or i will be forced to emigrate!

andallthewildthingsroared  asked:

hey! i wanted to let you know that i think your cas/stages of grief meta was absolutely amazing. cas's story never really made sense to me, it always seemed so inconsistent, like they had no idea where they were going with it, and your meta is the first i've read that made me see some central theme in it after all. so kudos for that :) just out of curiosity, you have any idea where they're going with crowley? bc his story is another one that always felt the opposite of straightforward to me.

Whats your hope for Crowleys arc on this season?

Hi! Thank you so much for all that! I am the most awful person, because not only I’m like, two months late in answering this but I’m also going to bundle it up with an anon ask. Sorry, @andallthewildthingsroared!

(I did write the overly long thing I promised you, though, so there’s that.)

I understand where you’re coming from - Crowley’s arc is sort of zigzaggy, but if you take away what was clearly bad characterization (such as that one-off threat to Sam complete with red eyes which never went anywhere), I sort of feel like we can know who Crowley is, and what he wants.

Background

So, just as a summary - we know he was a bastard, and that he had a stable enough relationship with his mother that he remembers her (not fondly), and that she up and left soon enough that it felt like she was abandoning him (eight is a bit soon to fend for yourself, even in the seventeenth century). We know he had a son, and since Gavin’s mother is never mentioned, I want to say unremarkable entity who died in childbirth? Because if this had been his great love, and if she’d survived long enough to be remembered by Gavin, I hope to God that would have been brought up in the narrative (come on). So, either Crowley didn’t give a damn about her, and got saddled with the kid for some reason, or he cared a lot and she died pretty early on and that’s possibly the reason he started being so awful to everybody (hello, John Winchester’s parallels). We also know he was a tailor, which, in those times, and for an orphan, implies either that Rowena used magic to help him out (unlikely for a number of reasons) or that he was actually a very smart, very talented kid who had to work his ass off during his apprenticeship, as was usual for the times. In this case, we’ve got someone whose life was out of his control from a very young age, and who knows what it’s like to be at a master’s whim. 

Demon deal

Now, what doesn’t fit with this picture is the idea a kid like that would sell his soul for a longer dick, as Crowley boasted to have done (also, as amusing as it is, this would be a moot point by now, since Crowley’s in a different body). What I consider more likely is that Crowley’s current vessel - the literary agent in his late forties possibly all work and all play as that job often entails - tried to make a similar deal (and that would be a reason for Crowley to stick with the body afterwards; after all, we know he’s vain and likes to sleep around, so, vessel for vessel, why not go for a bigger dong?); as for Crowley himself, I really can’t guess what happened. Gavin remembers him as a useless drunkard, and he certainly had no riches to pass on - so much so, Gavin was forced to emigrate to the Colonies. What did Crowley gain, exactly, in exchange for his soul? An intriguing possibility is that, like Dean, he took the deal to save someone else - perhaps Gavin himself from some childhood fever - and became a drunk asshole out of blind panic the closer he got to the deadline. I like this explanation, because there was always this weird pull between Crowley and Dean, and this would go a long way towards explaining it; but, really, this is one of those things it’s useless to speculate about - either the show will tell us, or it won’t.

(Another possibility I like, but which would have come up by now, is that Rowena sold her kid’s soul to pay for her own magic - a plot bunny I explored here.)

Whatever his reasons, Crowley’s time in hell took this primal lack of control over his own life and made it a thousand times worse. We still don’t know, exactly, how demons are created, how long it takes, and who decides which eyes you’ll get, and which job you’ll do. This is, like, one of the 2000 things the show could get into instead of inventing new lore (I’m not complaining, though - S11 was magnificent, and S12 has been very good so far). What we do know is that the entire process is excruciatingly painful; that it distorts, or takes away, your human soul. If we think about other soulless creatures we’ve encountered, what Crowley is makes a lot of sense. It’s not about being evil, exactly; it’s more about a lack of caring and empathy. There are moments where Crowley actually reminds me of soulless!Sam - like when he pushed Dean into Cain’s arms just because it was convenient on the short term. 

