I had a recent unsettling experience… let me set the scene:
Two acquaintances on my porch for morning coffee and croissants. As we settle down and begin discussing the topic du jour… our various adventures in and around the pandemic and the election, eventually, in my own inimitable voice of authority, I bring up the wearing of masks.
“If only we had some Federal leadership that would create a national program for the wearing of masks and other safety issues that are necessary for our protection,” says I.
Let’s face it, my friends, I am old enough – barely – to remember the Federal programs during World War II that were necessary to help us survive and help the war effort… ration books for food and gas, meatless days, paper and metal drives.
Oh, sure there were always people that didn’t join in that effort… and there were many Black Market organizations. But for the most part, most everyone came together as part of the civilian war effort.
People died in the war. People died in the pandemic.
End of the aside.
Expecting to have both guests nod heads in agreement, I was heartily disappointed. The female of the duo nodded. The male said,
“I don’t think it’s fair to blame him. We are a country founded on States’ Rights and each state should have their own laws about how they want to handle the pandemic. I think, considering what he has to deal with, he is doing a very good job.”
Shock! Dismay! Disbelief!
I know a few people (and relatives, too) who think he is doing a good job. However, I am not in close proximity with them. You might say we really have perfected long distance social distancing. This was the first time I was sitting near enough where I could see the whites of his eyes. I was struggling to be polite. But when he started quoting Fake News items I realized there could be no discussion.
I quickly looked at my watch, which I forgot to put on, and told them that I had forgotten I had an online class in a few minutes. You didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that time had just run out… the party was over.
They left. I was angry. But worse than that I was shocked. This manis a cultured, educated, sophisticated upper middle class white human male. How did this happen? I racked my brain.
And it finally came to me…
After a self-organized reading program of black non-fiction writers like Isabel Wilkerson and Carol Anderson, I realized they were right all along! The white majority is disappearing. I had just been witness to an example of this fact. This white upper middle class man in fear of losing his white majority is going to vote for the man who will guarantee that majority against all odds. As time goes on the white majority will be no more. I am not rabble-rousing. Check the statistics (I can’t believe someone who hates statistics as much as I do is saying this).
And before I let go of this bone, in 1970 you could substitute the silent majority of the Nixon era with the white majority of this era. And never forget it was this silent majority that allowed the wannabe tyrant Joseph McCarthy to flourish.
So alright already… What is this white majority that is being written about and exemplified in books, movies, television, podcasts, editorials, and just plain life? Obviously, I am going to have difficulty explaining it because I am so apparently part of it. I am of the white/caucasian persuasion. Black, white, brown, orange, purple… we are all part of this human condition… with differences. As part of the human condition/nature, consciously or unconsciously, we each strive to be better than someone else. A human animal popularity contest, if you will.
I know as the seventh of eight children I do not remember a day when I didn’t strive to be better than anyone of my brothers or sisters. My parents actually promoted that competition, thinking the competition would push us to excel in our various gifts, which personally I am happy to say it did, but they used it also as a control of a sometimes uncontrollable large family. And because of my race, I could move more easily in the world. And here is the big word that explains how I could do it:
ASSIMILATE – that’s what I could do.
I was acceptable… up to a point… being a Jew kept me back many times in my life and I can still recognize a slur when it happens… even in jokes… but basically, if I chose to I didn’t have to say I was Jewish and then I would always be acceptable because I could assimilate into this amorphous white majority. See how easily it works???
If you are black, this is not possible. A black person is always black. Except of course, black people who look white and then they have to decide whether to pass which is another word for assimilation. So how did the white majority control the black population? During the centuries of black slavery this was easy. Blacks were property, not people. There was no white majority because in fact whites controlled everything and therefore, obviously it did not need to be stated.
It was after the Civil War with emancipation, voting rights, human rights, and civil rights, when whites, most obviously in the South and more subtly in the North, felt the thunder and fear of change.
A brief dream time of Reconstruction was systematically squashed by the new Jim Crow laws of the south, created and enacted by the vanquished losers of the Civil War and legislators of the treasonable former Confederacy.
Ghettos, incarceration, proliferation of drugs, low service jobs, sharecropping (another version of slavery), limited and segregated housing and education, unequal voting and civil rights… all the negative control factors used by the white majority to control black lives.
Whites fear that black lives not only matter but that they will race ahead, leaving white lives in their dust. They certainly have done it in the world of sports and popular music.
