With the kind permission of the reader, we choose to construe a literary analogy; one which we presume has personal application to every, contemporary, right-thinking American. While our early references in its illustration are by empirical necessity, made with reference to our own [known] life experience, we are confident that the proposed analogic comparison, albeit, barring unknown nuanced experiences, is equally applicable to all contemporary citizens of moral inclination.

In our case, we are first generation Americans having been born in the earlier part of the 20th Century to immigrants of Southern Europe. Our parents, each born in separate National entities of the then Russian Empire [USSR], like many of today’s immigrants from Central America, endured great privation to come to the United States. They came to avoid the experienced hardships of dire poverty, Anti-Semitic pogroms, insecurity  and hopelessness; they came as all refugees do, seeking a  peaceful and better life.

Many of our nuanced childhood experiences, in the Brooklyn of the 1940s, as [American born] children of recently arrived Ashkenazi Jewish Immigrants, are set forth in earlier writings in which we attempted to convey our childhood’s unsophisticated, humorous, hopeful, poignant and colorful lives. Underlying the described, religious, cultural, and linguistic, nuance, of our immigrant parents persisted an enduring chill of fear, emanating from a remembered life of degradation and constant existential threat. As an aside, we would observe that it was the context of empathic familiarity, that motivated the ardent participation of many Jews in the black civil rights movement.

In time, notably including attendance at school, we were made aware of the unhappy fact that we, [equally with other contemporary American children of parents, whether, or not, born in the United States] were innocently obliged to accept our coveted  American Nationhood,” haunted” by a malign legacy of guilt, based on its shameful history of black enslavement and enduring Jim Crow behavior. This observation exemplifies our analogy to the genre of Gothic literature, in which a fictional heir to the family castle learns that it is encumbered by the enduring presence of a malignant ghost or demon.

Although the described inherited legacy of guilt was not personally earned, but instead, is derivative, in the nature of a historic societal blemish, the righteous citizen is nevertheless, morally obligated to make every effort to eliminate, or at least assuage, its underlying basis, perhaps by action suggested in our immediately preceding, tri-partite writings.

There exists no merit to any assertion that, since the contemporaneous, morally inclined citizen was not born in the era of slavery, and does not entertain biased feelings of any kind, he is exempt from the  vestigial guilt emanating from the dark days of American slavery [and its enduring metastasis of atavistic Jim Crow mentality.] All who proudly proclaim American Nationality are derivative inheritors of its historic guilt. Yet, the invaluable benefits of entitlement to Nationality, for every American, but most especially the offspring of immigrant refugees fleeing for their lives is, without question, worth it.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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