Crowley the crossroads demon

Becoming a demon is also the worst kind of punishment, we should assume, because it completely takes away your free will.

Keep reading

6

The pilot of the Republican air force Leopoldo Morcillas in the cockpit of a fighter I-15 .

L. Markiles became a fighter pilot during the civil war (before it started served as a corporal bombers), and he proved himself an excellent fighter. In the course of air fights with Franco and their allies from Germany and Italy, 21 scored a personal triumph and about the same in the group.

After the defeat of the Republic, emigrated to the USSR where he entered the service in the red army air force. During the great Patriotic war, L. Markiles fought in the composition of the attack aircraft. Died in Tula in 1989

Ever since I was a boy in Raasay and became aware of the differences between the history I read in books and the oral accounts I heard around me, I have been very sceptical of what might be called received history; the million people for instance who died in Ireland in the nineteenth century; the million more who had to emigrate; the thousands of families forced from their homes in the Highlands and Islands.

Why was all that? Famine? Overpopulation? Improvement? The Industrial Revolution? Expansion overseas? You see not many of these people understood such words, they knew only Gaelic. But we know now another set of words: clearance, empire, profit, exploitation, and today we live with the bitter legacy of that kind of history.

—  Somhairle MacGill-Eain
Watch on rjzimmerman.tumblr.com

Lines from the poem, “Home” by the Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire has been used in the various demonstrations and protests responding to trump’s immigrant ban. The poet is reading her poem in this video. Intensely moving.

Dan Rather posted it on his Facebook page, with this note: “To summon up the plight of refugees, to force us to confront unsettling questions about who these people are and what they’ve endured, I share this powerful piece of art. It’s called ‘Home’ by Warsan Shire, a Somali writer who emigrated to the United Kingdom at a young age.”

I appreciate that the remainder of this post is long, but I want to share the entire poem, which she reads.

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

anonymous asked:

What do you think of jews?

I am a long time admirer of the Jewish people. They are a tiny group of people yet have managed to receive far more Nobel prizes than any other group. They are typically hard working people, entrepreneurial people and have been an asset to every country that they emigrated to. They value education very highly.

I am not in favor of Zionism though. I can see why the Jews wanted a homeland after the Holocaust but why take it by force at the expense of others who lived there for eighteen hundred years? One would think that their recent experience would have caused them to be compassionate to a weaker people. 

There had to be a better way and until the injustice done to the people of Palestine is rectified there will continue to be blood shed around the world. I am not excusing the terror tactics of the Muslim Fundamentalists but I imagine that if the Spanish came to California and demanded we hand back to them I would object.

verysavage  asked:

2 (unrelated) things. Is Scotland (as a country) really as empty as I've heard celebrities say it is? Secondly, what's your opinion on immigration in Scotland? (as in Immigrants coming to live in Scotland)

1. Uhhh what celebrities? It’s true that Scotland has a relatively small population but I wouldn’t see that as a bad thing as some of the best countries in the world have small populations.

It also means we don’t build in our fantastic highlands.

2. Scotland needs immigration as we have an ageing population. I think where Scotland differs in opinion from England on immigration is that Scots have emigrated and sometimes been forced to emigrate all over the world and they’ve went to build communities and contribute to societies. So we recognise the amazing contribution that immigrants in Scotland do.

3

Dear People of the World,

It has been 5 years since the Syrian Civil War began and only now are people bothering to even acknowledge the heinous crimes that are being committed. In the past 5 years we have seen attacks on the LGBTQ community, children and soccer fans and countless other innocent victims. Each time death plagued a country, community, family, we all simultaneously were France, Orlando, Charlie. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these feelings or statements in the slightest, however don’t you think it was time we start to defend a people that have been calling for help only to be rewarded with chemical warfare and deaf ears?

