What I knew. What I know.

What I thought as a kid:

  1. “Americans” fought the mean Indians.  “We” won and then afterwards we all got together, shared the harvest and had a great Turkey dinner.  Then we lived in peace and harmony.
  2. Jews killed Jesus and collected big taxes on everything.
  3. In order to enter Heaven, one had to follow the life of Jesus.
  4. I didn’t know anything about Muslims. At some point, I learned that Muslim women cover their heads.
  5. Walls separated Germany. Walls separated China.  Walls separated Korea.  Walls are bad.
  6. Women were equal to men in everything.
  7. Daddy wasn’t home for Christmas Eve because Santa couldn’t carry all of the toys for our big family and others in his sleigh, so Santa asked Daddy to bring the big truck and help him.
  8. It was cool to be half-German (although I had to put up with a lot of jokes).
  9. Being half-Black was hard.
  10. All men are created equal.
  11. I can be anything I want to be. I can be President.

What I know now:

  1. “Invaders” fought the Native Americans, stole their land, and then made up this great story about the big dinner.  The invaders still like to eat Turkey dinners.
  2. People killed Jesus. People collect taxes.  Jews are just like everyone else, there are good and bad.  I am lucky to have many Jewish friends who have taught me so much.  Some of these friends are the most generous and kind people I have ever met.  So are many of my non-Jewish friends.
  3. If there is a Heaven, following the life of Jesus is a great idea. However, Jesus was not a Christian, he was a Jew.  Mohammed was not a Muslim and he very closely lived the life that Jesus preached.  If there is a Heaven, one should be a good person if they want to enter those pearly gates.  Neither the religion you were born into nor the one you may have later chose will not give you a pass.  Learn the good from your religion, recognize the bad.
  4. All Muslim women do not cover their heads. Most Catholic nuns do.  Most brides do.  Until the early 70s, I did when I went to Church.  Hats are also used like veils.
  5. Walls separated Germany. Walls separated China.  Walls separated Korea.  Walls are bad.
  6. Women are superior to men in many things. Poor guys.
  7. Daddy had to work on Christmas Eve so he could afford to buy a gift for some of the kids.
  8. It is beneficial to have different backgrounds and heritages. We can learn from both the good and bad of it.  If we don’t learn from the bad, history can and will repeat itself.  I also learned that I am only ¼ German, the other part is neutral – Swiss.  Oh, and some Spanish Gypsy mixed in there somewhere.
  9. Being half-Black is the best thing that ever happened to me. Looking Black creates hardships that I will never fully experience, but that I see with many other members of my family.  Looking white created many benefits.  Being Black and looking white created a world unknown to most – one that opened my eyes to so much hidden hatred.
  10. All people are created equal along with animals, creatures, the trees, the sky . . . Native Americans had it right. They didn’t worship these things, they respected and honored them.
  11. Later I learned, I can’t be President. I smoked pot and cheated on my boyfriend. (Being Black or a woman was of not matter to me.)  Now I know, anyone can be President.  We have fucking proof of that.

Lesson:  Always be open to learn new things, especially those things that are not new and that should have been self-evident.  You are the only thing standing between yourself and a world of knowledge.    

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