Black people could end the cycle of poverty and despair, if only they could just be more Jewish. That, at least is the opinion of upstate New Yorker, Sharon
The explosion snuck up on me like they sometimes do. I try to avoid discussing politics with Sharon and her hubby, Dr. Thin Mints (not real name). On many subjects, they are perfectly normal and reasonable people.
They're intelligent, well-educated, fun-loving and socially accepting of all. For reasons that are neither relevant to this story nor clear to me, they are also rabidly anti-Obama, hence my avoidance of all things political.
After regaling the group with what she thinks is the very funny story of my recent interaction with a local police department, my wife said that it was lucky that I wasn't black.
From there, things went south in a big way.
Sharon and Dr. Thin Mints prosecuted a two-pronged attack. Sharon bristled at the way blacks play the victim card and she thinks that they should do what the Jews did when they came here. They worked hard and got their children educated.
"If we can do it, why can't they? After all, we were once slaves, too."
Dr. Thin Mints focused on the proper response when stopped by The Man. He taught his kids to be respectful and always say, "Yes, sir" or "Yes ma'am" in all circumstances.
He also made a point of demonstrating something one should never do. That is, to reach into your pocket and bring your hand out in the shape of a gun. I've never seen anyone do that, but he was adamant about the point, repeating the demonstration several times.
In Dr. Thin Mints's mind, it's the pantomimed gun that gets black kids shot.
Thin Mints lunged out of his chair, towering over me while angrily re-enacting the reaching of the hand thing. He was hopping mad and looked to be on the verge of a stroke.
Dismissing the idea of black people being disproportionately stopped by police, Thin Mints said that he sees white kids getting stopped all the time.
It's worth noting here that Sharon and Dr. Thin Mints live in a predominantly white neighborhood in upstate New York, where one rarely sees any kids that aren't white.
There was also something about the President staying out of all things with racial overtones. There's a common theme among the anti-Obama crowd that a black president should not be allowed to comment on any sort of social injustice, especially if it involves black people.
It would probably be the same for a Jewish president, although it's fine for Christian politicians to talk about the imaginary war on Christianity.
No one minds Mike Huckabee going to bat for a woman (Kim Davis) who refuses to do the job she was elected to do because it would include people doing things that go against her religious beliefs.
Anyway, it was a lot to chew on and I decided to bite my tongue rather than risk someone bursting a blood vessel.
This may blow your mind:
There is no historical evidence that there were any Jews (not even one) in Egypt during the time described in The Bible. The only historical reference to Jews in or near Egypt puts them in a military garrison about 4,000 years later.
There has never been found a single artifact bearing witness to the passage of one to two million Jews wandering around the desert.
There is no evidence as to how the pyramids were built, much less that they were built by Jews.
If anyone could have done it, it would have been the Jews. They just weren't there, which in no way diminishes the agony of a three-hour seder.
If you're one of those who takes the Bible literally, you may have to adjust your timeline a bit. You may also want to consider the millions of years dinosaurs had the planet to themselves.
Ancestors of African-Americans were plucked from their homes and families, unceremoniously crammed into the holds of cargo ships and brought to God's chosen country to make God's chosen white cotton farmers wealthy.
Once here, families were torn apart yet again, as slaves were traded and sold off like baseball cards. If one of the landed gentry wished to lay with (fuck) one of his slaves, it didn't matter if it was someone's wife or daughter. Or son.
Had we (Jews) actually been slaves, we would have had 5 or 6 millennia to get over it. Plus, once released from that questionable period of slavery, we would have looked like everyone else wandering around the desert.
Slavery here in America is a pretty recent thing and, when freed from bondage, black people were still faced with a white America that viewed them as slaves. It wasn't until after my bar-mitzvah that black people got the right to vote.
There were no jobs in the South for the recently freed slaves, so it was common for men to migrate north in search of employment. The concept of a black family unit was all but erased from the culture.
Jews, obviously had a different experience. Back in feudal Europe, it was illegal for Jews to own property. Jews were relegated to the chore of loaning money and keeping records.
Could be that's how Goldman Sachs got started.
Fleeing Nazi Germany, Jews escaped with whatever was light enough to carry or small enough to shove in their pockets. Some carried violins, while some stuffed diamonds into their pockets and headed for Manhattan's 47th Street.
They had something to fall back on and they had their families. Their one piece of good fortune was that they landed in a post war America where federal programs funded education, infrastructure and business growth.
At the same time, though black people were still suffering the oppression of Jim Crow laws.
Al Sharpton notwithstanding, being victimized is not a state of mind. Jews have learned to stand up for themselves and for each other. I don't know why we're offended when black people do the same, whether it's Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or President Black Guy.
Which brings us back to my time with one of Lincolnshire's finest. I was polite and respectful to the cop and we a had a certain rapport, of sorts, even as my situation deteriorated by the minute.
It was easy, though for me to crack wise with the nice police man. I had no fear that he would shoot me. It doesn't happen in my neighborhood or to guys like me. We think in terms of legal bills, not bullet holes.
It's possible that Thin Mints' kids will behave properly if they're ever in that situation. Then again, they, too have no fear of being shot. They're more worried about what their parents are going to do when they get home.
You can't deny that bad things happen to black people any more than you can deny global warming.
Growing up hippie in 1960's America, many of us feared the police. The actions of the Chicago Police Department during the 1968 Democratic Convention have often been described as a "police riot."
Growing up black, it's not unreasonable for one to acquire an overriding fear of the police and, as we all know, fear is a powerful thing.
Fear triggers an inexorable response that is hard wired into us at the molecular level. It has helped man survive for millennia. The fight or flight response can override our good manners when being stopped by the police.
Once the fight or flight thing kicks in, there is no reasoning. Adrenaline is pumped into the body and real, physiological changes occur in the brain. It shouldn't be surprising that people in that circumstance sometimes do dumb things.
Police, on the other hand are trained for those interactions with us dumb people. At least they should be. After all, that is their job.
How we can expect the general population to behave correctly when chatting with the local gendarme when we can't ensure that our police, supposedly trained for that very situation can be relied upon to do the same.
This is, in no way an indictment of the police. I'm just saying that these interactions are between human beings and, as such are unpredictable.
It's possible that Thin Mints did not realize that when he lunged at me, he had committed what is described in legal terms as an assault. If he did realize it, he probably regretted it.
He also proved that even the best among us can not always control their reactions to stressful situations. Had he lunged at my uniformed friend in Lincolnshire, IL, Thin Mints might have found himself in a situation that he thought only happened to black people who don't know how to interact properly with the police.
Under Florida's Stand Your Ground law, a lunge like that could make you dead.
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