Obama’s two-time win (accomplished without the white majority) put the white majority into a tailspin and is the most probable cause for the continued bitter (and what I personally consider un-American) politics of Republic Congressman, Senators and Judges – A black president in the White House? Never again!
The white majority is and will disappear. That’s a fact! The mix of nationalities which, to me has always been the backbone of America’s strength will now add a new strength in the form of mixed colors… HOORAY!
And let us not forget, the President’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders known as the Kerner Commission, headed by Governor Otto Kerner of Illinois, appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in July 1967 to uncover the causes of urban riots and to recommend solutions. The report, which declared that “our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal,” and warned that unless drastic and costly remedies were undertaken at once, there would be a “continuing polarization of the American community and, ultimately, the destruction of basic democratic values.”
There is a slate up for election on November 3rd that exemplifies a necessary and overdue recognition of this reality.
My reckoning is that this person who came to my porch for coffee and an abrupt departure doesn’t even realize he is part of that fearful white majority. I am sorry for him. But I am happy that his partner will cancel out his vote. I worry about others who don’t have anyone to cancel out their vote. So I ask us all to do what we can to give us back a country with some basic civility and caring to help us heal.
Every time I think I have a handle on how to handle the world I and fellow beings presently inhabit, I lose the handle. Why can’t I keep a steady hand on the wheel of my life? I know the rules of safety. I try my best to follow them… Social distancing, masking, hand washing, sanitizing, travel limits.
I am kidding you and myself because, of course I know why I can’t keep it steady. I am not in control.
I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place. I know the feeling well because I have been there many times before.
I think I am being vigilant. But then, I watch others out of my control, threaten themselves and others with their choices. It then becomes my responsibility to set limits and put out the no vacancy sign. It is so alien to the nature of this here beast.
My door has always been open. In the world today that is not an option. I can make some adjustments. And for this I am so very grateful that I am able to set up for a meal in the garden or the porch with safe spacing, masks and whatever else is necessary for the safety of all.
I did not know the depth and the extent of the migration of Black Americans from the South to the North and to the West from 1915 – 1970. For me, Ms. Wilkerson’s narrative is the foretelling of the ongoing struggle for Black equality we are experiencing at this time. She has chosen three protagonists from three different locations in three different decades of the migration. Their detailed journey from the white racism of the South that followed them to the white racism of the North and West is shocking and a necessary and important tool in understanding how racism, subtle and not so subtle works.
At the end of the book Ms. Wilkerson writes some notes about her methodology in putting this brilliant study together. She quotes from a 672 page report by a white-led Commission on the Chicago Riots of 1919 wherein the commission admonishes all.
THIS MUST CHANGE!
It is important for our white citizens always to remember that the Negroes alone of all our immigrants came to America against their will by the special compelling invitation of the whites; that the institution of slavery wast introduced, expanded and maintained by the United States by the white people and for their own benefit; and they likewise created the conditions that followed emancipation.
Our Negro problem, therefore, is not of the Negro’s making. No group in our population is less responsible for its existence. But every group is responsible for its continuance… Both races need to understand that their rights and duties are mutual and equal and their interests in the common good are identical… There is no help or healing in appraising past responsibilities or in present apportioning of praise or blame. The past is of value only as it aids in understanding the present; an understanding of the facts of the problem — a magnanimous understanding by both races — is the first step toward a solution.
Excerpt, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, page 543
The report came out in 1922. Last time I checked my calendar it was 2020.
THOUGHT 3: IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE OBIT, EAT BREAKFAST
There is no way that I am going to leave you without a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart. Even though my go-to cheerleader, Carl Reiner, left for quieter climes.
I am sure Carl and Snoopy were in complete agreement.
Here is a documentary he narrated when he was only 94:
Love, Sally-Jane ❤️
P.S. Happy July 4th. It’s way past time to put our money (and our votes) where our mouths are…
This won’t take long. In this blog I share two videos. One is a professional production. The other is what happens during pandemisolockatine.
First is a song, Build a House by Rhiannon Giddens featuring Yo-Yo Ma. Here is the introduction from Yo-Yo Ma’s Facebook Page:
There are so many stories made invisible: too-often-violent histories hidden beneath the surfaces of our cities, our institutions, our music. It’s our job to keep looking, to make them visible, to take action. Today is always a good day to learn. I’m honored to mark this 155th Juneteenth with a new song by the incomparable Rhiannon Giddens. #blacklivesmatter #juneteenth #songsofchange
Lyrics to “Build a House” – Rhiannon Giddens featuring Yo-Yo Ma
You brought me here to build your house, build your house, build your house You brought me here to build your house and grow your garden fine
I laid the brick and built your house, built your house, built your house I laid the brick and built your house, raised the plants so high
And when you had the house and land, the house and land, the house and land And when you had the house and land, then you told me “go.”
