Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Puerto Rico: People There Are Real!

I used to teach at a middle school in Brooklyn, NYC, that had a large - maybe more than 50% - student body of Puerto Rican descent, and I came to care for these children very much. So like many other people I am very affected by the situation in Puerto Rico right now, as people struggle just to find clean drinking water, for God's sake! It seems to me that the pathetic response to the devastation of Puerto Rico is happening not so much because Puerto Rico is an island but rather because Puerto Ricans speak Spanish and are not Caucasian. I believe there are other reasons which I won't go into here.

Ellen Reiss, the Chair of Education, wrote the following passionate, categorical sentences on the subject in issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known #1963, titled "A World to Be Just to--or Manage?":  
[A]ll kindness and justice come, not from the desire to manage people and facts, but to know; to see them in some fundamental way as real. For example, after the recent hurricanes many men and women tried to help others; some even put their own lives in danger to do so. Their action arose from a desire to see, be vividly aware of the plight of another: "These people going through so much have feelings. These people are real; they need something!" And now the anguish of devastated Puerto Rico cries out: See as real and answer this question asked by Eli Siegel: "What does a person deserve by being a person?"
Read more. 

For more on the situation in Puerto Rico as of October 20, 2017, see this news story.