A couple of years back, I wrote an essay about the blatant anti-Semitism I witnessed while teaching middle school in Glendale, California in the late 1990s. In keeping with my reputation for being somewhat of a masochist, I actually moved to Glendale last year. However, I’ve come to appreciate how the Los Angeles suburb has really come into its own since I hung out here 20 years ago, and it’s perhaps the safest place to live in Los Angeles.
Still, I was reminded of the anti-Semitism (or at least the extreme stupidity) of some of Glendale’s residents when I decided to lounge at Starbucks earlier this week. I usually don’t pay attention to other people’s conversations, but I couldn’t help but overhear a group of three twenty-something students discussing the concept of “privilege.”
One of the kids sported a buzz cut, scruffy beard, tattoos all over his arm that made no sense, and appeared to be either Caucasian or Middle Eastern. He tried to explain the concept of “privilege” to the others by using Holocaust victim Anne Frank as an example of someone who had privilege because she was white. Burying himself even deeper, he went on to speculate that if Anne Frank were alive today, she wouldn’t have to deal with being pulled over by the police for no reason or having her résumés thrown in the garbage.