Give me your tired, your poor…
We’ve left the ways that you can respond to our prompt oblique, and we have received everything from personal memories of childhood, poetry, confrontations in later years, fiction, and now here is a blend of recollection and editorial opinion by Jan Kalish. Please consider entering this conversation yourself, by leaving comments for each author, and by submitting your own story or response to our prompt. Contest details are on our home page.
The Superior Race?
by Jan Kalish
Somehow, Caucasians got the idea that they are the superior race, and in this country it has become extremely obvious to many of the “Christians,” that they are the chosen ones, especially now. Whites, and in particular, many rich men believe themselves superior to everyone else and can treat them anyway they want.
Before World War II, my father grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, to a poor Jewish family. He worked on Wall Street when it crashed, and survived the Great Depression, when families were kicked out of their homes with all their furniture out on the sidewalk, selling apples on the corner to make ends meet.
World War II started, and when it became known what the Germans were doing to the Jews, my father immediately joined up. He wanted to kill Nazis. His high IQ put him with the intelligence staff.
Around this time, some German Jews somehow managed to book a ship to take them out of danger. But they were turned away by Great Britain, Canada, and most notably, the U.S. They were forced to return to Germany where the Nazis met their ship and immediately transported them to Auschwitz to be exterminated. What happened to our “Give me your tired, your poor. etc?”
My father’s was the fourth boat to land at Omaha Beach, D-Day, and the horrors of that day haunted him all his life. When they had the 50th anniversary of D-Day, he had nightmares every night and would break down crying.
My father met my mother in London, and they fell deeply in love. They got married, and he sent her to NYC to escape the continuous bombings of London. It was a treacherous passage in U-Boat territory, but she safely made it to Lady Liberty, and to her new in-laws.
After we won the war in the European Theater, my father returned home to New York. They got settled, and my father went out looking for jobs. He interviewed brilliantly, and would then go on second and third interviews, at which time each employer told him the job was his but for one formality. “What kind of name is Kalish?” they would ask. Without skipping a beat he replied, “If you are asking if I’m Jewish, I am.” “No. no,” they’d tell him, “that’s no problem.” But coincidentally, the job that was supposed to be his wasn’t. This happened time after time for many months. Eventually, he did find employment but was always harassed because he was a “Jew,” a “Kike,” etc. This caused him and my mother so much pain.
This is just one example of how destructive the racism, sexism, and religious intolerance this “great?” country of ours is. From the time we exterminated almost all the native Americans, violently kidnapped slaves, sexually harassed women and gays, and persecuted immigrants, we ceased being great.
There are no superior races. There are good, compassionate, highly aware people, there is the opposite, and everything in between.