Monthly Archives: April 2019

GENERATION Z: WHO?

They’re the most diverse generation in American history, and they’re celebrating their untraditional views on gender and identity.

Dan Levin of the N.Y. Times interviewed dozens of them and here’s how they describe themselves.

Melissa Auh Krukar is the daughter of a South Korean immigrant father and a Hispanic mother, but she refuses to check “Hispanic” or “Asian” on government forms.

“I try to mark ‘unspecified’ or ‘other’ as a form of resistance,” said Melisa, 23, a preschool teacher in Albuquerque. “I don’t want to be in a box.”

Erik Franze, 20, is a white man, but rather than leave it at that, he includes his preferred pronouns, “he/him/his,” on his email signature to respectfully acknowledge the different gender identities of his peers.

And Shanaya Stephenson, 23, is the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and Guyana, but she intentionally describes herself as a “pansexual black womxn.”

“I don’t see womanhood as a foil to maleness,” she said.

All three are members of what demographers are calling Generation Z: the postmillennial group of Americans for whom words like “intersectionality” feel as natural as applying filters to photos of Instagram.

Born after 1995, they’re the most diverse generation ever, according to United States census data. One in four is Hispanic, and 6 percent are Asian, according to studies led by the Pew Research Center. Fourteen percent are African-American.

And that racial and ethnic diversity is expected to increase over time, with the United States becoming majority nonwhite in less than a decade, according to Census Bureau projections.

Along with that historic diversity, members of Generation Z also possess untraditional views about identity.

Dan Levin asked members of Generation Z to describe, in their own words, their gender and race, as well as what made them different from their friends. Thousands replied with answers similar to those of Melissa, Erik and Shanaya.

“It’s a generational thing,” said Melissa, the preschool teacher. “We have the tools and language to understand identity in ways our parents never really thought about.”

More than 68 million Americans belong to Generation Z, according to 2017 survey data from the Census Bureau, a share larger than the millennials’ and second only to that of the baby boomers. Taking the pulse of any generation is complicated, but especially one of this size.

Generation Z came of age just as the Black Lives Matter movement was cresting, and they are far more comfortable with shifting views of identity than older generations have been.

More than one-third of Generation Z said they knew someone who preferred to be addressed using gender-neutral pronouns, a recent study by the Pew Research Center found, compared with 12 percent of baby boomers.

“Identity is something that can change, like politics, said Elias Tzoc-Pacheco, 17, a high school senior in Ohio who was born in Guatemala. “That’s a belief shared by a lot of my generation.”

Last summer, Elias began identifying as bisexual. He told his family and friends, but he does not like using the term “come out” to describe the experience, because he and his friends use myriad sexual identities to describe themselves already, he said.

Elias said he defies other expectations as well. He goes to church every day, leans conservative on the issue of abortion and supports unions, he said. He has campaigned for both Democrats and Republicans.

His bipartisan political activism, he said, was a natural outcome of growing up in a world where identity can be as varied as a musical playlist.

This is also the generation for whom tech devices, apps and social media have been common throughout their lives. A Pew study last year found that nearly half of all Americans aged 13 to 17 said they were online “almost constantly,” and more than 90 percent used social media.

Wyatt Hale, a high school junior in Bremerton, Wash., has few friends “in real life,” he said, but plenty around the world—Virginia, Norway, Italy—whom he frequently texts and talks to online.

Their friendship started out on YouTube. “I could tell you everything about them,” he said, “but not what they look like in day-to-day life.”

Generation Zeers compared to Millennials:

• Don’t know a world without the internet
• Entrepreneurial, making money online
• Also, more practical with their money
• Socially conscious
• More stressed out
• See through the clutter of adv claims
• Are the most diverse and accepting generation yet

Our generation didn’t even have an alphabet letter.

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THE EVOLVEMENT OF LIBERTARIANISM TO THE CENTER

The following is taken from an article by David Boaz, E.V.P. of the Cato Institute, the country’s leading libertarian organization, followed by some comments by your humble blogger.

David said, “When I graduated from college in 1975, my first job was as the first employee of Young America’s Foundation. Forty years later, I had the honor of being invited back to speak at the foundation’s Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California.

