Thinking Waaay Ahead

My uncle spent six years trying to leave the Soviet Union. He lived in Moscow where nobody thought of him a Russian. He (and everyone in his family) were Jews, and still are.

Now his daughter’s kids go to a public school here in California. It’s a model public school, meaning, among other things, it’s uber P.C.

My mom tells me that one day his granddaughter returned home and declared: “I’m Russian!” Apparently in their oh-so-noble effort to create mock United Nations in the classroom, elementary school took it upon itself to assign ethnic identities to kids. I asked my mom what my cousin did, because I knew that my cousin, like many other Jewish kids, had particularly unpleasant experiences with anti-Semitism. My mom said she doesn’t know. “What would you say? – She replied.” As it happens I didn’t have an answer at the time. “First of all, I would tell her that she’s an American, — I said.” But that of course, wouldn’t be a satisfactory answer.

Now I think I would tell her “If you were a Russian, you’d hear about it from me, not from your teachers.” Then I would explain to the seven-year-old why we left the Former Soviet Union. Finally I would go to school, and tell them to quit telling my kids who they are on the basis of uneducated guesses.

It’s really nice that people can come to the United States and leave the storms of the Old World behind. It’s heart-warming that an average American educator doesn’t draw a difference between a Russian and a Jew. Lets keep it that way, only even more so. Lets not encourage our kids to think of themselves as Russian, Chinese or Indian. Lets teach them to be American. They should take pride in our dynamic spirit, our Constitution, our remarkable achievements at home and abroad. Your average American educator with her average hippy streak does not understand the intensity of tribal affiliations in the Old World. To her national or religious identity is about exotic costume and exotic food: all would be swell in this world if not for the darn rednecks screwing it for everyone. She should stay out of encouraging passions she doesn’t comprehend. In the name of world peace, and especially for the benefit of her own country.

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April 17, 2007. Breedosaurus, Random thoughts.

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