I found a place to build my house, build my house, build my house I found a place to build my house since I couldn’t go back home
You said I couldn’t build a house, build a house, build a house You said I couldn’t build a house, so you burned it down
So then I traveled far and wide, far and wide, far and wide And then I traveled far and wide until I found a home
I learned your words and wrote a song, wrote a song, wrote a song I learned your words and wrote a song to put my story down
But then you came and took my song, took my song, took my song But then you came and took my song, playing it for your own
I took my bucket, lowered it down, lowered it down, lowered it down I took my bucket, lowered it down, the well will never run dry.
You brought me here to build a house, build a house, build a house You brought me here to build a house. I will not be moved.
No, I will not be moved. No, I will not be, I will not be, I will not be moved.
I am also reading a book that I think is important and that you might want to check out. It is titled, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.
This was sent to me by a friend and for those who still don’t understand the exponential characteristic of this virus (believe me, it has taken me a long time to “get” it… a Ms. Stubborn-Know-It-All… that’s me) it is a simple and clear explanation of why we should shut down until the curve turns the other way. Please self distance and stay safe.
Feeling confused as to why Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal flu? Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps. Feel free to share this to others who don’t understand… It has to do with RNA sequencing…. i.e. genetics.
Seasonal flu is an “all human virus”. The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system. This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year… you get immunity two ways… through exposure to a virus, or by getting a flu shot.
Novel viruses, come from animals…. the WHO tracks novel viruses in animals (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1) (birds in the case of the Spanish flu). But once one of these animal viruses mutates and starts to transfer from animals to humans… then it’s a problem. Why?
Because we have no natural or acquired immunity. The RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human, and the human immune system doesn’t recognize it so we can’t fight it off.
Now…. sometimes the mutation only allows transfer from animal to human. For years its only transmission is from an infected animal to a human before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human to human… once that happens..we have a new contagion phase. And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, thats what decides how contagious, or how deadly, it’s gonna be..
H1N1 was deadly…. but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu. It’s RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently, too.
Now, here comes this Coronavirus… it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long… but one day, at an animal market in Wuhan China, in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animal to people. At first, only animals could give it to a person… But here is the scary part…. in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery”.
This Coronavirus, not being in any form a “human” virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity) took off like a rocket. And this was because humans have no known immunity… doctors have no known medicines for it. And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus changed itself in such a way that it causes great damage to human lungs.
That’s why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza…. this one is slippery AF. And it’s a lung eater…And, it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L…. which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.
We really have no tools in our shed, with this. History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.
Factoid: Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed… (honestly… I understand him so much better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social isolation…
And let me end by saying…. right now it’s hitting older folks harder… but this genome is so slippery… if it mutates again (and it will) who is to say, what it will do next.
Be smart folks… acting like you’re unafraid is so not sexy right now.
#flattenthecurve. Stay home folks… and share this to those that just are not catching on.
Source: Kymberli Dawn, Nurse in Oakland California
P.S. Self-distancing is the most helpful and unselfish thing we can do. Anyone who is offended by this necessary safety measure not only doesn’t get it… but worse than that THEY CAN’T COUNT.
If you have a computer you have already received many emails concerning the whys and wherefores and how-tos of the coronavirus.
I’ve put together my own list with my own introductions to my nearest and dearest. I am sure there will be much duplication.
I think of these emails as the trajectory, the progression, if you will, of my own very late awareness of the virus. And what it means to me and my loved ones and even not to just my loved ones but to all humans everywhere. Yes, even those politicians and leaders who refused to lead us into global awareness as to what was happening. I do not wish anyone ILL. However, it is important to see how the world is leaderless… Oh, yes, there are health workers, and disease agencies that are tirelessly working to correct the politicians-of-every-nation’s inability to gather globally to stem the tide of this virulent virus.
Borders closed. Countries in lockdown. I ask myself. Is that what had to happen before attention was paid?
I do not think you have to be brilliant. I am not. It is now the middle of March and I don’t know all the facts (I truly don’t think anyone ever will) but the Chinese Government began talking about the Corona Virus in the beginning of January. The first reports I ignored. After all, no leader anywhere, except China was saying anything. From my perspective, China is very far away. I keep forgetting. We are all globally connected. In today’s world, Wuhan is next door to Brooklyn.
