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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 24, 2006 / 2 Kislev, 5767

Race-card player dishonors true victims

By Larry Elder


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Tennie Pierce, a black 19-year veteran firefighter, recently won a $2.7 million settlement from the Los Angeles City Council.


Here's the story. Following a firehouse volleyball game, fellow firefighters laced Pierce's spaghetti with dog food to "humble" him. Pierce, who calls himself "the Big Dog," took a few bites, saw three co-conspirator firefighters — two whites, one Latino — laughing, and demanded to know why the chuckling.


Pierce, after learning that the firefighters — in an undoubtedly good-natured way — placed dog food in his spaghetti, called the prank "racist"! He hired a lawyer, found an "expert" witness who associated the consumption of dog food with "300 years" of discrimination against blacks, and successfully settled the case with the city.


Los Angeles Times reporter Sandy Banks, in an article about the award, failed to mention a few salient facts: that Pierce somehow managed to survive on the force for almost 20 years; that fellow firefighters referred to Pierce as a "turd stirrer" — meaning he routinely pulled pranks on others; that the 6-foot 5-inch Pierce often referred to himself as "the Big Dog"; that the incident was apparently a reaction to a volleyball game won by Pierce during which he repeatedly urged to his teammates to "feed the Big Dog" by throwing the ball to him; and that, in the frat boy tradition of many firefighters, his co-workers likely fed him dog food as a display of affection, knowing that, after all, Pierce had pulled pranks on many others during his long career — photos of which (including Pierce's involvement in the shaving of the pubic hairs of a fellow firefighter) later appeared on the Internet.


Days before I read about the firefighter's award, my 91-year-old dad and I watched a movie called "Proud." Narrated by the late, great Ossie Davis, the movie dramatized the experience of black sailors aboard the USS Mason during World War II. The ship became the only black-manned ship that actually saw combat. As a destroyer escort, it shepherded Allied convoys through German sub-filled waters, taking risks even the vaunted English Navy refused, deeming the mission too treacherous. Indeed, black sailors welcomed the assignment to the ship because, during this military-segregated era, they wished to prove themselves by seeing actual combat rather than engaging in "menial" labor.


In one scene, a German sub launched a torpedo at the USS Mason, but the highly skilled blacks — thought too dumb to master hi-tech equipment including sonar detection — skillfully evaded the torpedo. They then counter-attacked by launching depth charges. The men of the USS Mason, despite their heroics, never received a commendation, even though their commander sent a letter to Washington, urging recognition for these brave sailors. As a result of lobbying by the grandson of one of the sailors described in "Proud," President Clinton honored the surviving crewmen during a long-delayed ceremony. Finally, the USS Mason crew received their rightful commendation for bravery and sacrifice.


It's difficult to describe the feeling of honor and pride I felt as I watched my dad watching the movie. Every five minutes I looked at my dad, as he watched the movie with his typically stoic expression. My dad, you see, served as a cook during the war, earning the rank of staff sergeant. He spent time on Guam as soldiers prepared for an assault on the island of Japan, a mission aborted, of course, because of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He, too, like many black soldiers, received little recognition for his contribution. My dad once told me he enlisted as a Marine in 1943 because "it seemed to me that the Marines were all about action. And I wanted it."


After my dad and I watched "Proud," he said it reminded him of a wartime story — a story he never told me. "Son," he said, "we black enlistees had just gone through training at Montford Point, North Carolina. We gathered to hear a speech — supposedly inspirational — given by a white major. The officer said, 'You know, I traveled all over the world. But I only realized that we were truly at war when I came home and saw you people wearing our uniforms.'" Insulted, my dad said he and every Marine stood in a silent protest of the major's blatantly racist remark.


This brings us back to Mr. "Rin Tin" Tennie Pierce. Enjoy your $2.7 million. When the next Veterans' Day comes around, think about how your bonanza trivializes the grit, determination and honor with which black men and women withstood insult, degradation and abuse during Jim Crow America. They stood tall and demonstrated by word and deed that black men and women — like my dad — considered themselves Americans, not African-Americans, who only wanted an opportunity to show their ability.


Your crass, manipulative use of the race-card-for-money insults countless men and women who endured indignities, marched and died, in order to provide you the right to work as a firefighter — an opportunity historically denied to qualified black men and women.


You, sir, are a disgrace.

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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate

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