“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” via Dr. King
So the Pittsburgh shooting happened Saturday night. A white man went in to shoot up a synagogue and killed 11 people. We knew. To be honest this wasn’t a surprise. I am Jewish. We are never completely out of the line of fire. I am not comparing Jews to other groups because of… whiteness. Assimilation is real and the bulk of the Jewish community has failed to support other marginalized communities because we got comfortable. Facts. Moving on.
Every Jewish person who is exposed to the religion is constantly taught the tale of how we were persecuted everywhere we went. There is a paranoia to be Jewish. This is why some Jewish people join the NCAAP and are natural allies with PoC. My eyes were opened about my place in this society ever since a classmate walking by called me a kike while I was playing center field. Anyway. The evidence was clear. The LGBT community was terrorized, Brown children are in cages, a Black church was terrorized, and now a synagogue was terrorized. It was only a matter of time. We can literally see the radicalization going on before our eyes.
So Saturday night I needed to escape. I turn to my favorite my numbing tool the television. Netflix and chill yes, please. I flip through the critically acclaimed movies and see Mudbound. A friend had recently recommended it to me without saying anything other than you should watch it.
Mudbound is not a comedy. I was not ready for it. Here is the description of the movie:
Two Mississippi families — one black, one white — confront the brutal realities of prejudice, farming and friendship in a divided World War II era.
I totally skipped the words prejudice and brutal and focused on farming and friendship. It had farming and friendship alright. But it was really about prejudice and brutality. The movie was so well shot. The scenes are dark and you feel the dirt on you. I won’t ruin the movie but I will tell you I walked away disturbed. The movie did what it was supposed to do. It showed just how brutal racism was even into the 1940’s. The movie is still weighing in on my soul.
I walked away with a couple of major thoughts. It must have been so hard for Black servicemen to be treated as equals, saviors, and liberators in other countries only to come back here and be treated subhuman. This was the same plight that happened when the Vietnam War was going on.
This excerpt makes the point:
When black servicemen returned victorious after having defeated Hitler and the threat of fascism in Europe, in 1945, they soon realised that they were still denied basic human rights. Protest groups were formed such as the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.). Subsequently, demonstrations, sit-ins and boycotts pressurised the authorities to integrate schools and public buildings. Link
My next thought was this was the old racism. The out loud in your face racism. White people watching it may walk away feeling like I did but also justifying their lack of racism by saying I don’t condone that. I’m not in a hate group so I’m not racist. The new racism has shifted to a stealthy incognito blanketing the major systems of America although it seems like the old racism is working hard to come back to polite society.
In the midst of all this craziness, I am reading Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. I am attempting to understand and put into words the feelings that are going on inside of me. I know this is impacting me along with other things in my life. Brene’s book is helping me realize how to identify what is happening and communicate it. I know I turn to food when I get upset. This is why I have a half eaten box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in my cabinet that I only bought two hours ago.
So I am pinpointing my emotions now. I am Anxious. I have been for a long time. We are in the scariest of times that I know of.
I am Frustrated. I don’t see how and why social justice is not being implemented in all subject areas. Where is the action? By continuing to ignore the state of our country in our classroom we continue to empower the status quo which is no friend of equity nor equality.
I am Overwhelmed. Story after story with senseless murder after senseless murder. It is impossible not to be.
I don’t have an ending for this blog. Go watch Mudbound but be prepared for a harsh tale. Please vote. It may be the last time we can redirect this country back to where it needs to be. America is not perfect but it has the potential to be. I still believe.