Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Hate Crimes’

Some people go to church on Sunday.

Some fry wings and watch college basketball, and some bundle up for a hike in the woods while their kids are in Hebrew School. Yesterday our whole family, armed with cleaning products, walked over to a neighbor’s newly built house to erase the black spray-painted hateful messages they found on the white brick siding. It was reassuring to see so many people coming to help, to see the police presence along with a few news outlets.

“A search is underway for two individuals who spray-painted swastikas and hateful messages onto five homes in Sylvan Park. Metro Police released Ring doorbell footage on Twitter from one of the residences where the individuals can be seen spray-painting the messages on Sunday. Police say the incident took place early Sunday morning.”

https://www.newschannel5.com/news/suspects-sought-after-spray-painting-swastikas-and-hate-messages-onto-five-homes-in-sylvan-park

My immediate reaction was to stay home.

I thought Nashville had turned its back on winter, but there had been a frost. Searching for a puffy jacket seemed useless. Moreover, I felt useless and demoralized. I’d done my fair share of picketing and organizing, and yet tonight TN will again pass THE MOST EGREGIOUS ABORTION BAN in the whole country.

What good would come from a nana who was just learning how to walk again without pain? My second immediate reaction was to bake something. Baking always helps; it helps me and it helps the recipient. But there was no time. The Bride and Bug would be stopping by to walk with us, and the Groom would join us as soon as the Pumpkin’s’s soccer game was over. Bob started packing the mineral spirits and sponges…

On Saturday we strolled around the local Farmer’s Market. Yes it was cold, but I remembered Margaret Renkl imploring us not to buy grocery store flowers. So I stood in a long line for tulips. There were not many left, but after picking out my colors – deep dark magenta, pink and white – the young man behind me said, “You’re a very smart shopper.” I thanked him for the compliment and said I was always an “outlier.” But he wasn’t referring to my choice of colors, he meant I’d picked only flowers still in bud!

To think how happy I was that day; petting dogs in the sun and picking out French radishes only 24 hours before five homes in my neighborhood were vandalized. On Sunday I thought this must be a bit how it feels when African Americans see a Confederate flag or a Confederate general on horseback adorning the state capitol grounds. I felt hunted.

It’s not as if I’d never seen a swastika before, but it was always within its historical context – a documentary about the Holocaust, a book by Elie Weisel. I’d never stood witness to this hateful symbol IRL, in real life, only in two dimensional film or paper. Anti-semitism to me has always been a remnant of our collective past, after all Shakespeare wrote about it. Still, every year the ACLU sees an increasing number of crimes committed against Jews.

Hate crimes in general have been increasing in numbers across the country. But ever since Mr T was elected, his followers have felt free to say aloud what had previously remained silent. In 2021, the FBI reported 7,759 incidents. The problem is, one can’t assume that every police department reports its hate crimes to the FBI.

“The numbers released this week represent the hate crimes reported to the FBI last year by 15,136 law enforcement agencies across the country. Some experts¬†say the true number of hate crimes is likely higher, since not every crime is reported to law enforcement, not every agency reports its data to the FBI and many agencies report no incidents.”While these numbers are disturbing on their own, the fact that so many law enforcement agencies did not participate is inexcusable.”

https://www.npr.org/2021/08/31/1032932257/hate-crimes-reach-the-highest-level-in-more-than-a-decade

Of course, I went with my clean-up crew. I met the owners of the new house, an architect named Oscar and his wife and two small children. They had just moved in three weeks ago, and he designed their home. Yes, Oscar drew the plans for their forever home. I felt like crying on his sidewalk. People kept coming to help, all in all maybe a hundred neighbors stopped by to erase hate. I made a poster, “LOVE WINS” and met a beautiful black lab named Olive.

I saw footage of my daughter last night on the local news, one of many washing off Oscar’s home, which happens to sit next to a church parking lot. Watching my Grands scrubbing that wall felt bone-crushingly sad. Didn’t I deal with my children being harassed enough because they are Jewish? The swastika drawn into the condensation on a school bus window. The swastika drawn in a notebook.

I try not to be cynical. Today, I will be grateful for the tribe of helpers that showed up with buckets and power washers… and for my tulips which are just starting to open.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: