What Charlottesville Taught Jewish Children

In Anti Semitism, Education, Racism On

I can’t tell you how much pride I took in that moment, the same syrupy pride I take when sitting on a subway car where no two faces, no two histories, seem alike, and feeling nothing but minding-our-own-business good will I felt the same watching all our children in the park, knowing that they must recognize difference but see nothing in it to fear. How great it must be, I thought, to grow up in that America, a place still flawed but striving to do better.

I understood that, in my 40s, I was already part of history. That certain things I knew didn’t need to be known anymore.

And yet, in seven months of this presidency, in one single day in Charlottesville, Va., all of that is lost. A generation, and so much more, stolen away. There is the trauma of those assaulted by Nazis on American soil and the tragedy that is Heather Heyer’s murder that belongs to her and her family alone. And then there is what all the rest of us share — the pain and violence and the lessons we draw from them. Because the children who witness a day like that, and a president like this, will not forget the fear and disrespect tailored to the black child, the Muslim child, the Jewish child.

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