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Note: Originally posted on the EAGLE online community site, behind IBM's firewall on 10 April 2005, at 6:10 pm, and posted here on 24 May 2007:
My sister Kathy, I've mentioned here before, is the principal of Brooklyn International High School, which is made up of new immigrants and refugees from many different countries. Every year, they have an international festival, which is basically a talent show, where the students get to show off the culture of their native land or demonstrate how swiftly they've assimilated into American culture, or some combo of both.
I skipped synagogue on Friday night to go, and Pat was sick, so I went on my own.
Here's what was worth the price of admission:
It begins with an international fashion show, where the female students dress in the fashions of their native countries and walk onstage to pop music and a peer emcee's announcements: "Here's Miss Russia, and Miss Vietnam, and Miss Morocco, and Miss China...and Miss...and Miss...and lucky Miss Argentina, with Mr. Ecuador and Mr. China:
Miss Argentina, in a bright, red, satin gown, is rolled onstage in her wheelchair, all smiles, beautiful and apparently completely paralyzed; Mr. Ecuador and Mr. China lift her to a standing position from her wheelchair, so she can preen like the other girls, and her smile's blinding, and she is placed back in the chair gracefully by the boys and rolled over to where the girls of the other countries are standing proudly.
I burst into tears in the dark. It's just what the world ought to be like all the time.