Get ready for a crash course in the Syrian unrest (I wrote a research paper on this subject): While Syria has experienced forced emigration before, 2011 brought about the biggest wave of immigrants since World War II. If that event does not ring a bell, this many people have not been displaced since Hitler took over Germany and Jewish people were fleeing for their safety. While the EU (and bordering Middle East countries) has done their best to accommodate the amount of people being displaced, there have been many obstacles and Syrian refugees continue to die because of the restrictions being placed on travel and the recent Brexit.

Now I am prepared to compare Assad to Hitler and I am also prepared to be absolutely disgraced to have to watch world leaders barter with millions of peoples’ lives. Here is where I will quote U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, and say “Is there literally nothing that can shame you?” And since we are on the topic, how dare you West Aleppo? While it may seem as if I live in one of the most divided countries on God’s Green Earth, I know it is not as bad as the history that plagues my country. I also know that my country is nowhere near as disconnected as yours.

How dare you dance on the bodies of your brothers and sisters? How dare you literally laugh in the face of death? These are actions I will truly never understand. I am in no way saying that the U.S. is the best country on Earth. This last election proved that (along with the rate of education, literacy, etc.) and countless groups of people and mindsets have proved that time and again. What I am saying is that: while I may never understand how it feels to live in such a war-torn area, I do understand what it means to have humanity.

To the rest of the world who has sat around acting as if the Middle East will always be (and has always been) as violent as it is, keep this in mind: many of you would still be in caves if it weren’t for Arabs and you sure as hell should be more inclined to just help the people who need it most. For God’s sake just be good people, why is that so much to ask? Wake up, open your eyes (and your hearts), have some compassion. Imagine if this was your town, city, country… just please “be kind to one another.”

Yours Truly,

Yasmin Salahuddin 

anonymous asked:

do you think racism against white people exists?

Short answer: the idea that racism against white people doesn’t exist is the top of the iceberg of all the most idiotic US-centric worldviews pushed on the rest of the world on this website where people think the world works like the US. And it’s not even correct. So: yes.

Long answer: first thing, this whole racism against white people doesn’t exist is the translation of ‘institutionalized racism against white people doesn’t exist in the United States of America when with white people we mean white anglo saxon protestants’, because like idk Italians are very white and were victims of racism in the US at some point same as the Irish same as the Greeks same as the French same as most non-British, non-German Europeans - if you wanna be illuminated read any essay by John Reed about class struggles and union struggles in the US before WWI. Especially the one about the Colorado miners. You’ll see that police brutality in the US based on racial reasons existed way before the last fifty years.

Other than that: saying that racism against white people doesn’t exist means negating 99% of the racism that happens in Europe and in places where most people are white and are considered such according to our standards, because the US are the only place on this planet where in order to be white you have to be an anglosaxon protestant.

For one, going very back in time: the word barbarian comes from the ancient Greek barbaros, which was how the Ancient Greeks called anyone who wasn’t Greek. Now, considering what barbarian means, do your maths and tell me that it wasn’t pre-litteram racism.

Anyway. Racism means that you hate someone based on their race. The end. Institutional racism means that it’s sanctioned by the state, but it’s not the same thing and anyway here in Europe things work on ethnicity, because we’re pretty much all white and we’re plenty racists.

I mean. Not going as far as the Greeks. If you can’t be racist against white people then the Irish having been oppressed for centuries by the British and just about anyone else to the point of being sold into slavery, having had their language almost obliterated, being left to die during the potato famine, being forced to emigrate and getting signs with *no Irish need apply* in the US isn’t racism. Eastern Europeans treated like dirt in general isn’t racism. People here in Italy saying that Romanians are scum of the earth who comes here to steal our jobs and rape our women isn’t racism. People here saying the same things against Albanians twenty years ago wasn’t racism. Hitler thinking Slavic populations were a lesser race and had to be annihilated wasn’t racism. Actually, the term slave comes from Slav, and I can assure you Slavic people are all white and considered such here and where they come from, and that’s not racist if racism against white people doesn’t exist?

