In this large city of ours situated on big spinning ball, inside a vast galaxy, and even larger universe. We sometimes tend to leap out into the unkown embracing and fearing life on other planets, when we can not embrace life or learn not to fear life on our own planet. We as a society have formed our own barriers when those placed upon us have been removed. We rarely see mixed neighborhoods outside of large cities. Even in our own borough we can see this; for example Borough Park is mostly Religious Jews, the area surrounding Brooklyn College is mostly black , and Gerritsen Beach is mostly Italian.
When someone who doesn’t belong in a community invades that community, that community then will fear and reject the invaders. The community is like the indiginous people of an island, when the island recieves its first visiter from the outside, the indiginous people fear the visiter and fear the change they may bring.
My family was the first Russian family to move to an all Italian neighborhood, I was told to go back to where i cam from “damn rooskies”, the children used to yell and taunt my sisters and myself. They would scream go back to Russia eventhough we had never been there. But soon I made freinds with a local girl who accepted me for me, not for being Russian, but for being Diana. My parent’s didn’t want me to get involved with the wrong kids and they also feared my friendship with people of different backgrounds. But our families began to talk and then we went over to each others houses for dinner and pretty soon, we were having block parties and backyard BBQ’s.
We weren;t Russian anymore, and they weren’t Italian we had met somewhere in the middle. My mom now makes an amazing lasagna and the Laura’s mom (the girl I befriended) makes a great Chicken Kiev. We didn’t belong to any one class, our neighborhood was no longer Italian and it didn’t become Russian it just was. It was just a neighborhood, no classification, just a middle class neighborhood, it was gray.
Gray is that color inbetween black and white, its not black, and its not white, its just in the middle. If you think about there are a lot of colors like that; take pink for example its a mix between red and white, its not red and its not ehite, its just in the middle its just pink. Thats how we should think of people not as Russian, Italian, Black, or Asian. We should see people for who they are and not for what they are. But I have come to understand that being not prejudice involves being prejudice in the first place. Our gov’t tried very hard to erase the “hate” by affirmative action and so on. But how can they erase prejudice if they force it on people, any form has check your ethnicity in the proper box, mark only one! What happenes if you are more than one, which one box do you choose? Are you a Black Asian or an Asian Black. You have to classify yourself, therefore labeling yourself one and not the other.
In class we were asked by one student whether we were Jewish Americans or American Jews. No one person really had an answer. If there was a war between Israel and America what side would we fight for? Would it be for a reasonable cause that we chose a certain side or is that we labeled ourselves and had no choice afterall. We had to fight for one side because the other was no longer an option.
In summation I think it is not possible to be “gray” on a national level, just on a local level. Because sooner or later you will have to choose what you are and what other people are will come into play whether we like it or not. We as American’s are a united country but we as Jewish American’s are a separate unite from that of Palestinian American’s, Nazi American’s , or any other type of American’s opposses to Jews or just those Americans who don’t understand us.