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  • Writer's pictureKaren L


I am not the first writer to be rejected for one reason or another. Being turned down is part of the job. An article of mine was rejected because it was loosely associated with the period of Nazi domination of Europe--Boring? Old subject matter? The same online journal (devoted to Jewish women) nixed another article because they are looking for writers from a broader spectrum of the population.

Evidently, I am from a narrow demographic--white and older. In response, I said to myself: OK, sure, I get the message. No more stories related to the tragedies of 80-85 years ago. And, you want young, Jewish women of color. I unfriended them on Facebook.

I am not making light of the contributions and impact of younger people, especially minorities within a primarily white group (Jews). But why shut out an older cisgender white woman? And the rejection is from white women themselves who will be older in twenty years.

Be careful who you rebuff, ladies, for your actions may come back to haunt you! Dismissing on the basis of skin color and age is discrimination. Older people should be respected. Actually, when I am out and about, it is only Asians who seem kind to me. This is no coincidence, as respect for age is a significant part of their culture.

The article that was written by someone (me) not from a "broader demographic" was about a group of older people accepting a very young man as their spiritual leader. The irony does not go unnoticed. And a story related to my experience educating young people about the dangers of discrimination, in a country that experienced some of the most heinous crimes of modern times, was considered inappropriate or uninteresting? I cannot think of a more relevant topic given what is happening in the United States and other first world nations. Lastly, a story about two Jewish women linked by a common name who advocated for women, one in the 19th century and one in the 1920's.

There is no time limitation for the study of history. When/what would we eliminate? The Five Books of Moses were written more than 2,000 years ago, so the Bible/Torah is no longer relevant. Shakespeare--another bigoted white man. Greek and Roman civilization--nah too European. The American Civil War is over--slavery was abolished; that's done. Though there are some who support suppressing the past, what a tragedy if that came to pass.

I was born, in the dark shadows of the Holocaust, from the union of two refugees of Nazi Germany. Surrounded by survivors who spoke German, these refugees were my early role models. I was told Germany was the incarnation of evil; the cold war scared me with bomb drills; and then my family accepted reparations from the German government. Israel evolved as a nation throughout my childhood, teenage years, and adulthood. Civil rights, anti-war protests, increased awareness of the LGBT+ population, including gay marriage, colored my life. Of course, I write about these topics. This is what I know, not outmoded subjects in the least.

Who is "in" and "out" are part of the vagaries of writing and publishing. I know. I am not shocked. But the wider issue is reverse discrimination in which the Supreme Court was recently involved. Discrimination and the subsequent use of quotas in college acceptance, in employment, and in our culture is a serious matter.

Of course, those who have not been given advantages from their families of origin and society should be judged differently than those who have had an easy ride. However, skin color does not always equal disadvantage or advantage or worthy vs. unworthy. In my case, being white and old is a disadvantage. I am not cool, relevant, or in style which translates to unworthy to express myself to a wider audience. As a friend said recently, we pay the dues, vote, give generously to charity, and volunteer after years of paid employment.

If society does not listen to all voices, certain perspectives will be lost and a bunch of angry women (and men) may cause a ruckus. And do not give me that "Karen" designation, just another entitled white woman. There are some issues I understand better than others based on my life experience. I am not entitled to more than I deserve. I do not get to go to the head of the line or make a person of color leave empty handed. But I deserve to be respected and heard.

©Karen Levi 2023

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