But other than that. Most Jewish people in Europe are indeed white and they’re considered white and they have always been discriminated against because of their religion/ethnicity, not because of their skin color. If racism against white people doesn’t exist, two millennia of systematic oppression culminating in the Holocaust isn’t racism and my former neofascist classmates saying all Jews deserved to be in a concentration camp totally wasn’t racist. According to this reasoning Europe has always only discriminated and racists never existed here. Which is a completely dumb as fuck preposterous notion and if you take it the wrong way it ends up pretty much saying that Nazis weren’t racists except for what they thought about black people but they were pretty okay about hating everyone else because that wasn’t racism. Like. No.

And I said the Irish (btw look up the Troubles, because if that’s not also religious-based racism then I don’t know what it was), but look up at the relations between the British and the Welsh too, because it’s not as if Britain pretty much didn’t try to obliterate both Welsh and Irish and general Celtic cultures, and if that’s not racism then I don’t know what it is.

So, long answer: racism against white people exists because you can also be racist against someone based on ethnicity, not just on skin color, and other than that… so how do you call what Japanese thought of Koreans and Chinese people during their imperialist phase in the 20th century before WWII? Because that was totally racism and it’s in between what people in the US would call poc without realizing it’s completely different cultures. Or like, idk, look up the Rwanda genocide. It was black people being racist against black people. No one has an exclusive on racism, everyone can be racist against someone else.

But other than that… so, anyway, we established that ‘no racism against white people’ aka ‘no institutionalized racism against white people’ is a US thing. Excellent, great, so it means that throughout the history of the US there never was any kind of institutionalized racism against white people anywhere, right?

Uhm. So what is this about?

Right from the Wiki page:

Once the Okie families migrated from Oklahoma to California, they often were forced to work on large farms to support their families. Because of the minimal pay, these families were often forced to live on the outskirts of these farms in shanty houses they built themselves. These homes were normally set up in groups called Squatter Camps or Shanty Towns, which were often located near the irrigation ditches which ran along the outskirts of these farms. Indoor plumbing was inaccessible to these migrant workers, and so they were forced to resort to using outhouses. Unfortunately, because of the minimal space allotted to these migrant workers, their outhouses were normally located near the irrigation ditches, and some waste would inevitably runoff into the water. These irrigation ditches provided the Okie families with a water supply. Due to this lack of sanitation in these camps, disease ran rampant among the migrant workers and their families. Also contributing to disease was the fact that these Shanty Town homes that the Okie migrant workers lived in had no running water, and because of their minimal pay medical attention was out of the question.However, what native Californians failed to realize at the time was that these Okie migrant farm workers did not always live in the conditions that the Dust Bowl left them in. In fact, often these families had once owned their own farms and had been able to support themselves. This had often placed these migrant workers in a relatively comfortable middle-class situation for these families prior to the devastating drought (the Dust Bowl) in Oklahoma.

Also, if I may go and quote the Steinbeck novel above which I have all reasons to think accurate mostly because when a book gets burned in public I think there might be a chance it’s saying controversial truths:

In the West there was panic when the migrants multiplied on the highways. Men of property were terrified for their property. Men who had never been hungry saw the eyes of the hungry. Men who had never wanted anything very much saw the flare of want in the eyes of the migrants. And the men of the towns and of the soft suburban country gathered to defend themselves; and they reassured themselves that they were good and the invaders bad, as a man must do before he fights. They said, These goddamned Okies are dirty and ignorant. They’re degenerate, sexual maniacs. These goddamned Okies are thieves. They’ll steal anything. They’ve got no sense of property rights.

And the latter was true, for how can a man without property know the ache of ownership? And the defending people said, They bring disease, they’re filthy. We can’t have them in the schools. They’re strangers. How’d you like to have your sister go out with one of ‘em?

