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Monday, January 2, 2012

Tracing My Roots...How Important is It?

By Linda Mains

I'm laughing my ass off at a documentary right now...called Bowling Columbine, because they ran a cartoon that said; the white people were to lazy to do any of the work in America, so they went to Africa and kidnapped thousands of Africans. That's a sick and funny twist, on the subject of race and hate.

Now there are issues, that I've been told are to explosive to talk about, and those are race, religion, and politics...but Thank God, I'm not scared to talk about any of these, hot topic subjects. When I was young, all I wanted was to be beautiful, although, I didn't really think it threw back then. I've noticed that beautiful people, really are not taken seriously in our society. With the assumption that if you are beautiful, that you are either stupid, or someone that is a slut, whore, or someone that can be easily taken advantage of. Now being beautiful is almost some kind of a success-suicide in getting a job. Beauty will either lead to a lot of harassment if your a woman, and a lot of jealousy if you're a man. Being beautiful is great, when you're looking to get laid, but for all other instances, in today's business world...I really believe it is considered a negative. So if you are drop dead gorgeous, getting a serious job, will be 10 times harder for you, then say for someone with so-so looks.

As if the job market wasn't hard enough, I've also noticed in America that many whom are looking for work, have to be of a race that the employer can identify with. Lets say you don't fit in any category? Lets say, you are really odd-looking, and don't fit socially in any category out there. I believe that that fact, will also make it harder for you, to find and keep a job. In America, we claim not to be racist, but race and a persons looks, dominates, almost every aspect of our everyday lives. Why? I'm one of those people, that really doesn't fit in any category, and I have only met one other person, in my entire life, that was somewhat like me, in regards to race. So what am I, you're asking, I'm a half Costa Rican and half Austrian Jew. The only problem with being half Austrian Jew is, that they where all killed by the S.S in Austria during World War II. There is no category for me, because, I don't even know what it is to be an Austrian Jew, because, they where whipped off the face of the planet. So I have no cultural-ties to my's not like being related to an African slave, because, those relatives could still trace their roots back to their African homeland. My roots have been whipped off the face of the planet!

I have many questions about being Jewish or Yeddish, but no one to ask about Grandmother is the only tie to the Yiddish Austrian Jews that I have left in California, but she was so frightened by what had happened to a hundred of her relatives, that she never really spoke of it. Relatives which her mother was helpless to save, because, they had just gotten over the Great Depression, and were struggling to make ends meet. So one half of me, has been lost in the sands of time...I will never know how great, or what great things, one half of myself is related too. I don't even have a cemetery to go to, my relatives, simply don't exist anywhere anymore. Yes, I've thought about becoming Jewish, just to figure it out...but, I really don't want to get caught up in all of that religion, just to find out about myself.

I don't want to learn about the victims, I know about them. I want to find out about what the people where like, you know, I want to know about there culture. I know I can't be the only one, who is struggling with this loss of custom and culture. I'm sure there are thousands of others out there just like me, that would like to know about the German Yiddish Jewish culture, that the Nazis whipped out...which I believe, is actually the worst thing that the Nazis did. What do you do, when you want to know where you came from, but it doesn't exist any more?

I am the 3rd generation of Jewish people to be born to a family that has lost 100 relatives in the mass murders perpetrated by the Nazis. So really when I'm asked what race I am, I really have a hard time answering that question. What race am I? I really don't have a clue...I feel American, but there is something deeper about me, then just being American. It's almost like I am being led by powers greater then myself, to find out about what I am. I've ran from this realization for years, due to the fear of being related to so many victims. I never wanted to associate myself with victims...because unfortunately, when I was younger, I believed victims to be weak, and I would become very angry, because, I believed that they should of fought back. I never said it was right, later, I found out, that there was nothing that those poor individuals could have done. I know that now, it's taken me years to come to terms with all of this.

So what makes us it our culture or is it our race? How important is culture in America...and how many of us still have it? I've been to Costa Rica, I loved it, but if I went to Germany, it would be like going to a waste land of a people that once where. Kind of what I would expect with how the ancients viewed Bombay...when all those people where covered with ash, whom then disappeared once the volcano erupted, they where whipped off the face of the planet. What happened to one half of my culture goes beyond tragic or disastrous! There are whole generations of people who have no idea what it is to be a Yiddish German  Jewish person...because of fear, or just because they lost contact with what was once considered their people, or their people simply don't exist anymore. My boyfriend walked by a candle holder for Hanukkah, and I simply had no idea what it was called. He said isn't that what your people used? Part of me wanted to say; "I don't know what my people used they're all dead!" I sometimes feel like a lost soul, because, I am detached from a whole half of myself. I would actually love to meet those people; there's only one problem, the Nazis took that right away from me.

Racism doesn't just affect one generation, it affects all of the generations, because if you lose contact with your roots or your culture, then you lose a whole part of yourself. There are things that can never be made half of me realizes this. The half that has no way of getting in touch with its self. I like many other Yiddish relatives whom won't ever be able to go back to trace there roots and culture realize this. To me that is the worst part about racism, which led to the Nazi hatred of the Jewish race, because they thought that my people where an inferior race. I don't feel inferior to anybody, and I make no apologies, for feeling that way!

So in the end...many people along with me, whom have victims that where killed because of racism; will in the end forever ponder who they are. It's as if my people were erased off the face of the planet, and once that happens, you can't ever go back and visit, to know about who you are...or where you came from. Would I love to know what and where I came from, sure I would! Will I ever find it? I won't find any answers left in this world. Maybe I will find them in the next? I believe that the answers are waiting for me in Heaven, along with all my murdered relatives. I know that eventually, I will be reunited with my lost relatives, and find out what kind of people they where.

If you asked me; what is the worst thing that could befall on another person? I really believe that the worst thing that could ever befall upon another person is the lose of self. I never really knew myself, a reality forced on me by a group of criminals and madmen, who thought that my relatives where racially inferior to them. I really don't like racists or anyone whom agrees with the Nazi agenda, I believe everybody, weather beautiful or not, black, white, Spanish, or Asian...have the right to exist! A right that's given by God, which no human being has the right to take away! Hopefully no one else in this generation or the next, has to become a future relative of Genocide, because of racial hatred. People should be allowed to work, love, and worship, or just simply left to be, so they can live their lives. No one should be singled out because of their looks, their race, their sexuality or because of their religion or for any other reason for that matter. For our society to grow and thrive, we have to move past these antiquated believe systems of hatred and racial inferiority towards other races. Everyone for generations to come, should be allowed to have a culture that they can trace back too...not being able to trace yourself threw your roots, is a horrible feeling, that no one else should ever have to face.  

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