In this forwarded mélange of advice, take what you want and leave the rest.
1. Important New Dispatch:Dr. Jordan Shlain Reporting From the Front Lines
To my nearest and dearest – Yes, another recipe for continued good health. And if you do nothing else do like it says and keep lubricated. (Take your mind out of the gutter) and drink water. That’ll teach that virulent virus to bugger off.
And always remember. Love will keep us together as long as you don’t touch me…
4. 👆🏼That Widely Circulated List of COVID-19 Tips Is a Hoax
Ok. That does it! No more advice! There’s too much hysteria and panic which looks for answers that just aren’t there. Hey, guys, there’s no magic bullet! Use you common sense until a leader comes along that can lead us out of the wilderness or through the parting of the Red Sea.
Remember when we had leaders who told the truth and in dire circumstances such as we are experiencing now could be there to support, encourage and help? I wish one and all good health as we try to chart a course to safety.
So, I lied! Here’s one more from me to youse. It’s because it kind of explains where I am in thought.
I’m already limited by age and its attendant physical limitations and now I’m being asked to be limited voluntarily in terms of social engagement. I think it requires a major life rethink for me (change my behavior) and if you will help me, I am sure I can do it.
Using numbers paralyzes me. Statistical charts don’t really make a lot of sense to me. But with this article I finally understood what it is that I can do.
Now that you are on information overload let me wish you well on your life journey.
I think if we are careful we can survive and most importantly I think there are some very profound life lessons to learn.
There’s been a great deal said about the human condition. Not all of it very positive.
The worst is the tale of toilet paper. Toilet paper? Really! I never thought toilet paper would be the arbiter of what makes for a civilized society. Who knew?????
I do not want to be thought of as a bleeding heart sentimental fool (all of which admittedly I am), but what an opportunity this presents for us to go beyond the base (toilet paper, really?) human condition into an atmosphere of service and caring and, yes, love.
Of course, I could be writing this because I am vulnerable and if they decide to take us elder vulnerables and put us on ice floes that take us out to sea never to return (of course, because of global warming – which of course “does not exist” – there are no more ice floes).
Here is where I harken back to inspired leadership.
Two Presidents and their speechifying come to mind. Historically flawed, like all of us, they understood the need and the desire to help their citizens aspire to a higher code of conduct.
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Ask not what your country can do for you. But what you can do for your country.”
~ John F. Kennedy
Right???? Of course, right!
P.S. Without humor, with or without the virus… we’re dead!
Listen, my friends I had to force myself to go and see it. Even after my daughter Lori made a special call to convince me to go. I put her recommendation into the back seat of my mind. I loved the recent Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor. What more was the movie going to show me? Nothing I did not already know. Right?
I was soooo wrong. It has nothing and everything to do with Mr. Rogers. And even though reviews have been very positive, from my point of view, none of the reviews touched on why today, more than at any other time in this world, everyone needs to see this movie.
Let me try to write how I experienced as I watched the movie unfold. From the opening, before the credits, a “lego-set “of a residential area of a nameless city (although if you know Pittsburgh, you recognize the three bridges that cross two rivers or is it three… I forget) and suddenly Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers walks into the set and begins to do the Mr. Rogers opening.
But, it is different from the one he usually does in his show as he introduces a picture board of different characters… most of whom you know from his show and one who you did not know, the writer who under duress and in anger has been assigned to do a profile on Mr. Rogers. From that very first moment, I was captured, captivated, you name it. I was had. The mystery, and it is a mystery of a plot unraveled.
A little background: I am in Florida. It was a rainy day. Perfect afternoon for the movies. And perhaps a dozen others thought the same thing. And from that very same beginning moment, this small audience breathed as one. I mean it. We all inhaled at the same time. We exhaled at the same time. No one moved a muscle… no popcorn munching. No slurping. No candy wrappers. We were all suspended in the one hour and 59 minutes of this movie.
Now I am not going into any more detail about the movie. You want to know how this story unfolds. Go to your movie house. I know it is playing there now.
By the end of the film, as the credits rolled, this small audience in a darkened theatre released their breath and applauded as if they were in a live show.
Why? They were moved. The cathartic emotional release of all was palpable. We had all, together, been part of an experience where anger and bile were transformed into love and forgiveness; released into the stratosphere by the catalyst of a vulnerable and fallible human named Fred Rogers.
What are you doing still sitting reading this? Get up. Get out. Get transformed.