The local people whipped themselves into a mold of cruelty. Then they formed units, squads, and armed them- armed them with clubs, with gas, with guns. We own the country. We can’t let these Okies get out of hand. And the men who were armed did not own the land, but they thought they did. And the clerks who drilled at night owned nothing, and the little storekeepers possessed only a drawerful of debts. But even a debt is something, even a job is something. The clerk thought, I get fifteen dollars a week. S'pose a goddamn Okie would work for twelve? And the little store- keeper thought, How could I compete with a debtless man?

Also:

“Well, Okie use’ ta mean you was from Oklahoma. Now it means you’re a dirty son-of-a-bitch. Okie means you’re scum.“ 

Now: I doubt farmers from Oklahoma can be described as *POC* unless you count mixed white/Native American people and they weren’t the majority as far as I recall - farmers from Oklahoma usually were descendants from white settlers who had been there for some forty/fifty years. And the above was pretty much how these people got treated when they got to California. And like, I’m pretty sure that people in charge in California where white US citizens same as the Oklahoma farmers were white US citizens.

You want to tell me that’s discrimination and not racism, okay, but it’s still white people institutionally discriminating other white people. In the US. So uhm, er, saying that in the US white people were never discriminated majorly is also incorrect. And if you count that all European immigrants are considered white in Europe then sorry but white people also were plenty discriminated in the US - again, no Irish need apply.

Therefore: this entire thing that you can’t be racist against white people or institutionally discriminate them is completely out of this world, especially because the entire notion of white people makes no fucking sense if for white people you don’t mean white anglosaxon protestant.

And guess what, in every part of the world that is not the USA, being white does not in fact mean being an anglosaxon protestant. Because I mean, I’m plenty white and I can assure you that I’m neither anglosaxon nor protestant and I have privilege in my country because I’m an Italian born in Italy in a good economical situation, not because I’m white as about 94% of the rest of the population.

Also I wrote a longass rant to answer a question of one line and I should probably stop but I just hate this notion and my finger slipped, ops.

“What kind of Asian are you?”

“I’m Filipino”

“No, you’re not,” is their reply.

I’m sick and tired of this reaction. Who are they to tell me that I am not my ethnicity?   

The best one was when this Italian girl in my French class asked what my background was and when I told her, she said, “Really? I wouldn’t have thought that you weren’t Asian.”

My eyes nearly fell out of my sockets. I am still Asian. Filipinos are Asian (South East Asian). What the hell are we if we aren’t Asian? For some reason others have started to believe that the Philippines is not part of Asia - like, please direct yourselves to a map and the ASEAN website and look at the list of members and - oh, look - there’s the Philippines. 

Patricia A.

100% Filipino - even though everyone thinks I am not.

Born in Manila to a Kapangpangan and Pangasinse mother and a Visayan father. Raised in Canada for as long as I can remember and have never been to the Philippines since my family emigrated.

It took me a long time to come to accept myself and my background and differentiate my experience from the stereotypes people have about my people and my culture. 

I have been told at the age of 5 that I can only speak English because other languages were not allowed. I lost my ability to speak my parents’ mother tongue since then and I am trying to re-learn it. 

I hate that many Filipinos don’t know about their history - why a majority of our surnames are Spanish (1849 Clavería Decree where we were forced to choose last names for tax regulation purposes), our own script/writing system (Baybayin) that predates our colonization, etc. 

I hated having to repress my interest and my longing to be more informed about my culture just so I won’t seem “too different” - even to my Filipino and other Asian friends.

To all my Asian-Canadians/Americans/Europeans/wherever who are struggling with wanting to connect to their culture:

Be proud of your culture, love it, express yourself in it and for anyone who gives you crap for it or finds it too “foreign”/“weird” - flip them and their ignorant, intolerant ass off.

Have a fantabulous day.

10

“Amuro’s Mom had always spoiled him with kindness, but never agreed to go to Side 7—and Amuro’s father never demanded it. In reality, his mother’s refusal to leave Earth was a convenient pretext for his parents to separate. His father used his fame as a colony architect to make a deal with local officials, obtained special dispensation for her so she was spared the forced emigration to the Sides.

