>Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Is it just me, or is it extra resonant this year, knowing that tomorrow we will inaugurate our first black president? I'm getting choked up just thinking about it.
Also, I have been reading Dreams from My Father in preparation for my lit seminar this semester. (It's the first book on the reading list, which is awesome.) Although my life story is nothing like Barak Obama's except that we both worked in Chicago at some point and are both dedicated to public service, I've really identified with his quest for identity and place. Again, it is not remotely the same, but at the same time, I also grew up with a living family who wanted the best for me, not knowing a portion of my heritage and wondering what they were like.
Discrimination comes in many forms, and its effects are pernicious whether through racism or anti-Semetism. Many businesses in America displayed signs on their doors reading, "No Blacks, No Jews, No Dogs," although the order was sometimes changed, and sometimes Jews were allowed, but not Irish. One of the things that I am most proud of as a Jewish person is the role that American Jews played in the civil rights movement, and continue to play in social justice movements. There is a concept called tikkun olam, in which it is everyone's responsibility to fix the world. Of course, on the flip side, one of the things that most upsets me about being Jewish is how many Jews are slumlords and exploiters of low income communities. In many cases, these are the only Jews that ever come into the lives of disadvantaged communities of many ethnic groups, and it is no wonder that the view of cheap, miserly Jews continues to thrive in those cultures.
At any rate, it is my hope that we are entering a new era of honest dialogue between ethnic groups, genders, classes, and all the other barriers that prevent real progress. Shit, if we can make a machine that takes pictures, calls people, sends emails, and fits in my pants pocket, I'd think we could figure out how to get along.
*Since Blackberries seem to do everything except change diapers and wipe butts, I like to call them "machines." Husband has had a machine for a few years now, and while I coveted one every now and then, I realized that I didn't really want one. Too much stuff to manage. Really, I just like a phone that works.