Today at work (as a sailing instructor) was the usual day: no wind, kids swimming, and me driving aimlessly in a motorboat. However, today i was accompanied by the yacht club's Israeli windsurfing instructor. We talked a lot about Israel and Jewishness, but eventually the topic changed to race. He asked how big of a deal it is to say "Nigger" in America. As I continued to engage him in conversation regarding the issue of racism I quickly found out that he knew nothing of America's dark past (and present) regarding the descendants if those whose ancestors were brought here as slaves. I found myself teaching about sit ins, segregation, Rosa Parks (who he brought up thinking it had something to do with a grandma in a taxi). I described how Blacks were treated, using Jackie Robinson as an example of integration (but then using the fact that he wasn't allowed to go out to dinner with his team as illustration of America's backwardness). I realized that he had grown up, not here, but in Israel; but it seemed so bizarre to me that such things were not taught at all. He was completely oblivious too of the rampant anti-Semitism in America as well. I found myself teaching of the WASP order that dictated so much of life in America for so long, and I used Borat as an example of its continued presence today. He was very surprised to hear such things. I, too, was very surprised to see a kid (17) that didn't look foreign and spoke English to be as oblivious as he was.
The entire experience gave me a new perspective on country's other than America, and got me thinking that the American Experiment with regard to its disastrous history (and present) with race and ethnic relations should be something that is taught all over the world. I feel that my country's mistakes should be learned from in other places around the world. In many ways America's disasters have more international educational value than many of its achievements (i.e. the revolution, planes, and other shit that probably gets a nod in international curriculums). In the spectrum of World History, race in America should be covered more than anything else in American history (with the exception of WWII).
the only easy day was yesterday
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