“I told them, ‘I feel like I’m back home in a place I’ve never been,’ because my earliest political involvements involved YAF and Ronald Reagan. I met Reagan when he came to Vanderbilt just after leaving the governorship, and I worked for his nomination at the 1976 Republican convention in Kansas City. Later, when he spoke at YAF’s national convention, and I was editor of YAF’s magazine, New Guard, he shook my hand and told me, ‘I always read your magazine.’

“But not long after that I decided that I was a libertarian, not a conservative, and I went off to make a career in the nascent libertarian movement. In the years since I’ve thought a lot about libertarianism, conservatism, modern liberalism, as well as other alternatives.

“Liberalism arose in the 17th and 18th centuries. In those days it was associated with John Locke, Adam Smith, the American Founders, and John Stuart Mill, among others. Encyclopedia Britannica defines liberalism as a political doctrine focused on ‘protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual.’ But in the late 19th century, and especially in the administration of President Franklin Roosevelt, ‘liberalism’ came to mean activist government with high taxes, transfer programs, and economic regulations, along with a slowly growing commitment to civil rights and civil liberties.

“The conservative movement began to take shape in the 1950s in response to that new form of liberalism. Conservatism, as defined by William F. Buckley, Jr., Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan, offered a program of free markets, traditional values, and a strong national defense.

“And where did libertarians fit in? Libertarianism is the philosophy of freedom, both personal and economic. Libertarianism is the idea that you should be free to live your life as you choose so long as you respect the equal rights of others.

“Obviously, there’s some overlap there with liberals on free speech and personal freedom issues, and with conservatives on free market and limited government. And those wee the opposing factions from the 1960s until about 2015.

“And then along came Donald Trump.

“Trump didn’t really campaign on ‘free markets, traditional values, and a strong national defense.’ Instead, he focused his campaign on opposition to our relatively open trade and immigration policies, with heavy reference to Mexicans, Muslims, and Chinese. He also made some typical Republicans promises about tax cuts, deregulation, and judges, but the theme and tone of his campaign were very different from Reagan’s.

“I’m a libertarian, but I have always believed that the best aspect of American conservatism is its commitment to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Ronald Reagan spoke for that brand of conservatism. And that’s the conservatism that seems hard to find in today’s Washington and in today’s Republican Party.

“Both philosophically and politically, we need to develop a defense of liberty, equality under the law, and constitutionalism.

“Libertarians are well positioned to do that. We stand where we always have for individual rights, free markets, limited government, and peace.

“Maybe there’s room for a new political grouping, what we might call the libertarian center: people who are fiscally conservative and socially tolerant, who appreciate the benefits of capitalism, as well as the benefits of openness and diversity.

“Reagan is often remembered as a hardline conservative. But in many ways he was closer to this libertarian center than you might think. He opposed the anti-gay Briggs Initiative; welcomed immigrants; campaigned against draft registration (though he later flipped on that); and withdrew troops from the Middle East when intervention came at too high a cost in American lives.

“And Reagan used to say ‘the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.’

“These are challenging times. But as long as enough Americans retain their commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then Ronald Reagan’s last words to America will remain true:

“’I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.’

“I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

I think I fit perfectly in David Boaz’s new grouping of the Libertarian Center and I believe the achilles heal of the Republican Party has always been their reluctance to accept in whole or in part moderate positions on social issues.

The Democrats are racing to the unaffordable socialist left, the Libertarians are moving to the center, and the Republicans are standing around in a circle wondering what to do with Trump.

The party establishments will fight these shifts and changes, but they are happening and, like it or not, they will lead to a new era of governance.

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THE BITE OF ANTI-SEMITISM

Seventy-five years after the Holocaust, hundreds of thousands of Europe’s Jews are standing at the edge of a dangerous precipice:

  • In France…tens of thousands of Jewish citizens have fled the country for Israel due to increasing anti-Jewish violence. One young mother told a reporter, “I’m scared of the future for my baby here.”
  • In the UK…anti-Semitic attacks are at record levels according to a report by Community Security Trust released this year, with 2017 witnessing a 34% rise in violent assaults against Jewish people. Meanwhile, the country’s Labour Party is rife with anti-Semitism.
  • In Germany…newly released statistics show that anti-Semitic hate crimes jumped by more than 10%, and that one-fifth of those took place in Berlin alone!
  • In Norway…a new report found that one-third of Jewish high school students in Oslo are harassed verbally or physically at least twice a month.

