Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Battle Cry of the Anguished American Immigrant!…by Robert M. Katzman

(Originally posted on July 21, 2008, then reposted March 10, 2017 in frustration after the 2016 election, where insanity began to rule what was once a last best refuge for people seeking a chance to live, to be happy)


To me, being an American is an idea.

A concept.

An agreement of equals.

A willingness to tolerate the differences in others.

A celebration of the beauty of cultural diversity.


While maybe originally, ours was a government,

Of the Protestants, By the Protestants and For the Protestants”

We’re bigger than that today.  A numerically insignificant People like my own family, Jews, now represent less than 2% of the total American population, but I believe that our Constitution includes me when I read it.  I don’t live in fear, here.

Soon, there will be more Moslems in America than Jews, but I don’t care.  They came here to escape the same killing chaos that brought my family here, as well as looking for a new start and a fair chance to become successful.  I welcome them.  Besides, when the hating is missing, they may remember that we’re linguistic cousins who speak two versions of the same Semitic language, as do the Assyrians, who are Christian Arabs.

(Read on …)

A Meek Liberal’s Debt to the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© August 18, 2013

I have something to say about the new movie, “The Butler”.  I wonder sometimes why I write anything here, to a seemingly growing group of people I don’t really know and also the disturbingly fundamental fact that I’m not paid for it.

But the movie struck me so strongly and my impression was so different than the somewhat snotty and disdainful recent NPR review that I felt I wanted to cancel them out, in my own obscure microscopic voice.  What’s the point of Freedom of Speech if a person has something contradictory and worthwhile to say, but doesn’t bother because there’s no personal reward in it?

(Read on …)

Racial Prejudice and a Hyde Park Newsstand in Chicago…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© May 1, 2013

I came to Hyde Park in April, ’64 from an odd ethnic bubble of only Irish and Jews, mixed together with periodic success on the South Side of Chicago, near 87th Street. Never had any relationships or encountered any black people anywhere.

There were two black girls in my last year at Caldwell School whom no one would talk to. It was stunning. I was both appalled by this situation and I was unpopular as well, so I got it immediately and befriended them. They were suspicious of me at first (and who wouldn’t be?), but then visibly relieved that the ice was broken for them. Except it wasn’t broken.

(Read on …)

Fear and Drawing on the South Side of Chicago…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Black/White relationships,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,My Own Personal Hell — Bob at 9:19 am on Sunday, April 28, 2013
Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: www.differentslants.com/?p=355
© April 30, 2013 (my birthday)
Sunday morning reflection, age 63, while filled with cold medication:
My mother, then Anne Warman (1921-2001), went to Hyde Park High School, class of  ’39 when it was a decidedly Jewish place whatever the %. When I began in Lab School after fleeing the South Side in the middle of the night, where I lived with her from 1950 to 1964, I eventually joined the Midway school newspaper in 1966.
One of my responsibilities, after teacher Wayne Brasler discovered I could draw, was to make editorial cartoons. I had no particular title. I did whatever I was told to do and went where he sent me. (Read on …)

The Outcome of the Unusual Case was Unquestionably Black and White…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Black/White relationships,Cops,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Rage!,Social Policy and Justice — Bob at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

First posted August 8, 2007

Second posting July 18, 2012


One morning some years ago, near Chicago, I was at a currency exchange where I would go to pay my utility bills. I suppose I could have mailed my payment, but it was faster for me to pay it in person. Besides, the dark-eyed girl working there behind the glass had a great rack on her and she always smiled at me, her blood-red lipstick gleaming on her soft, luscious lips. And when she walked over to punch my account numbers into her machine, I got a global view of all her…assets.

I didn’t mind, she didn’t mind, and the whole day was better for the experience.

So, on this particular day, I was waiting in line to see my favorite cutie. I was on the left side of the small room where she always worked behind the bullet-proof glass, and there was another young guy at the teller down the way from me paying a bill too, with about a four yards between us.

I am white. He was black. I think my sexy teller was Assyrian, but that wasn’t crucial to what followed next, on what seemed to be just another ordinary morning.

It was very quiet with the four us going about our business. Then, another young white guy, about twenty, blonde and thin, maybe five foot eight, walked in the exchange and stood silently behind me. I was almost ready to go, when the chime on the only door to the place clanged loudly as the door was suddenly shoved open and three adorable, very young black children scampered into the room, followed by a short, hesitant, and thin to the point of appearing to be nearly anorexic, man of about thirty or so. The kids were full of energy and called the petite man “Dad.”

Then, to my disbelieving eyes an enormous blob of a woman ended this little parade. She was close to six feet tall, and for lack of a more accurate description, the woman most closely resembled the evil Jabba, The Hut character from the Star Wars movie.

(Read on …)

Joy’s Diamond Ring (5):Romance & Racketeers by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

Part 5 (scroll down for parts 1-4)

Then very carefully guiding my hand, he tilted it so that all the valuable little critters fell neatly back into their glassine home, where all the inhabitants were equal.  He folded the top of the envelope over, returned the envelope to its appropriate slot on the black tray, surrounded by dozens of other such envelopes, and returned the tray to the yawning black safe behind him.  Buddy then placed his hand flat against the safe’s thick steel door and pushed it until I heard a distinct ‘click’ sound as it locked itself.

Buddy then showed me a nice-looking platinum ring with all its little prongs standing straight up, as if reaching for a stone to grasp.  They looked like tiny baby birds to me, stretching their necks, waiting to be fed.  I said it would be fine, in my vast experience as a connoisseur of jewelry.  Buddy nodded, and told me to wait there in his office and he would assemble the ring on the spot.

He placed the diamond I’d selected into the ring, right there in front of me, as I stood next to him at his workbench.  He carefully, skillfully, pressed down all of the prongs, as he slowly turned the ring to attend to each one in turn, to firmly hold the diamond in place.  Then he washed the assembled ring in some solution to make it sparkle.  He dried the ring, placed it inside of a little black velvet jeweler’s box and handed it to me.  That…was it.

He also handed me a certificate of authenticity stating the exact number of carats, or fraction thereof, the diamond’s color and other information my insurance company would need.  Buddy then signed and dated it as I watched him.

Then, I paid him.

In cash, of course.

My Dad’s relationship with Buddy and his presence in Buddy’s office with me that day assured me that everything was kosher, as we say, even about a Lutheran.  But Buddy the Hun was no ordinary Lutheran.

My Dad’s world was neatly divided into either “us” or “them”—Friend or Foe.  It was a crucial difference and all that mattered.  To him, and now to me, too, Buddy was “us”.

And also, my Dad told me that I received much more diamond than I could ever have afforded to pay for otherwise, at that time.

Where did all those diamonds come from?

(Read on …)

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