I have children and grandchildren so I spend some of my time working hard on being “with it”.
I haven’t gone as far as wearing short skirts and dresses (not with my knees, please), or styling my hair a la early Barbie (if I had a Ken, I might think differently), or buying 5 inch stilettos (I’m Chair of the CLSW… The Committee for Licensing Stilettos as a Weapon).
Here is my rationale for my commitment to electronical living…
I love my children and grandchildren and I want to be able to communicate with them. Somewhere in that rationale is a glimmer of truth, but only a glimmer.
I am your basic garden variety guilt-ridden judgmental person.
So of course, THIS HAPPENING IS NOT MY FAULT.
Here is the backstory… I was dragged kicking and screaming into electronic living.
One of my sons-in-law took time away from work to educate me and hook up my first computer. A friend bought my first iPad to help me navigate that new phenomena. An ordinary cell phone was not enough, I had to become an iPhone owner.
Like I said… Not My Fault.
Slowly, but ever so surely, I have been co-opted by the tech and social media industry.
Don’t you believe it.
I went willingly to the gallows.
Without having to resort to short skirts, long hair, stilettos, I was a with it mother and grandmother.
I was plugged in! (Sorry!)
Over the last two years, I added texting to my growing bag of tricks. I was so with it, I frightened myself.
Then, like a character in a Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode (if you haven’t heard of him…that is really what the internet is for… research), I began to see and hear things that no one else was seeing or hearing.
Very recently, I hosted an immediate family picnic by the lake. So great! So lovely! Good Food! Good drink! Good people! Good texting!
Did I say texting???
Yes, I did.
You see I am old enough to remember family picnics when we ate, we drank, we talked, we played and then we went home.
At this gathering, everyone… and I mean everyone, including me at some point eventually hauled out the cell phone and started texting.
I had developed one rule over the years and that was no cell phones at the dinner table. Everyone agreed, charitable to me out of family title and respect. But this was a picnic… buffet and chairs all over the lawn… so I watched and I timed. If I thought I was frightened before, that was nothing to what I was feeling then.
And this was just one instance of what I have come to believe is a really serious communication problem.
We all think that texting is communicating!
How can that be?
How can a one-sided text be likened to a dialogue between two people?
There was a time when if there was a misunderstanding I took the time (not the trouble… the time) to connect with the person involved and work it out. Of course I am older, and truly my friends, at this stage of my life, no matter how clever the machine, I cannot afford to lose any more friends and family than I have already lost… so if there are problems, I want to work it out.
Texts don’t do it!
They never will.
Does that mean I want more in a relationship than a text will give me?
You bet I do!
So, what to do??
I cannot change the world. I can change me. I don’t want to misunderstand or be misunderstood. I prefer to hear your voice. I want to discuss, challenge, interest, invite, share… but I do not like sharing my thoughts with a machine.
‘Tis a puzzlement… how to be in this world but not of it. I have a dear friend who shares my conundrum… Recently, she sent me this article from The Week, reprinted from an op-ed in the New York Times.
My recent blog post has provoked responses that mean so much to me. Who’da thought….
I have been having stimulating dialogue with friends and family that hopefully will move us to rethink who we think we are. For me doing that might lead to some deepening of my sub and conscious awareness.
The two pieces below are particularly thought-provoking.
I have a new
friend. He is nice. He is black. I am white. I didn’t mean to but I offended
Here is the
In December 2018,
I saw the film, Green Book. I flipped. I loved it. No, I mean I really
loved it. I was in the local movie art house and there was hardly anyone
else watching with me. I would say maybe 10 people at most. I laughed. I cried.
I thought Viggo Moretensen and Mahershala Ali were beyond brilliant. I ached for
each of them in the many cathartic moments of the film. I was enraged at the
America that made it necessary to publish a horror like Green Book.
I was beyond the stratosphere at the music. Don Shirley’s classical music background blending with a jazz originality to create a sound that kept my head, my hands, my feet, and my heart moving constantly every time he played. (Just so you have all the information… the pianist, Kris Bowers, composed the movie score and played the piano parts and he too is brilliant.)
I’m glad the theatre was empty. The way I was swinging with the music, I may have been asked to leave.
And when it was over, I stood up as in those rare standing ovation moments at the theatre. I say rare because for me to stand means to know you have witnessed a genius rarity not likely to happen again. I yelled, “BRAVO!” I applauded. I was ignored as the very few fellow audience members left, walking rapidly, perhaps nervous that some cuckoo was on furlow for a matinee.
