I Don’t Know How It Feels To Be U by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Inequality

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1964 – My introduction to civil rights movement came at age 13, summer camp, Jewish and Black teens singing freedom songs, believing in equality for all.

1968 – Democratic Convention taught me to fear the police.

1969 – Militant Black students at college demand and get an Afro-American Studies Department.

Things were getting better. Or were they?

Fred Hampton killed by Chicago police, December 1969. Now we realize police have been killing Black people with impunity for 50+ years.

2021 – Voter suppression, lunatics with guns, people of color are still not safe.

I take a stand against inequality, but it is not my life on the line, it is yours.

 

Things were getting better. Or were they?

 

RetroFlash / 100 words

Profile photo of Suzy Suzy


Characterizations: been there, moving, right on!, well written

Comments

  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Yes, Suzy. I agree and you have summarized it so well in 100 words. It is difficult to “walk a mile in their shoes” when we are not profiled by the color of our skin.

    Watching the George Floyd trial is heartbreaking. If Derek Chauvin is acquitted, I don’t know what I will do; sack cloth and ashes will not do. As I watch the voter suppression laws drama being played out in GA, I think of you, going down to be a poll watcher. I admire your commitment.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    A terric use of RetroFlash, Suzy, with (of course) the perfect song title title for what you express so briefly and yet so well.

    And, like your title, your last line — which I think is not that different from what I am trying to say in the last line of my RetroFlash this week — so well encapsulates what you are saying in your story.

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    A powerful Retroflash, Suzy. We can only imagine and empathize when it comes to the pain inflicted on people of color in America.

  4. Jeff Gerken says:

    Your experience as a teenager was completely different from mine. My dad was a racist, in fact he believed that anyone who was not of German extraction was inferior. Name any ethnicity, he could tell you what their deficiencies were. While I resisted that as a I grew older, it took my time at Harvard to completely erase my prejudices.
    I am reading “The Tyranny of Merit” by Professor Sandel, and it is giving me a lot of things to consider as I compose my own “Inequality” essay.

    • Suzy says:

      Jeff, the Jewish tradition is all about Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and helping the stranger. On Passover we talk about how we were slaves in Egypt (we don’t say our ancestors were slaves, we say WE were slaves), and how we must always be there for others who are slaves or immigrants. I’m sure there are some Jewish racists too, but it is not what we are taught.

  5. Nicely put, Suzy. Andrew Cuomo (before the tarnish) said during his daily COVID briefings a year ago “if it’s anywhere it’s everywhere.” Similarly, until we all are safe no one is safe.

  6. Suzy, this is a beautiful distillation of the deep and authentic experience so many of us share — about what it means to be an ally to those under the gun, figuratively and literally. This flash reflects authentic experience of over half a century filled with pain, love, empathy, and — most important — action in the name of our brothers and sisters all over this land. I know you have been there and will continue to be so with every beat of your heart. Your carefully chosen impressions carry more reality and intent than might be expressed in volumes. And loved the graphic at the end. I learned something there. Thanks for the beauty and the shared life experience!

  7. Brava Suzy, you say it all in a Flash..

  8. Marian says:

    Terrific summary of your thoughts and feelings, along with most of ours, Suzy. Very educational about the song as well.

  9. Khati Hendry says:

    I agree with you Suzy, this is hard to write about, and there is so much to be said. Certainly sometimes less is more, and you captured some key memories perfectly. I understand the sentiment in the last line, but also recognize that despite our current privilege, we are not immune, as immortalized in the famous “first they came for….” So good on everyone who speaks up, even when it is not our neck under knee today.

    • Suzy says:

      Being Jewish, I was brought up to understand that we would be one of the first that “they” came for. So I certainly know I am not immune. But, as Marian’s story so well illustrates, we can often hide our otherness, while others cannot.

  10. When it’s done well, the thing about flash writing is that in choosing just the right words, the ones you leave out are implicit. This is a wonderful example, Suzy. It’s authentic, and as such it speaks volumes.

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