Category Archives: Thoughts On….

Thoughts On the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre

Hate is powerful. It turns us away from the humanity of our fellow mortals and only shows us the negative stereotypes we want to see.

This past weekend was the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. It is one of the worst episodes of racial violence in American history. The Greenwood District of Tulsa, in Oklahoma was known locally as Black Wall Street. Outside of the Greenwood District, the residents knew that they would be treated as second class citizens. But inside of the district was another story. It was a vibrant and thriving community that disproved the racist ideas about African-Americans. Unfortunately, some Caucasian members of the community had their minds blown by this success and used the accusation (which has not been verified) that a black man attacked a white teenage girl.

By the time the dust settled, hundreds were dead and the neighborhood looked like a war zone. To make matters worse, it was not spoken of until recently. In light of the fact that this disgusting event has been buried, both WNYC and CNN told the story of the destruction. The new six part podcast, Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, and TV movie, Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street, told the compelling and heartbreaking story of those horrific days. I highly recommend both.

This was a pogrom. The actors and the location have changed, but the reason (if you want to call it that) and the results were the same. I wish that it had not taken a century for this country to remember and honor the memories of those who were killed. But it has. The only thing we can do is talk about it and educate our children so this never happens again.

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Thoughts On the Anniversary of George Floyd’s Death

It is amazing how a year can change us or the world as we know it to be.

One year ago today, George Floyd‘s life was taken by Derek Chauvin. Floyd could have been just another number, another causality of the police brutality against Americans of color. Instead, he became an icon and a match that would light the fire of protest against prejudice and hatred for people across the country and the world.

I wish that it did not have to be this way. Mr. Floyd did not have to die that day. But because he was a black man in America, Chauvin decided that he was both judge and juror.

May the memory of George Floyd forever be a blessing and a reminder of how powerful and pervasive racism can be.

Z”l.

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Thoughts on Jewish American Heritage Month

The best way to combat prejudice and hatred is education and knowledge.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month (JAMH). Given the recent and scary rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes following the latest skirmish in the Middle East, perhaps this month will open the door to conversations and create opportunity for further co-existence.

My family has been in this country for over a century. I am proud of what I can say that those I love have accomplished and what my fellow American Jews have given to this nation. We are only 2% of the population, but what we have done is much more than what the census says.

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Takeaways from the State of the Union

The State of the Union tells us everything we need to know about the President.

Last night was President Biden‘s first State of the Union.

First of all, the fact that there were two women sitting behind him is nothing short of awesome.

If there was one word to describe the speech, it is ambitious. Some might say a little too ambitious, given what Covid-19 has done to us, the only way out maybe to go big or go home. Will it require compromise from both sides of the aisle? Absolutely. Will it be easy? To call the process difficult is an understatement. As corny as it sounds, the path back to some sort of normalcy is working together.

After the President spoke, Senator Tim Scott spoke for the Republicans. If their plan was to use Senator Scott to show how how diverse they are, it fell flat on their face.

The fact that they claimed that Biden and the Democrats are responsible for the political and cultural division in the country is pure bullshit. The cherry on top was the idea that racism is dead in the United States. I have two words for him: Derek Chauvin.

After 4 years of you know who, Biden is a breath of fresh air. Though the work ahead of him and his administration is far from easy, I am confident that America’s future is bright in their hands.

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Thoughts On the West Side Story Trailer

Among the thousands of stories that have been written throughout humanity’s history, there is a reason that some have come down through the generations while others have been forgotten. Romeo and Juliet is one of these tales.

On Sunday, the trailer for the West Side Story reboot was released.

I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but this trailer is just what I need to entice me to see the movie when it comes out in December. The colors are bright and inviting. Director Steven Spielberg was wise enough to honor the original 1961 film via some of the visual aspects and hire Rita Moreno, who played Anita. Moreno singing “Somewhere” in the trailer is the perfect link between both adaptations.

If nothing else, the release of West Side Story is timely. Given what is going on in our country and our world these days, we need a reminder that love is possible, if we are willing to do the work.

West Side Story will be in theaters December 10th, 2021.

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Thoughts On Yom HaShoah 2021 and the Escalating Attacks on the AAPI Community

The Holocaust did not start with ghettos, gas chambers, and concentration camps. That was the end of the process. The beginning started with prejudice, lies and dehumanization. Today is Yom HaShoah.

It’s not exactly a secret that the AAPI community has been the target of numerous hate crimes as of late. The difference between the early days World War II and now is that there is hope that we can learn from the past.