Indeed, a recent poll found that 38% of European Jews are considering leaving out of fear for their future. And another EU survey shows that 89% of European Jews believe anti-Semitism has worsened in the last five years and that a full 85% believe anti-Semitism is the main problem in their country.

Not long ago, a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden, was firebombed on a Friday evening. At the same time in Malmo, Sweden, demonstrators chanted, “We have declared an intifada from Malmo. We want our freedom back. And we will shoot the Jews.”

But the battle continues, beyond Scandinavia. In the United Kingdom, anti-Semitism has been injected into the mainstream of British society largely because Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party and potential future Prime Minister, has allowed anti-Semitism to fester in his party and even publicly praised Islamist preacher Raed Salah as “a voice that must be heard.”

You may not have heard of Salah, but he has repeated the murderous blood libel that Jews use gentile blood for religious purposes. And Corbyn has a history of coddling terrorists that distresses millions of people, far beyond the Jewish community. It has grown so bad that UK Jews have defined Corbyn as “an existential threat.”

And while the Labour Party itself has adopted the definition of anti-Semitism drafted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the party’s version includes a caveat calling criticism of Israel “free speech.” Center Director and representative at the UN, Mark Weitzman, played a key role in drafting and promoting the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, and he warns that Labour’s proposed clause could easily be abused by bigots seeking to camouflage their anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, the Simon Wiesenthal Center recently helped secure a historic breakthrough when thirty-one European nations adopted a new definition of anti-Semitism. Now he is calling upon the UN to immediately appoint a Special Representative on anti-Semitism to investigate and act on increasing manifestations of anti-Jewish hate.

In an exciting new development, a declaration on fighting anti-Semitism was adopted by the 28-nation Council of the European Union. This Declaration could be a significant step in committing the EU to both fighting anti-Semitism and providing for the security of Europe’s Jews.

The U.S. Is Not Immune

According to Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “Anti-Semitism is on the rise in America.”

When 11 were killed in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in modern U.S. history at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue last October, many Americans saw it as a shocking one-of-a-kind incident. The ADL saw it as part of a larger trend.

In 2017, anti-Semitic incidents jumped 57% over the previous year. Hate crimes against Jews grew 37% in the same period, according to a separate FBI analysis.

Greenblatt said, “In 2017, the ADL counted 1986 anti-Semitic incidents, the biggest jump we’ve ever seen.”

There are several reasons for this, I think.

We’re living in a charged political environment. Things are polarized in ways we haven’t seen in recent memory. When leaders at the highest levels use incredibly intemperate language and repeat the rhetoric of extremists, we shouldn’t be surprised when young people—let alone others—imitate what they see.

“Extremists feel emboldened by this,” Greenblatt continued. “We know this because we’re tracking what they say on social media and in chat rooms.”

New statistics by the New York Police Department confirm that the number of hate crimes targeting Jews—in a city with the world’s largest Jewish population—was more than double the total of hate crimes targeting all other communities combined!

The truth is that FBI statistics confirm over and over again each year that American Jews are by far the largest target for religious-based hate crimes, despite comprising just 2% of the population.

Anti-Jewish hate is on the rise in the U.S., and here, history’s oldest hatred is fueled by a new generation of tech-savvy bigots. There are new slogans promoting old hatreds—you surely recall the cries of “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us” heard at the so-called alt-right, Nazi-like, torchlight march in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A key component in the existence and rise in anti-Semitism is the Israel-Palestine conflict. In the interest of time and space, we’ll discuss that in a future blog.

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THE BEST BEACHES IN A BEACHIE WORLD

David Thoreau wrote, “The seashore is a most advantageous point from which to comprehend the world. The waves forever rolling to the land are far traveled coming home and leaving again.”

There’s nothing wrong with the beaches of Southern California, nor the beaches of Thailand or Belize. In the summer, Brighton Beach and Jones Beach are great playgrounds for the teens of New York.  Here, according to some experts, are the best beaches in the world, all year round.

