Ehud Would – My Testimony (Part 2): Racial and Christian Awakenings in 1980’s California

Whittling-with-Grandpa

via Faith and Heritage:

[. . .]

As I said, the neighborhood was mostly White when we moved in. Our block, entirely so. But one day when my sister had been down on the next block riding her bike with a friend, she ran into trouble. Two young Black boys came out of nowhere and tried to knock her off her bike, but she kicked them off her and pedaled home as fast as she could. And they gave chase. I don’t recall what I was doing, but I heard her screaming for me as she came riding up into our yard. And sure enough, the two Black boys came running up close behind her. The smaller one was the more aggressive of the two, so I flew into him, knocking him backward. But they were both on me in an instant. And the fight lasted only a few moments before Poppa came out with his belt in hand and my dog Buck (a German Shepherd/Black Lab mix) at his side. The Black kids were terrified of both. What with Buck’s snarling, Poppa only had to lay a couple stripes across their backs before they turned heel and ran back the way they’d come. Buck chased them down the drive nipping at their ankles as they went. They cursed us in terms unknown to me. But they didn’t come back.

The next day Poppa had me start training with him. At eight years old I couldn’t hope to do all the one-armed pushups, finger pushups, or handstand pushups that he did, but he was determined to toughen me up. He said, “Niggers got every bit as much right to live as you do. God made them what they are and you can’t hold that against them, but if they lay hands on your sister, by God, you kill ‘em.”

Later that year a Mexican family moved in next door. Their oldest boy, who was my age, started slapping my little cousin Nikki (my aunt and uncle had moved in around the corner) around for fun. When I heard of it I went straight over to tell him to leave her alone, all my little cousins and my sister trailing along behind me. But reaching his house we saw he had company – two other Mexican boys, also about my age. All I said was, “Please quit hitting my little cousin. She’s not even five.” To which they all took turns replying that they’d hit her anytime they wanted and that they might shoot her. This scenario immediately bridged over in my mind to the indignity of my sister’s attack earlier that year. As the Mexican boys’ words still hung in the air, I punched the main offender in the solar plexus (as Poppa had taught me) as hard as I could, leveling him to the ground. There he lay, gasping for breath. The paramedics were even called and they took him to the hospital to be checked out.

All of this pleased my grandfather greatly. He congratulated me on being a man. But my mother was another story. She was appalled at what I had done and that Poppa had trained me to it. That argument went on a long time. The only word I remember from their exchange, on account of its repetition, was “racist.” But I think he sensed the conflict which my mother’s outrage had seeded in me. The next day Poppa reassured me I’d done right protecting my cousin, rewarding me with my first pocketknife. I cherished that knife.

Though my classes were all in English now, the liberal agenda was sailing full mast there as much as at my previous school. I remember little of the actual curriculum other than the fact that in my third grade year, only one year after my having taught myself to read phonetically, they introduced “Whole Language Reading,” otherwise known as “Sight Reading,” patterned in theory after the Oriental system. This was, of course, totally incompatible with the English language, but that wasn’t why I ignored the new approach. I did so because I had already learned to read phonetically, and no matter how much the teachers tried to undo that foundation, I could not stop seeing the letters as sounds. And in retrospect, I attribute my winning second place in the Los Angeles County Spelling Bee in fifth grade to the fact that I clung to phonetic language, in spite of all instruction to the contrary.

[. . .]

Read more at Faith and Heritage. . . .

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