The MOMocrats are pissed at radio talk show host Bill Cunningham for his recent anti-Obama rant at a McCain rally, where old school name calling tactics were employed to reduce the American political process to a new level of bullying; implying that Barack Obama is a "terrorist" because of his family name.
I happen to agree with them and that's why I'm participating in their "Just Call Me Hussein" meme, and telling our name stories.
My father and mother immigrated from Hungary in 1956 - at a time when bigotry and racism pretty much ruled the earth - and my parents were very lucky to have American sponsors (mostly families with Hungarian ties) who were willing to give them free room and board, until they were able to get out on their own.
My 19-year-old father shared a room with 2 of his buddies, while my 14-year-old mother took care of her 4-year-old sister while moving in with a farming family, until my grandmother was released from a local hospital for a suspicious spot on her lung.
Unfortunately, the goodwill stopped there.
My mother was enrolled into high school and joined the rest of her "English-speaking" 9th grade class, without any consideration or special privileges, and was instructed to simply "catch up."
My father learned English from watching television shows like Bonanza and Gunsmoke - cowboys were big in Hungary, too - and still speaks with a very heavy accent, which my kids happen to think is "totally cool!"
Me, not so much.
I'm ashamed to admit that, once I entered elementary school, I was often embarrassed by my ethnic-sounding family and couldn't wait to get married and, you know, get rid of the name Katkics.
It's pronounced Cut-keech, but was Americanized by a processing agent in Newark, NJ to it's present day pronunciation of Cat-kicks.
The kids teased me and my brother about our family name, terribly - not to mention, living on the more ethnic side of Roosevelt Avenue - they would call us Click-clacks (like, the ankle-breaking jumping game) and Kitkats (after the chocolate bar) but, they weren't half as bad as Catsh*t.
You see, my parents worked very hard to gain respect in their newly adopted country and raised us to believe that - although, we SHOULD be very proud of our heritage - as first generation Americans, it was very important that we learn to protect our family name.
You see, my parents believed that being an American simply meant that you lived in a country where its people ALL came from somewhere else.
Unlike my parents' birth country (at the time) we have laws in place against persecution and today, we teach our children to embrace their ethnicity in school and letters are sent home as a reminder - it is up to us (as parents) to insure that we bring the message home.
Mr. Cunningham made a huge mistake in believing differently.
If my kids and I can learn to respect my name - even though it still sounds funny, especially when my children try to say it - then, why can't you?
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