Je Suis Mira Mesa
More thoughtful comments were received regarding The Grandfathers June 2018 Political Correctness Column than any other column that he’s ever written. Three of them stood out way above all the others, with the permission of the authors, they’re being shared here with all of you. The Grandfather was honored that they choose to share some of their life experiences with him, we hope that you appreciate and enjoy them as much as he did.
One Reader Wrote…
“It’s not the word – but the intent” as I frequently tell my kids when an f-bomb slips outta my mouth. I grew up on the east coast, f-bombs are a part of the culture, as are insults to close friends, and politeness to those you weren’t friends with.
I haven’t been back East for quite a while, but it was super common when I was growing up to be associated by your ethnicity (or nationality as we called it then – I always corrected them to inform them I was American) but having the shared background from the old country was somehow important. I wasn’t white growing up, I was Italian (not WOP, not guidette, maybe guinnie, if you were one too).
Certainly there were those that would use race against you (or try to anyway). They were most likely very white, and Protestant, worsening with how far back they could trace their family roots here. It didn’t matter that I had relatives here pre Columbus – it was when my white roots got here that mattered – I didn’t look white, so even though I could draw my lineage back to John Martin as part of the founding of the Virginia colony in 1530, I was still not equal.
So, yeah, I get it. In the early 20th century there were a few movements for the common American, the manual labor working class, part of the big melting pot of these United States. It wasn’t just here, much of Europe recognized each other’s humanity. In fact when the Armenian genocide started pre WWI there were many nations that worked together to resettle the refugees. The US gladly took in tens of thousands, allowing them to create communities here, most notably up in the bay area.
All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.
I feel like we’re in the thick of that right now. For all our proposed Christian morals, it seems our actions are founded in the old testament.
My step dad frequently supports problem people, because they ask for help. It’s his choice, but he believes the only way they can improve their lot is by the good acts of others. Even though they don’t make good choices, he keeps helping, because that’s what people do. Help each other flaws and all. I appreciate his intention even though it is flawed and quite likely counter productive. The kindness and the compassion is the key.
Going back to being a guinnie, from my friends, guinnie or not, it was at that time a label of acceptance and belonging. Unfortunately, unkind people used such labels as tools for suppression and oppression. Forever ruining such terms of endearment to the vile and hateful terms they’ve become.
While I may long for the original intent that I knew, and the sense of belonging that came with it, I will not propagate the hate that seems to permeate every where. We are not more sensitive by being offended, we are more aware of the evil intent.
Another Reader Writes…
When I was growing up, up the coast here, in Torrance, I never ever encountered any antisemitism. I didn’t hide my Jewishness ether. It simply wasn’t an issue. The teachers at my high school called my school the golden ghetto, because the absolute worst problem was marijuana cigarettes. Clearly the administration had decided to look the other way about it. The gathering place was behind the library and the ground was white from all the cigarette butts. We had, count em, ONE black girl. Everyone respected her because she clearly was one of the leaders of the class and extremely popular. She has done well in life, but I can’t recall at what at this point.
Now for my experience with the concept of antisemitism: My religious school teacher, perhaps 9th grade?, showed us a pamphlet of crude cartoons from various Arabic newspapers. Some of them were pretty frightening. One that I remember showed a Jewish man being choked to death by a barbed wire in the form of the Star of David. He was also the one who predicted that Jews would eventually be persecuted in this country. I’m sure somewhere he is telling people “I told you so!” However, my two sons who grew up here in Mira Mesa both told me they encountered antisemitism in school here. It is pretty sad when one can see the deterioration of society in one’s own lifetime.
Another sign of that hit me when I was going through some of my Dad’s stuff in the last ten years and came across one of his pay stubs and discovered he made more money in the 1980s than I did in the 2000s. He was a blue collar radio technician for American Airlines. I had a masters degree and was a librarian for the City of San Diego.
Hopefully life and society will swing around again to the kinder more scientific based culture we used to have.
And my Canadian buddy in Toronto wrote…
Hey, I remember the time when harass was two words!
So many experiences, so much diversity and it’s right here in Mira Mesa… my mind boggles at what we might learn about our community tomorrow.
Je Suis Mira Mesa