Tuesday, January 12, 2021

There Is A Difference Between Right and Wrong

There is a difference between right and wrong. Period. 

I debated long and hard about posting something about this topic and decided if I could open even just one person's eyes to what I'm about to say, then it's worth it. 

One week ago, our nation's Capitol was attacked. Yes, attacked. By domestic terrorists and white supremacists. I am not talking about people who peacefully walked down Pennsylvania Avenue hoping to have election results overturned into their favor (which is an entire other issue). I am talking about the people who broke down the doors of the Capitol, who smashed in windows, who brought climbing gear to heave themselves over a wall, who were looking to capture and hang government officials, and who were there to do something that is blatantly illegal. 

We sat and watched the coverage of this all day. We saw the people. You can't 'fake' what was shown on live television or the videos from inside. You just can't. It wasn't a movie or a television show. There was no script. It happened. It actually happened. I still can't believe it happened, but it did. And we saw the people who were involved. Their faces. And their clothes. 

When you see someone in a "Camp Auschwitz" shirt or someone with a "White Power" flag or someone wearing "6MNE" (6 million not enough) or someone waving a Confederate flag, you have to take a step back. You have to REALLY look at what is happening around you. And you have to understand that THEY. ARE. WRONG. Period. 

Allow me to go a ways back in time as to why January 6th had such an impact on me personally. 

I am Jewish. I was raised in a Jewish home by Jewish parents. I went to a Yeshivah until 8th grade. I had a Bat Mitzvah. I can read and write Hebrew. I can even read from the Torah. My family cofounded a Holocaust museum. My father's best friend was a survivor. I am proud of my religion, my heritage, and my culture. 

I grew up listening to my ancestors tell us about the Holocaust, their experiences and horror stories, about living in Europe in a time where they weren't welcomed, about persecution just because of who they were, what they had to do to escape to America, to get to a place where they would be welcomed and accepted. 

My father raised me to be loud and proud of who I am and being Jewish. However, I was also taught to hide it when I needed to hide it. Because, as he told me, there will likely be times in your life when you'll need to hide it. And sadly, he was right.

I didn't experience any persecution or mistreatment for being Jewish until I was in high school. The first boy who ever asked me out on a date was so sweet and so kind. I was so excited. My mom even took me to the Limited to buy a new outfit just for my first 'real' date. I got to wear makeup and since he was 16, he could drive and would pick me up. I sat and waited and waited and waited. He never showed up. He didn't answer his phone when I called. I cried. I cried so hard. The next day at school, I saw him and asked him what happened. He looked at me and said, "Well, I told my dad I was going to take you out on a date and he reminded me we don't associate with your kind. With Jews." I lost it. I couldn't believe it. How dare he?! How dare his parents raise him to think that way?! I was shocked. I was hurt. I was in disbelief. I was crushed.

In college, my roommate told me the first day she wasn't going to accept me because I was a Jew. "I ain't never seen one of yous before." was what she told me. We never spoke. We shared a room for a few months and never discussed anything. I eventually moved to another building because it was too much to handle. 

While student teaching, my cooperating teacher told me I should celebrate "your holiday" over the weekend because during the week it was my responsibility to be at school every day, not celebrating at synagogue. She actually tried to fail me for missing that day of teaching, Yom Kippur. She then proceeded to refer to me as a kike to several staff members. Thankfully, they stood up for me. 

A few years into my teaching career, I had a principal who referred to me as the "dirty kike" teacher to a parent. How do you go into work, every day, knowing your superior thinks so little of you simply because of your culture? How do you continue to teach in a building knowing the administration is a bigot? I won't lie, it was immensely difficult and took a toll. 

Each of these experiences, plus countless more, made a lasting impact on me. I remember every single detail of those moments. What I was wearing, how I felt, their facial expressions, the lack of empathy in their eyes, no remorse for their words or actions. There comes a point in your life when experiences continuously add up over time teaching you the same lesson. White supremacy is wrong. 

There is a difference between right and wrong. Some things are just wrong. Cheating on a test? Wrong. Stealing? Wrong. Refusing to accept someone because of their heritage? Wrong. 
Yes, right and wrong can be all about perception. And I have had friends who have tried to debate with me on this very topic. That I am taking it personal or I'm just reading into things or that these people didn't know any better. That's making excuses for their ignorance. And, they're WRONG. Plain and simple. 

White supremacy, the belief that white people are superior to other races and should therefore dominate society, to exclude other racial or ethnic groups, and the inability to accept people who are different, is WRONG.

I see someone demonstrating their support of white supremacy and/or NOT denouncing it? HARD STOP. 

We cannot let history repeat itself as long as we learn and grow from history. What has happened in the past should be a guiding light as to what to look for in our future.  

How we act in response to this event in history will decide what happens next. Staying complacent will further breed this to happen again, but being worse next time. We need to learn. We need to grow. We need to teach. We need to listen. We need change. We need to lead our children by example. A right example. An example of love and acceptance and open minds. 

While I strive each and every day to teach my child to love and accept everyone, I will teach him that those who do not accept him or want to hurt him, he does not have to love and accept. Because there is right and there is wrong. Plain and simple. 

Hopefully we, and he, can teach them what love and acceptance is and help the next generation so we no longer continue this ruthless cycle of hate. 

If you disagree with me on what I have to say, that's fine. This is my blog and my space for me to speak my mind. While normally it's about clothes and playgrounds and gifting and low-key things, sometimes I take on serious topics. 
Just know, we can all use some education on what led to what happened on January 6th. And if you hate someone just because of their culture, heritage, or skin color, it might be time to take a step back and take a hard look in the mirror at WHY you feel that way and why you cannot accept them.  

No comments :

Post a Comment