How are you?

People keep asking me if I’m ok, or how I’m doing. And I honestly don’t know what to say. Do you want my life’s story, or the stressors of my day like the fact that I have a paper due at midnight or that my experiment keeps having issues, or that I’m tired, or an emotional body scan? Half of the time it’s hard to even tell if someone is just greeting you or if they’re actually asking for a life update. Anyway for everyone who keeps bringing up Pittsburgh…

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But, Like Actually, I’m fine. I don’t know if one has an ethical obligation to react, but I’m pretty un-phased. I’ve only grown up knowing that I was part of a group that’s been targeted for the past 2000 years. My own father doesn’t even know how to swim because of the “No Jews” signs at the Baltimore pools in the 1960s. It’s not like I’m a stranger to discrimination, or haven’t known for the majority of my life that in many places it isn’t safe to be Jewish. Sure the USA was supposed to be a safe place, and maybe I believed that growing up, but all of my belief’s in safety and tolerance in the USA vanished in November of 2016 when the nation embraced a President who’s rhetoric endangered Jews, Muslims and pretty much every other minority. And no one give me that shit that Ivanka is Jewish. Or “there’s good people on both sides,” try visiting Auschwitz or Majdanek or the Warsaw ghetto and then tell me that it’s permissible to do anything but outright condemn racist, anti-Semitic, or intolerant rhetoric.

Anyway’s my only reaction to the news, was “Not surprising, it was only a matter of time.” those were my immediate thoughts. Let’s face it, a few years ago a predominantly Black church was gunned down, gun violence is an ever increasing problem in America, and Virginia Tech is no stranger, why would I think it wouldn’t happen to my community? I mean sure we have video cameras and bullet proof glass and lock our doors, because we know we’re targets, but we open the doors for every service and anyone could walk in. It only takes one crazy with a gun. Just this semester the Jewish Community Center in Fairfax VA-known to be one of the most liberal places in the country- was graffiti-ed with swastikas. And last semester the Librescu Chabad Jewish Student Center, named after holocaust survivor and professor Librescu of VT who sacrificed himself for his students on 4.16.07, had leaflets with swastikas placed all over the property overnight. It’s been clear to me since the election that the US is no longer “the safest place in the world to be a Jew, maybe even safer than Israel”. Sad to say, but while I didn’t expect this, I also am not shocked. In fact I’ve had so little of a reaction people are making me feel weird about it by asking me how I am and being weirded out when I don’t realize why they’re even asking so I reply with the usual “good” “fine” “alright”.

I was devastated by 4.16- but I was also an 11 year old girl who wore a Virginia Tech sweatshirt every single day and told everyone that’s where she would go to school. I was young and confused for Sandy Hook, I didn’t understand why someone would hurt children. When I heard about the Charleston Church shooting I was angry at racist white boys not being called terrorists. I was angered by the Pulse shooting that someone would kill so many people and target people who’s only crime was love. I was terrified during Las Vegas, frantically trying to check in on my relatives who live near the strip. I was upset by Marjory Stoneman, and inspired by the student’s reactions. But when I heard about Pittsburgh via an email from my hometown synagogue, I felt nothing other than “Not surprising…I’ll deal with this later” and went back to writing that paper due at midnight. It’s just another mass shooting in America and maybe my apathy is part of the problem, but what will my tears buy me?

Today I’ve gone about my day as normal, except for randomly being asked “How are you?”. When trying to explain my lack of reaction to one of my friends I tried putting it in comparison for her,”its not like we found out a country was trying to ethnically cleanse itself of Jews”. To me this is just another pogrom, another Kristalnacht, another act of violence that barely makes a mark in 2000 years of history- to her it was “earth-shattering”. But to me its just a physical acknowledgement of the reality of being Jewish in this country in 2018. We weren’t safer on Thursday than we were on Shabbat, or we are today on Monday, does it really make a difference that one individual took an action that has been implied by the rhetoric of the past two years?  Sure its upsetting that this nice tolerant place has become intolerant, but this has happened throughout history. It happened in Spain, and Poland and it’s happening right now in the USA, and its not like the USA didn’t have slavery, or No Colored or No Irish or No Italians or No Jews signs that long ago. Again in my dad’s lifetime the US magically became this “post-race” peaceful fictional utopia that everyone who is shocked by this act apparently believed in. Death, violence and corruption are universal truths, its dumb to think that America is the exception, or any country. And maybe my perspective is flawed, but it certainly got me through the my paper. Honestly my biggest concern of the day was if I would make it to my workout on time and turn in my paper. Instead of getting caught up in any thoughts of fear or anger, I’ve kinda just acknowledged that the situation exists. Is there such a thing as too chill?

And I know America has an apathy problem, and that too much “self-care” endangers us by making us un-informed inactive citizens. But whats the point of being informed if you’re not going to be active with that knowledge? I think that, more important than our apathy problem is the fact that our democracy has a problem in that we’ve elected an autocrat and that party leaders are supporting him. I plan to vote on Nov 6th for a candidate that will pass common sense gun laws, but other than advocating for policy change and trying to replace hurtful rhetoric with meaningful conversations I’m not sure what else there is to do.

Maybe this is supposed to be the “wake-up” call to move to Israel or GTFO that 2020 hindsight historical revisionists call Kristalnacht, but for now imma hit the gym, and maybe all those would be lonely white boy domestic terrorists should too.

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I’m sorry white boys, did I victimize you?

-You know you love me. xoxo Ethics Girl

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