Last week my daughter and I went to see the Broadway musical Parade.

Parade was written in 1998 by Alfred Uhry and music by Jason Robert Brown. Parade is based on a true story, the 1913 trial, imprisonment and lynching of Leo Frank (who was Jewish) in Georgia. This event was one the events that spurred the creation of the Anti-Defamation League.

Of course, with this production brings some off stage drama:

The night of the first preview, the show was greeted by members of white supremacist group The National Socialist Movement. You know- neo nazis.

My daughter and I were aware of the controversy regarding the show, so this made us a bit hyper aware of our surroundings. Our seats were in the last row of the side mezzanine- there were three seats in the row. My daughter had gone up before me, so as I approached the row, I saw my daughter in the seat against the wall, my empty seat, and someone occupying the aisle seat. I go past him and sit down.

About three minutes after I sat down, the guy got up and sat in an empty seat across the aisle.


But now this guy, who I thought looked a little odd, has come to my attention.

The show begins a few moments later. About ten minutes into the show, the guy gets up and exits the mezzanine.

Of course I look back at his seat to see if he’s left anything, because this is just a strange scenario

I shake myself out of it and decide I’m being crazy and building up conspiracy theories in my head.

At intermission I mention my crazy reaction to the guy and my daughter said she felt the same way. And she had noticed that he had a large backpack.

We did look over both the seat next to us and the seat he moved to…just to make sure we didn’t see any wires or hear any ticking…which, luckily, there wasn’t.

Look at all that paranoia and angst and there wasn’t even a drag queen on the stage…

I don’t know, but if we can ban adult cabaret performances in public or in the presence of children, can’t we do the same for antisemitism and the groups that administer it?

40 thoughts on “Anything Can Happen Friday: Let’s Have a Parade

  1. Anti-, anti-, anti. The hate and polarization in this world seems to get worse, when we all should be turning to understanding and tolerance. Thanks for this post, LA. Your experience is a reminder of how all-pervasive this scourge is.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Why do I feel that it was odd in the first place that he was allowed in with “a large backpack” given the group assembling outside? Was the theater checking bags at all?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. We had to go through metal detectors and bag searches, but this backpack probably met the theater requirements, like it wasn’t a hiking backpack, but probably about the same size as a work tote. In our minds we probably amplified the size, but it was clearly larger than my purse. But you become hyper aware in moments like this

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In that situation it has to be hard not to judge and assume about this guy I think. Rather he was completely innocent (probably just wanted a quiet place away from people) or not the inclination to suspect someone has been triggered and even when you know better that reaction is just feeding into creating hate of people who appear to be different. That is a goal of a hate group, to feel suspicion and watch it grow…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Society as a whole, responding to small groups with negative ideas, has taught us to view the world differently. To me, such a clear example of the way our environment shapes who we are…

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I am upset and scared for you (and the rest of the audience) just reading about the scenario. I can’t begin to understand the level of hate and evil necessary to lynch another human being based on their religion or race or whatever real or imagined difference there is. It is easy to say, “Well, that was then and this is now,” but there is a whole group STILL supporting this hatred??? It makes me mad and sad at the same time. I’m glad you and your daughter are OK; you’ll never know what was going through that man’s mind.😞

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think what we always need to keep in mind is that you can ban anything you want, but you will never do away with ignorance, intolerance or hate. You will always be able to find someone who dislikes someone else, or an entire race. Unfortunately, that is our makeup. That is in us, driven by fear usually and fed by tradition. We can legislate and do whatever we want. But hate breeds hate, intolerance and ignorance breed the same. And people who espouse the spread of hatred are just as guilty. Sad comment I know. True, nonetheless.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. It is a sad state of affairs that you have to feel afraid to go out in public or visit a theater, you cannot even enjoy a show without fear that stupid will do something in the name of ignorance, intolerance or insanity. My wife regularly comments it is not safe to venture out of the house. We had gone to see a performance of The Bluest Eye. There was security in the lot and at the door, I’ve never seen security. Did I feel safer, not really it made me made that this was what our “free” society had come to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I said to someone a few months ago that I’m always afraid…as a woman, a mother, a New Yorker, etc. we always have security…especially post 9/11…I’m used to bag checks and metal detectors. My daughter knows no other way of life

      Liked by 3 people

  6. It seems appropriate to read this after delivering a class this morning on discrimination, harassment and hate crime. I teach this lesson every year and am surprised and saddened each year by some of the attitudes expressed by our young people. They grow up thinking these opinions are normal and acceptable. I see my role, for today’s class, is not only to teach/educate, but to challenge and encourage them to think for themselves.