I practically danced up the aisle. As I left the theatre, the ticket taker was standing at the door. She is black. I stopped. I took her hand. She withdrew it. Undaunted, I gushed my enthusiasm for the film. I asked if she had seen the movie. She looked hard at me. She said in a very clear voice. “No! I don’t watch rubbish.”
I guess that should have been my first clue. But, I ignored it. I couldn’t wait to get home and call my near and dear ones. If they ever wanted to see or speak to me again they needed to pass the test of seeing this movie.
Fast forward to the next day after the Academy Award ceremony…
Don’t hit me. I didn’t watch. I never watch. They
always leave out the one movie I thought was really great or the actor or the
writer…and basically, I am not sure about awarding best anything to any
artist. The competition is within the artist. Don’t tell me
someone is better than someone else. I don’t believe you can compare
apples and oranges. However, God forbid the money men and women don’t
make their money back on their product. And for them, it isn’t about
art. It is about “product”.
All to say, if they called my name for an Oscar, I’d probably be there.
My new friend and I were talking about the Oscars. Those who know
me know. Those who don’t know me are pretty sure. I have an opinion
on everything. Ask my daughters.
I had read Spike Lee was angered by Green Book’s big win. I opined that it might be sour grapes. I had seen his film, BlacKkKlansman and thought it was great. The perfect example of trying to compare apples and oranges.
My friend said he enjoyed Green Book, but he was also in agreement with Spike Lee. For him, the Academy was doing its usual thing. Rewarding the white man as he rescued the black man. Another movie to make the whites feel good.
I don’t often keep my own counsel. I continued on and on about how Green Book detailed the possibility of a bigot changing his tune. And isn’t that what is needed in a world gone mad with so much hate and bile. A world growing more and more into “them and us”. Separating humans of ever color from each other.
As I pontificated, I assured him, I knew what he was feeling.
There came a very pregnant pause. A close
to delivery pregnant pause. The pause was so awkward it actually shut my
After some time, we broke the pause with
banal conversation. Not going near the subject, we talked awhile and then
After we parted, I recalled what I had been saying. What was it that brought about the pause that did not refresh? As I did, I realized my new friend had been trying to tell me something without telling me something. No matter we are both minorities. I am Jewish and a woman. But I am white. He is black. I cannot and will never know what it feels like to be black.
Later that same day, I wrote an apology. I wrote that of course I could never know how he feels. I have had some of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune thrown my way, but against being born black in this world, past or present, not comparable.
He acknowledged my apology. We have not continued the discussion. Hopefully someday we will. Slow and steady as the friendship deepens, anything is possible.
I don’t know. I do know there are those who want to see a better world. Me, for one. And for me, a better world would be one where we all wake up one morning and find we are color blind. If that were true, then Green Book and BlacKkKlansman and all movies about race would be Fairy Tales. A collection of very Grimm Fairy Tales.
Is it possible?
As long as we are still breathing the world of possibilities will always exist? Right?
Of course, Right!
P.S. It seems no matter where I turn, going to the movies, reading a book, I am surrounded by with racism, bigotry, and the inherent anger, resentment and frustration.
In a recent biography of Frederick Douglass, David W. Blight writes of an event which occurred in Washington, D.C. on the 11th anniversary of the end of the Civil War as well as the 11th year anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. At the unveiling of a monument honoring Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, with President Ulysses S. Grant and all of official Washington present, Frederick Douglass spoke:
It must be admitted, truth compels me to admit, even here in the presence of the monument we have erected to his memory, Abraham Lincoln was not, in the fullest sense of the word, either our man or our model. In his interests, in his associations, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man…
He was willing to pursue, recapture, and send back the fugitive slave to his master, and to suppress a slave rising for liberty, though his guilty master were already in arms against the Government. The race to which we belong were not the special objects of his consideration… My white fellow-citizens… you are the children of Abraham Lincoln. We are at best only his step-children; children by adoption, children by forces of circumstances and necessity.
Excerpt from oration delivered by Frederick Douglas at the Unveiling of The Freedmen’s Monument in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C., April 14 1876
That speech was given in 1876. It is 2019. Have
things changed? Externally, yes.
However, haven’t I been reading how the Executive Branch, the Congress, our Supreme Court are colluding and searching for ways to limit and deconstruct the civil rights legislation LBJ pushed through after JFK’s assassination.
Isn’t this what happened to the promises of Reconstruction after the Civil War?
I think this is the time to bring out my favorite Voltaire quote (a very dear, very old, very close friend of mine),