His own philosophy was simply expressed as, ‘I want Amuro to see the construction of the new Side. The experience will make him strong, the kind of man we’ll need in the new century.'”

-from Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening; by Yoshiyuki Tomino

All right, dudes. I am usually very much of the don’t like it, don’t read it feeling about fics; it’s way easier to close a tab than it is to make yourself miserable and then complain about it, after. But this fic, by septemberpoems, has crossed my dash a bunch of times, now, and I feel like we need to have a conversation about it. Because my issue with it isn’t a taste thing, per se; it’s the way that it uses history and culture– specifically my history and culture– to do what it’s doing. 

Standard disclaimers apply: the author isn’t a bad person for having written it, you are not a bad person if you liked it, and everyone has blind spots we can’t see until someone points them out to us. My hope is that I can point out one, and we can have a civil dialogue about it. To be clear, though, I find conversations around the Holocaust fairly triggery, and will not hesitate to delete/defriend/disappear if this comes close to getting ugly.

So, first things first: if you’re going to write about the Holocaust, please tag for it. It was a campaign of state-sponsored murder that nearly wiped out a generation of Eastern European Jews. I know it’s become a pop culture product– a Spielberg film that’s the punchline to a Seinfeld joke– but that doesn’t change the fact that it was genocide, and it deserves the gravity we give to any other kind of violence. 

-

I am the daughter of a Polish Jew; my father’s mother emigrated between the wars, and I am lucky not to have to know how many relatives I lost to the Holocaust, back in the country where they no longer lived. I grew up in a community of Russian-Jewish emigres, not a few of them survivors of the camps. They were not, by and large, doddering old ladies leaning on strong young men to help translate the stories of what they’d gone through, looking for ways to talk about the hope it had given them. They didn’t talk about it much at all. One of them told me a story, once, of taking a shoe from the Holocaust Museum in DC, from the piles of slippers prisoners were forced to wear, which are now part of what’s on display. A guard yelled at her. She yelled back. These shoes don’t belong to America, she told him. They belong to every Jewish child. They belong to me.

I might be wrong about this, but I am pretty sure I’m right that the author isn’t Jewish. That’s fine. We all write fiction about things we know nothing about. But there’s a clear lack of research or understanding about what the Holocaust was and is to the Jewish community in that story that I found personally deeply painful. My father’s parents spoke Yiddish at home– not Polish. If Stiles’ mother had been a Polish Jew she likely would have, too. It’s a dying language. I don’t speak it. I worry about that fact a lot. We’ve managed to take a lot back from Hitler, but he murdered an entire language, with music and poetry and literature. He murdered a vibrant, sophisticated culture. It wasn’t Polish culture. Polish Jews had been ostracized from their countrymen long before the fact of the camps. That’s why my grandmother had to flee– because pogroms predate Hitler.

Then there’s the fact that Stiles has apparently never been given any kind of Holocaust education– that he has to have a gentile explain it to him, to sit him down to watch Schindler’s fucking List. I mean. I get it. The Sheriff wasn’t Jewish, he didn’t go to Hebrew school, fine. But does he have to sit around passively receiving wisdom from Derek, being spoon-fed his own culture, in which he had no interest until it became a means to a (fucking) end? White Savior Derek the Linguist gives me the creeps. The Jewish thing is complicated, I know, not precisely racial, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a damaging and problematic trope. 

It’s not precisely germane, but there’s also the Stacy issue: an original character who’s just a vile bitch designed to get in the way of Derek and Stiles’ Deep True Pure Love. Using women to keep them apart and the Holocaust to bring the together: not everything is a set piece for your OTP’s romance. If there were a more nuanced consideration of the role of the Holocaust in modern Jewish life, the way it made my grandparents’ generation rightly terrified of passing anything down to mine– that would be one thing. But instead the implication is that Stiles never learned because no one bothered to teach him, I guess because there were no Jews in his life, to speak for themselves. 