Seychelles

One of the most photographed beaches in the world, the pale pink sands of Anse Source d’Argent unfurl across the island of La Digue, one of the 115 components of this archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The sands sparkle against a backdrop of towering granite boulders, worn by time and weather. The turquoise water is relatively shallow and protected from the ocean’s waves by a reef.

Maldives

Whether your dream beach trip consists of spending a few pampered nights in a four-star resort or swimming among tropical fish some 79-feet underwater, the Maldives are the sort of islands where either—or both—can come true. Straddling the equator southwest of Sri Lanka, the 1,102 islands that make up the Maldives form 2 atolls. The soft air enveloping the archipelago blends into a beautiful palm-fringed haze.

Bora Bora, Tahiti

This is one of the magical islands that make up French Polynesia in the South Pacific. Just 18 miles long, this lush little slip of land lies in a protected lagoon edged by white sandy shores, the best being at Matira Point. Bora Bora boasts the nickname the “Romantic Island,” a moniker easy to appreciate with its isolated beaches, intimate hotels, and quiet atmosphere.

The Hamptons, New York

One of the hip spots for the air-kissing, well-heeled set, the Hamptons boast some of the prettiest beaches on Long Island. The unspoiled shoreline begins around Southampton and runs east to the end of the island at Montauk. Windswept dunes and waving grasses border the Atlantic Ocean.

Lanikai Beach, Hawaii

Half a mile of sparkling sang, palm trees swaying over a white beach, lush tropical plants, and endless sunshine make Lanikai one of Hawaii’s most scenic beaches. The shore is protected by a nearby coral reef, which keeps the surf relatively calm. The water is always deep green and postcard-perfect. Only 10 miles from Honolulu.

Nantucket Island, Massachusetts

The most popular beaches on this island in the North Atlantic are Surfside and Children’s. The waters here are relatively calm, and there’s plenty of sand to use for sunbathing or castle-building. Madaket Beach is known for its rougher surf and not-to-be-missed sunsets. Quidnet Beach provides great views of Sankaty Head lighthouse.

Fraser Island, Australia

Perched on the sunny Queensland coast 161 miles northeast of Brisbane, Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and home to a wonderful beach. This World Heritage site is an ecologist’s dream, with 642 square miles of unspoiled natural paradise. Rain forests with 1,000-year-old trees sprout from the sand. Lodgings here accommodate a wide range of tourists, from the backpacking ecology lover to pampered resort fans.

St. Bart’s

Among the thousands of islands in the Caribbean Sea, St. Bart’s stands out with its blend or French chic and island relaxation. With beautiful secluded beaches, fine French cuisine, and gracious hotels, this tropical playground is popular with the jet set. The eight-mile island is edged by 20 beaches and small coves for swimmers and sunbathers, with sparkling water and white sand.

Landkawi, Malaysia

The name “Landkawi” translates into “the land of one’s wishes,” a welcoming concept that somewhat belies the island’s historic origins as a reputed refuge for pirates. Langkawi has since become a modern hideaway for the traveler seeking an escape. If your vacation wishes extend from uncrowded white sands and clear waters to lush green forests, you will find yourself content here. Datai Bay, located on Pulau Langkawi, is a heavenly retreat on the Andaman Sea.

Kauna’oa Bay, Hawaii

Located on the Kohala Coast of the Aloha State’s Big Island, Kauna’oa Bay is the quintessential Hawaiian spot. The quarter-mile, crescent-shaped beach has plenty of white sand, palm trees, and calm, clear, blue water. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, beachgoers here can snorkel or ride boogie boards. (Be careful while swimming, however, because there are no lifeguards on this public beach.) At night, nestle into the sands and peer out into the water to see if you can catch a glimpse of manta rays swimming.

And one extra special:

The Pink Sands of Bermuda

Bermuda has both magnificently large and refreshingly small beaches. Some are private, reserved for resort guests, but many are open to visitors. Bermuda’s finely pulverized sand takes on its characteristic pink hue from the calcium carbonate remains of coral reefs and the beautiful turquoise waters. For a glorious walk, stroll between South Shore Park and Horseshoe Bay in Southampton Parish.

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