Heritage of oppressed groups
An 82 year old daughter of a WW1 soldier has finally won the Medal of Honor he should have received. She discovered that he and other men of the Jewish Faith weren’t eligible for this Medal. This has led to looking for other Jewish men overlooked because of their religion.
This revelation surprised me as have been aware of Blacks, Japanese Mexicans, Homosexuals, Jews and now Muslims who weren’t and presently not “Endowed with unalienable rights; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” but wasn’t aware of these policies in WW1.
I’ve witnessed our judgment of different groups of people by the actions of a few for many years, which is the reason for my qualms about organized religion. This paragraph will generate a lot of disagreement so will proceed to my original intent to discuss racism during the years of WW11.
Eleanor Roosevelt was the Martin Luther King of that era. While London was being bombed and the Jews were being persecuted in Germany she fought to bring the refugee children here. The head of the quota system was a Southerner Breckenridge Long who was against admitting Jews, Catholics, Liberals or anyone except people like him. She won her fight to bring over British children as they were Christians, but lost her endeavor to admit Jewish children.
The President and Churchill had little concern over the Jews. Christians in Europe and this country had contempt for Jews. In many Christian countries, it led to civil and political discrimination against Jews, legal disabilities, and in some instances physical attacks which occasionally ended in expulsion, and even death. Most bishops and Cardinals were Nazi sympathizers as were Bishop Wilhelm Berning of Osnabruck and Archbishop Grober of Freiburg.
The Blacks were in the same bed. Eleanor fought for racial equality in the armed services. When they were finally allowed in the Navy they were segregated and served as waiters and servants to the whites. They suffered the same fate in the Army until needed in combat, but were segregated until Truman’s Presidency. She also fought to repeal the anti-lynching law, but the President couldn’t support the repeal as to get legislation passed he needed the support of the Southern dominated congress. Even the defense industries refused to hire blacks until in 1940 a young leader of the NAACP, Phillip Randolph, threatened a 100,000 march on Washington. Roosevelt was afraid of the effect on his election, so passed The Fair Employment Act.
There has been some improvement that American’s need to clear their conscience in this area. We have finally admitted that Gays in the military have equal rights and won’t infect the straights, but people have reservations about this change.
Jews now days have an advantage over people of color as they blend in with the whites. Katrina brought poor blacks out of the shadows, but they were soon forgotten. Even the few who have benefited from the Civil Rights Act always have race on their mind. A successful black’s remark about being black was, “Being black in America is like being forced to wear ill fitting shoes. Some people adjust to it. It’s always uncomfortable on your feet, but you’ve got to wear it as it’s the only shoes you’ve got.
I spent ten years working in the projects and found that racism is a two way street. I was welcome in their neighborhood until the assassination of Martin Luther King and then became a white enemy. I can understand their anger and would have reacted the same if I had been living under these conditions.
I wonder if our two leading candidates have ever met or touched a poor black person they have insulted and are not interested in their situation in life.
Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know. Eric Hoffer