During the war, as countries around the world closed their borders, there was one nation that opened her arms to Jewish refugees: China. Though the Shanghai Ghetto was dirty and overcrowded, it saved the lives of those who made it their new home. The documentary, Harbor from the Holocaust, told the story of the Jews who lived there.

It is during times of trouble that our actions reveal our true characters. The Chinese people and her government, only saw that fellow human beings were in trouble. In spite of their own troubles, they opened their collective doors to strangers.

The truth is that we can live with our neighbors who are different. It just takes a heart, a brain, and the want to see past the stereotypes.

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Thoughts On the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Interview

The fairy tale books we are read to when we are young present images of royal perfection. Though the characters exist within this world have problems, those issues are resolved by the time the story ends. But that is fiction. But, as we all now, real life is not as simple.

Last night, the interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aired on CBS. Sitting down with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex explored issues relating to their marriage, mental health, the overwhelmingly negative and racist press coverage, and the decision to step back from the Queen’s inner circle.

The overwhelming message I got is that the family, known as “the firm” is an institution that is more concerned with the external image than the well-being of individual members. The treatment of Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, contains more than enough evidence of that fact. The thing about intuitions is that while tradition is all well and good, one must roll with the times. Just because something was rolled under the rug two or three generations ago does not mean that rolling it under the rug now is going to make it any easier to deal with.

I appreciated both Meghan and Harry’s honesty. It must have been cathartic to get all of that off of their chest, especially in front of an international audience. I also appreciate that instead of being a tabloid-ish tell-all, there were some boundaries. Harry could have easily revealed who made the awful comment about his son’s potential complexion. Instead, he chose to keep that information private.

I have nothing but admiration for the both of them. The problem with a toxic environment is that it is often too familiar. It takes a lot of courage to step into the unknown and even more courage to emotionally move on from what is keeping us from living a full and happy life.

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Thoughts On the Parkland Shooting, Three Years Later

Our high school years are supposed to be our formative years, both inside and outside of the classroom. These are the years we experience many firsts that will impact the rest of our lives.

Three years ago, the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, were robbed of those experiences.

Though we cannot go back, we can move forward. We can and should enact national gun laws to keep firearms out of the hands of potential criminals. Those with mental health issues should be treated as those with physical health issues.

May the memories of those killed that day forever be a blessing. Z”l.

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Thoughts On Joss Whedon and the Toxic Workplace Accusation

I don’t know about anyone else, but one of the things I have learned in my professional life is that one’s relationship with their boss can make or break how you feel about your job.

Last week, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel star Charisma Carpenter accused the show’s creator and showrunner Joss Whedon of creating a toxic workplace.

Since the news broke, her BVTS and Angel costars have banded together, supporting Carpenter and stepping back from the man who helped to build their careers.

Some people think that just because they are an artistic genius or at the top of their professional field, they can treat their staff like shit. But, the reality is that a television show or any product is rarely created by one person. It takes a team, and if there is negative energy coming from the top, it will quickly engulf everyone invovled.

The sad irony is that both BVTS and Angel brought strong female characters to the forefront of pop culture. Instead of elevating the women who worked for him, he treated them like the monsters of the week treated the characters.

I used to respect Joss. His work as a writer and creator is undeniable. But that is never an excuse for thinking that you can treat another person like they are dirt on the bottom of your shoe.

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Filed under Feminism, Television, Thoughts On...., Writing

Thoughts on International Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

Democracy, as Americans have recently learned the hard way, is not guaranteed or promised. It must be cherished, protected, and stood up for when necessary. The same could be said for human rights.

Today is International Holocaust Memorial Day. Some may say that we no longer need this day of remembrance, it so far in the past that we can move on. The hard and sad truth is that we cannot move on. Eighty years after the end of World War II, anti-Semitism (and prejudice is general) is as alive and well now as it was then.

Back in the summer of 2019, I went to the Auschwitz museum in New York City. If there is one message that is clear, it is that both the perpetrators and victims were normal people, as normal as you and I.

I recently finished watching the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. It takes place in the fictional Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian patriarchy in which women are second class citizens and non-conformists are enslaved or killed. Though it could be called dystopian science fiction novel, the truth is that this world is closer to our reality than we think it is. The riot in Washington D.C. three weeks ago was a cold slap in the face and a harsh reminder of that truth.

The only way to prevent another Holocaust of any group of people is education, respecting diversity, and remembering the past.

May the memory of those who were murdered because of who they were (my own relatives included) forever be a blessing.

Z”L.

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