-

I went through years and years of Holocaust education in school. I hated it. I argue all the time, now, that the modern Jewish community needs to abandon the insular paranoid obsession with it, as if we were the only people ever massacred. We weren’t. We aren’t. It was awful; it doesn’t make us special.

But it is ours. It is not your plot point to deploy casually; it is not your generic stand-in for diaspora angst. Every culture has its own lost lands and tongues and stories. When you try to tell them, you need to be sure you’re respecting those who can no longer speak, and those who are left, to listen. 

I guess if you ignore Hitler and Luther and the blood libels and the pogroms and the Crusades, and the antisemitism embedded in both Christianity and German/European culture (I might be forgetting a few things here, but let’s ignore them as well), then indeed the Jews have nothing to worry about in Germany.

They always lived in peace and harmony until those pesky Zionists showed up and forced the Jews to emigrate to Israel.

(I just thought I’d try applying anti-Zionist logic to other things too)

my mom sent me a link a while ago to a post on some puerto rican tourism site started by white americans who moved there about a gallup poll that determined puerto rico is the third happiest nation on the planet, following costa rica and panama, making it (the puerto rican tourism site started by white americans who moved there was quick to point out) the happiest island on the planet, because of course she did. my mom’s relationship with puerto rico is a fascinating and complicate thing: she never wanted me to grow up there, she told me many times not to marry a puerto rican man, she really loved the beginning of beauty and the beast because she related retroactively to belle, there must be more than this provincial life! but when we were growing up on the mainland, in, generally, aggressively white-american areas, physically and otherwise (one of the partners at my father’s manhattan law firm told my mother they were very proud to have made in my father their first ever minority hire as a lawyer, which is extra hilarious considering that my father had no idea he was a minority until he went to law school), she was always very clear, like, we are not them, they are not us, etc.

a lot of times this came out in conversations about parents, the ann arbor moms who wanted to know what computer program i was using that made me so precocious (my mom: “and i was like, none? i just talked to my kid?”), the prep school college admissions frenzy, her bone-deep horror at the custom of throwing your child out of the house just because they turn eighteen. american parents are barbaric, she’s said over and over, or when i told her she didn’t need to help me buy a workplace wardrobe, it’s what people do, help their kids, only assholes and americans don’t. this is funny because of course her parents are actually barbaric: the reason i don’t speak spanish is because she was so afraid of inheriting her mother’s abusive patterns is that when we moved to michigan she spoke english in the house to force herself to think when she spoke to me.

i think a lot about an eavan boland poem where she talks about speaking with “the forked tongue of colony” and imagines listening to an unbroken irish language: “and i hear it. what i am safe from. what i have lost.” what i am safe from: the violence that led my mother to perceive my father as a safe harbor, and also, you know, not being white. i speak english like any suburban cheerleader. i have a name that actually speaks to some very precise histories of migration (the basque emigration to the caribbean, but even the british part of my name comes from my cailfornia-raised great-grandfather who came over in 1898 to help the united states pretty up their new toy in exchange for citizenship) but doesn’t sound like what americans think latin american names sound like, and skin like rita moreno’s which she had to darken to be “convincing” as a puerto rican in west side story. (i hate that story but i’m glad i know that story. when i think about that story i always hear my mom going, they think we all look like j. lo! and i mean i would love to look like j. lo but we don’t!) what this means is i am safe, even unencumbered, in a way my mother, with an even englisher name and paler skin than mine, and with an accent so light i literally didn’t know she had one until a middle school friend pointed it out, isn’t. (shout out to the professor who expressed surprise to her face, in the middle of class, that my mother, a married hispanic woman, should admire the wife of bath; another story i love to hate.) 

