Life After Emilee Logo | Neal Klein honoring his wife after losing her to pancreatic cancer
Life After Emilee Logo | Neal Klein honoring his wife after losing her to pancreatic cancer
Life After Emilee Logo | Neal Klein honoring his wife after losing her to pancreatic cancer

Racism, An Uncomfortable Subject

A few comments on racism

 

I was in the middle of this line of thinking when the post I was responding to got removed from the writing site that had incited a little bit of heated banter back and forth. I did not wish to engage in a conflict, but I felt drawn to say something, and as my brain marinated and then percolated, these are of few of the incomplete results.

This sure is a hot topic, isn’t it? And the tones sure do get feisty and I have no desire to add any fuel to any fires. I just want to play nice. I have thoughts on this topic without commenting on the writing, but our focus is on writing here. And therefore, I am saying a whole bunch of nothing, just for the hell of it.

I am not sure, being that my skin is of a lighter flesh tone, with some brown discolorations and blotches here and there along with sagging, wrinkling, and skin tags galore, but before I side track myself, I am saying that I am considered a “White” person or Caucasian. Also, Honky, Cracker, as I was screamed at one day as this young man’s blaring music was disturbing my physical therapy patients in my office in the Bronx and I dared to request he turn it down. I guess he didn’t realize I was a Jew as well. Then he would have had more words for me. That’s another story.

My ancestors were slaves in Egypt. I am not sure how they got from Egypt to Russia or to Germany. I will have to google that. They must have walked. Damn, they had some amazing legs back then. They didn’t even have New Balance or Nikes or Adidas. Hand-made shoes? Sheesh, they were some seriously tough people.

Funny though, they did survive slavery, and yet, naaaaa. I thought maybe because it was soooooo many years ago, in the B.C. years, that it was the spance of time that decreased my animosity towards my ancestor’s enslavers. But that doesn’t hold water, or oil, or fire even, because then you have soooo many incidents of hatred and persecution that I wouldn’t know where to start with grudge holding.

Then of course the Holocaust which many people forget involved almost as many people who were not Jews, 5 million give or take a few who were killed, in addition to the 6 million Jews. Whew, now what? So, I should be leary of Germans. Except that I have German ancestors on my dad’s side, so I guess I could be angry at the Germans who are not Jews. I could be one hell of a racist. My grandmother’s parents were from Russia, Kiev, which is in the Ukraine, still an area of turmoil and ethnic discord.

I am racist to some degree. I had trouble saying that the first time. But it is true to some degree. Naturally, I had to say it without the qualifier, “to some degree.” I hope to continue working on that by being with people of all colors and all faiths because the only way to shed any of my inner discomforts is to interact with everyone and not isolate myself.

I, to a greater or lesser degree than others, compare. I compare myself to others. Their height, their weight, their hair, their skin color. Am I alike or different. I am with people who look similar to me and therefore I feel more comfortable, or am I acutely aware that I am different than those around me. Am I evolved enough to feel comfortable either way, homogeneous white, homogeneous brown and black, homogeneous hispanic, muslim, asian, or all the ones I am leaving out?

Where is my comfort zone and how flexible is it, how rigid is it, what does it take in a room full of people for me to realize, ahhh that is what it feels like to stand out as being different, ahhh, this is what I feel like when the tables are turned, ahhh, this is uncomfortable and I feel the squirm in myself, and so yes, I am a racist. But, I am not a white supremacist.

A few times I have gone line dancing at a Baptist Church. Out of thirty or forty people, I was one of two white people. By the end of the first evening, I saw people, people I was chatting with, laughing with, dancing with, eating with, and I lost some of my self-consciousness, as I had fun with people, most of whom line-danced a hell of a lot better than me, and I was following some of their movements to learn. Point is? I don’t go line dancing often enough? That is part of it.

This is a sensitive topic, is uncomfortable for many, including myself, and therefore, often it doesn’t get talked out. There. I said I was going to say a lot of nothing. Was I true to my word? Do I hit send now…. ayyyy yiyyyy yiyyyyy….or keep this shit to myself…. sigh…. send away … oh, this didn’t have to be just a sentence did it? Ha ha, and I do realize this topic is more complex than I am addressing here?…ahuh. I wanted to start somewhere.

nmitchk@aol.com

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