    I grew up in a family with strong sectarian views (ironic that today is St Patrick’s Day) but I must have had other influences because I can remember from about 15 kicking back, refusing to accept that particular way of thinking and standing up to my grandmother. I guess it’s why I’m so passionate about equality

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s unbelievable that you can’t even go to the theatre and feel safe. This is the way things began in Europe in the 1930’s. And how Nazi Germany came to power. (Allowing Hate groups to be tolerated). And then letting them gain power and acceptance. They serve no redeemable value to any society. And laws should protect the innocent theatre goers not the hate mongers.

    Sorry, other than my grandfather who left France right before WWII, the rest of my father’s French family were deported to Auschwitz and killed by the Nazis. (The names of my father’s cousins, all my grandfathers brothers and sisters ,all the adults and children were murdered. By Nazis. The Nazis kept all their records.they are memorialized on a wall in the Shoah museum in France. So pardon me if I have zero patience or tolerance for this American branch of racist bigots. And unlike Trump who insisted that that there were good people on the neo Nazi side of these protesters , he was wrong. There is no such thing as a good person who wants to annihilated groups of people. If we in this country don’t start standing up against hate groups, then more innocent people will get hurt or be killed. At some point the rights of hate groups end when they violate or endanger the rights of innocent citizens. Enough is enough! And Broadway cannot be allowed to be hijacked by Nazis.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You know the Admin of the school I took a leave from this year did not like me saying a yiddish expression in the class-Meshuggeneh- Meshuggeneh can be used as an adjective to describe someone as insane or as a noun to refer to a crazy person. In a sentence, you might see something like, “He must be meshuggeneh to think that he can get there in under an hour.”

    She actually insinuated that I should not use it in class . I was insulted especially since I told the small group of students what it meant and I smiled meaning in jest. I actually reported this to someone else because I thought the reaction of the admin was very strange.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. True. I did find her reaction very strange to the Yiddish language. The fact that I had to explain myself in a class with speakers of Spanish bothered me. It also made me very uncomfortable with another teacher when I offhandedly said something observing a tattoo. If we are not allowed to voice our thoughts, hmm….we are prohibited and yet for some their thoughts are pure….hmm. I refuse to be sanctioned.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. Our observations keep us safe as you proved with your actions and speaking with your daughter. If one group is allowed to say whatever they want, and the others can’t. I am not staying for that ride. Thanks for listening. And as for the observation about a tattoo on a fellow teacher-I probably should not have said it aloud but it took me aback and I am allowed to share my thoughts, aren’t I.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I was told that because of the society we live in that I should not have mentioned that the tattoo reminded me of the Holocaust survivors. Well, it did. It was an odd tattoo and I had just been reading a book about Holocaust survivors that was put in my classroom by the Resource teacher. Oddly enough, I am a quiet person and would not have voiced my thoughts but I felt I could share. It had been a long morning and I felt comfortable saying this but the teacher oddly enough was upset and viewed the remark as an insult. It was an observation.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am glad that your post allowed me to share this with you. In my mind, I went over a hundred times my spoken thoughts, etc. and my reactions. I think I handled it well but it shook me up a bit to see people very close minded near me. I won’t share easily again in a school setting. The fact that I had to explain how I knew the Yiddish language was very upsetting to me. Thank you for listening.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you! I had a good ally with my husband. He complained to the right person. I won’t take it farther but I will not be returning to this school. I on a leave of absence until the end of the year.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. How scary. We have to be aware of our surroundings and vibes about people wherever we go. I’m part of a zoom call about current events and a lot of the participants are Jewish. I’m stunned at the antisemitism that is going on now. A lot of it barely makes the news. Also I’m reminded of going to a piano concert with my mom when I was around your daughter’s age at the University of Wash. A man walked up and down the aisle with a large knife! It was almost intermission and we snuck out.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. A sad and scary sign of our times! Very glad you and your daughter were okay. I hate being scared, but so easy to let your imagination go!
    I was scared today. Had to park in a parking garage. Usually it would be fine. But what my Wednesday’s post alluded to was real. My car was broken into. So now I have fear of my privacy being violated again. Ugh!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Sadly this is what our world has created…fear and suspicion. I find myself thinking of possible negative outcomes in just going to see a movie. In the effort to rid the world of hate, we’ve created more of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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