigots, racists and the socially challenged. It is a simple rule: “DON’T SAY THAT,” works much better than sensitivity training.

So many amongst us have no sensitivity to train.

Even if the morons who insist they don’t mean it — in which case why are they saying it? — I feel any rule or law that protects me from having to listen to hate is political capital well spent.


I would not call it political correctness.
I would call it civility.
Good manners.
Common decency.

If anyone feels that not calling other people insulting names is cramping their style, these are the exact people for whom these rules were intended. These are precisely the folks who most need them. Normal people have enough intelligence and good manners to know when to shut up without being told. They don’t need those rules. They already “get it.”

For everyone else, we have rules. Call it whatever you want. PC, good manners, civility, sensitivity, or politeness. It’s the same thing.

When we are amongst friends and we know each other well, we relax, let out guards down. Especially when we are a minority among others like us with similar culture and history, it’s all good. We are family, we act silly like family. But if you are not one of us, leave your mouth outside. I don’t need to be insulted. I don’t want to be made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Many people still think racism is sort of cute. I think they should be eliminated from the gene pool.