Identity and Identifying: I am my mother's daughter

I am my mother's daughter. We have a little black in us. She was born and raised in the Jewish ghetto on the south side of Chicago which later became the black ghetto. I've often thought, looking at her photos, that she had an African American father. It may sound strange, especially to my family reading this, but my mom affiliated and identified with being black and with the prejudice and inequality of the black experience. When I was 13, I won a speech contest in school writing about the inequity and injustice of tenement housing. My mom wrote the speech really. When I was a 16 I went to an all black high school and had an affair with a black teacher. By the time I was 22 I was living with a black man. I am second generation Jewish American.

No one has suffocated a Jewish man because he was Jewish in a very long time. Yet I hold within me the fear of being persecuted and killed like an animal. I hold within me the fear of being hunted and hiding from sight. I am Anne Frank, I am Rosa Parks, We are Martin Luther King Jr., We are Maya Anjelou. We are identified with prejudice, hardship, struggle, painful losses and death. And the pain of being open to these feelings is excruciating. Yet we must continue to identify with all the atrocities that people perpetrate upon one another and rise up and care about those who struggle in this world in order to take care of ourselves and each other.

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— Sandy Andresen MA, PhD., abd

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