what i have lost: it never seems right to feel it, because i know uncompromised safety is so much. maybe this is another way in which i’m aggressively assimilated, along with drinking gringo coffee and not calling her often enough: it’s my instinct to say, what’s a heritage, what are ancestors, why should these things be worth mourning. is there a more american thought process than this? like that goodreads review of oscar wao that claimed the chapters about his grandfather weighed the story down! i can’t carry on a conversation with my relatives, who cares. i can’t dance (this i think my mother considers her greatest failing as a parent, to have raised a puerto rican daughter who dances like a taylor swift gif on loop), who cares. i can’t—this is the only thing i remember ever crying about to a therapist, when i was twelve, before my father threatened her with legal action and she stopped seeing me—i can’t speak the language i was born with, the language my family, i mean my full family, one time in first grade i had to bring in “a picture of my family” and my mom went crazy tearing through photo albums because she couldn’t find one that wasn’t missing this aunt or that grandparent but of course the teacher meant, you know, my nuclear family, the language they surrounded me with in the three years before we left the island which i sometimes think are the reason i am alive, that i (the first grandchild, and a girl at that!) was so, so loved when i entered the world, passed around and photographed and smiled at, i think maybe that was like a charm or a spell, some kind of fortification against my father’s dark magic, who cares if that’s not a world i have access to anymore! (have i ever told tumblr about how much my mom loves harry potter? my mom loves harry potter so much.)

i haven’t ever in my life encountered negative consequences for being puerto rican so it feels nonsensical to say, wow my experience in higher education sure improved by a metric fuckton once i switched to an institution where most of my professors and classmates weren’t white! but it did. it wasn’t something i felt as a lack but it was a relief also to sit in a class filled with mostly latinxs and say “i mean, i’m not religious, but if my grandmother calls me to tell me she had a dream and i can’t take any cabs tomorrow, i am not going to take a cab,” and be understood, and it was also aggravating to sit in that class filled with mostly latinxs but taught by a white american professor and know that she didn’t understand, could only gesture at how “interesting” it was, the perseverance of certain faiths under the imposition of a new religion. i had dinner a while ago with someone who is half puerto-rican and we talked about being the only members of our puerto rican families who have never communicated with the dead, how we’re resentful but it also makes sense because we’d probably flip our shit. i don’t have it in me to take the appearance of a dead relative in stride. once i thought, death is in this house and i came downstairs and my uncle had died, my father’s brother who said to my mother, why are you marrying him? why would you do that to yourself? once my grandmother channeled her grandfather, i think, who came in to settle a dispute about the potential jewishness of his part of the family, and i watched her mouth give her children and her sister advice on how to deal with her own refusal to admit her impending senility. that’s it though. i don’t know if either of those count.

i told my mom i liked the link about the happiness survey because i did even though it’s hard to imagine a methodology for discerning such a metric i would approve of. i like the spirit of it, of her sending it, that she (having taken over my grandmother’s role as the only way to get her to step down despite her increasing mental fragility) would say of course we are the happiest even as she is always the first to remind me of every depressing statistic. she wrote back: We smile. We hug. We help people out without reservation. We party for no reason. And the place is so beautiful it’s hard to be in a bad mood for too long… i always say i don’t care about natural beauty and it’s not untrue but in december we went up into the mountains to spend the day with friends of hers who were trying to organize a day of community art-making to commemorate the anniversary of the deaths of local revolutionaries at the hands of the united states (i mean, a lot of deaths there are at the hands of the united states, but like, physically). i spent most of the day with their four-year-old son, who had learned from a children’s book they had to pipe up when he heard the word marx with MARX ESTABA MALITO PORQUE ESTABA MOLSTO because you don’t need to speak much spanish to be the evil space-ship which spider-man must take down, but at one point his mother took me around the house, built by the children’s father’s father, decorated with her art. we stood on the balcony watching the sun tint the sky orange over a canopy of trees and she told me, apologizing for her english, switching to spanish after i said i could probably get the gist, about growing up alone in the ugly city, about dropping out near the end of a complit degree, about growing herbs and vegetables and giving them to their friends, about trying to talk to her neighbors and almost never being understood, about how even the private schools don’t have art supplies now and her heart ached for teenagers who had never held a paintbrush. about how glad she was to have met my mother. before she rejoined the party she gave me a long hug in the golden light and for a moment i could see it: what i was safe from. what i had lost.