‘Black Lives Matter’ – what’s that about? Of course, they matter. Why do we even have to say this? How sad that this is still an issue. I feel that I have been fighting racism since I was 16. It is an anathema to me and one I find difficult to comprehend.
“Mum you are either a racist or not – there is not any in between NOW,” said one of my sons discussing the killing of George Floyd. Not surprising that the boys are highly charged by the situation. They have been brought up by parents who have instilled in them the importance of fighting racism and confronting it whenever or wherever they came across it. As a Jew I know only too well what can happen. But I think there is a difference between anti-Semitism and racism – which is not belittling anti-Semitism. Jews are seen as a threat and Blacks or people of colour are viewed by racists as being subhuman – simians.
Conversations continued with the boys. Another son is currently having a hard time with someone he believes is a racist. “I don’t think I want to see this person again,” he said yesterday on his way to the demo in central London. “In fact, I think I want to write a letter to tell them how I feel.” I counselled against this. Writing hot emails is never a good thing. Abraham Lincoln had a ritual when he was angry with someone, he would write a letter to the person put in it all his emotions and then he would put the hot letter to one side. Apparently, Obama did the same thing. Boy would I have liked to see the contents of Obama’s wastepaper bin. Interesting when Tod was dying and he wanted to address stuff with his elderly mother, the therapist also advised that he should write his mother a letter – but not send it.
I actually don’t believe this person is a racist just a bit of a hot head. Is there a difference? yes. Although my son will say you are either one or the other – there is no grey area anymore. So how do you change racists? I have no idea. Is it learnt behaviour? Is it endemic passed down through the generations , is it ignorance, fear, low intellect – yes probably and other stuff as well. How many Brits agreed with Enoch Powell’s speech Rivers of Blood in 1968? It is not helped in America by a leader who displays racist behaviour and is incapable of leading. What message is that to the rest of the population.
Historian and political commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin said that emotional intelligence is more important in a leader than is IQ – obviously it would be good if they had both like Obama but just as important is being able to exercise self-discipline. “All of us feel a normal human emotion of anger or jealousy or envy but if you allow these emotions to fester, they can become poisonous,” says Abraham Lincoln. Need I say more
Teddy Roosevelt, who admittedly had many flaws, but I liked the way that he dressed up as a police commissioner and went onto the streets to see whether the police were doing their jobs properly. Well that would be a start.
I realise today’s post is turning into a political rant, but I do feel I can’t just ignore what is happening around me without comment.
Tomorrow would have been an auspicious celebratory day for our family Jake and Pippa’s wedding in glorious Cornwall. Needless to say, it is not going to happen. The only saving grace is that bad weather is predicted for the entire weekend. Thankfully being a last-minute kind of person, I had not bought my outfit although I had looked at some shops and nearly bought a hat!
Dressing as mother of the Groom carries a certain amount of responsibility and sensitivity. The old joke is that the mother of the groom is supposed to fade into the background at the wedding. Well that wasn’t going to happen. I am not the fading kind of person. But I am sensitive. So, I knew that I should ensure that my dress didn’t clash with Penny, (mother of the Bride) or Pippa, or the bridesmaids, that I am not showing too much flesh and I embarrass my son, (learnt this when I showed too much cleaverage at Jake’s Barmitzvah.) and that I look suitably lovely but not over glamorous.
Penny and I had been asked to take the ceremony. Such an honour and it was an event I was so looking forward to. After the initial wedding invite ‘discussion’ (!) we had guests coming from around the Globe, flights booked, hotels booked, florists and photographers and caterers secured, musicians booked etc etc. Jake had even asked a carpenter friend if he could make a Chuppah – as he wanted to honour the Jewish tradition and get married under it. The phrase “should have gone to wedding insurers” comes to mind but who 9 months ago who would have predicted the tsunami that was to hit all of our lives.
Both Jake and Pippa are such troupers despite the planning and excitement they are pragmatic and just want now to take control of their lives. I am very proud of both of them.
So, today’s blog is not a bundle of laughs and tomorrow is another day.
“Let’s be careful out there”