Monday, April 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Ukraine disaster evokes personal memories

stevenson column sig 2

By
From page A11 | July 18, 2014 |

I’m not sure whether or not I should apologize for making this week’s column personal, but Ukraine has a special place in my history.

As I write this, we don’t know whether the airliner crash was caused by hostile fire or an accident. However, there is no question that Ukraine has witnessed – and caused – terror for hundreds of years. At least two of my grandparents came from Ukraine – by the way, it was always “the” Ukraine – so I’m always alert to what’s going on there.

How significant was Ukraine in my ancestry? Well, my paternal grandmother’s maiden name was “Ukrainka,” meaning that was her family heritage. I was probably 9 or 10 when I saw her name on what I believe was some kind of American citizenship document. When I asked my father about it, he explained that his parents “Americanized” their names when they emigrated to the United States.

I know that many Americans have the privilege of knowing the outlines of their family tree, but that is not true for those of us with Russian, Polish or Ukrainian ancestors. Of course, Jews from eastern Europe are not the only immigrants to Americanize their names when they arrived on these shores, but the “new” names have made it almost impossible to look back more than two generations. My father’s parents, who arrived here in the second half of the 19th century, certainly were not born with the names Oscar Stevenson and Julie LaSalle. I was never able to discover what their birth names were, but I learned a little bit of their history.

My grandmother was very status conscious, and while this may be true of other immigrant groups, Jews were probably most likely to change their names. I am guessing that younger generations may be surprised that name-changing was not uncommon a hundred years ago. It may have been most common on Broadway and in Hollywood – as an example, the late comedian Jack Benny was born Benny Kubelski.

Name-changing was also adopted by Italians and Asians when they arrived here and it seemed that no immigrants wanted to be “stuck” with an ethnic name. Of course, if you were of English or Irish heritage, there was no reason to change your name. In fact, names from the British Isles were the favorites to be adopted by Poles, Ukrainians and Russians.

We in America have long since settled on our ethnic differences, but the same cannot be said in other parts of the world. In fact, ethnic and class origins can label someone for life when it comes to social and economic status. We’ve all heard of the “untouchables” – no, I don’t mean Eliot Ness or Al Capone – but the “class” in India relegated to the most demeaning roles throughout their lives. To this day, many untouchables in rural India still have one job, that of “night soil” collectors. I don’t have to explain what “night soil” is, but it’s not a job you would want.

I mention India and it’s not alone, because even well into the 21st century, in some societies it can be almost impossible  to escape one’s birth “status.” What bugs me is that this social and economic rigidity is quite pervasive, except in one community. My understanding is that sociology, political science and history courses at many American colleges and universities ignore the awful class differences in the Third World as they focus on the alleged unfairness of our society.

Do the liberal professors devote as much energy talking about the success of the United States in so many respects, or compare us unfavorably to “tribes” in Third World societies? I’ve mentioned before my dismay when I looked at a high school history textbook a few years ago and saw that the chapter on our involvement in World War II began with a paragraph on the internment of Japanese-Americans, primarily in the western United States.

One wonders what kind of hatred those who destroy airliners in midair must have in their hearts.

Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at [email protected]

 

 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

County action speeds Solano fairgrounds plan to next phase

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Vacaville eyes ban on medical marijuana grows

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

Paint the Town Purple; and Roxie

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
City Coach hosts first block party

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Bid Corderos Park, city staff recommends

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

White minister fought for civil rights in the south

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Farmers markets herald return of summer

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Crash claims life of Concord teen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Denim and Diamonds fundraiser set May 16

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Biz Buzz: Budweiser kicks off new parks campaign

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

 
Biz Buzz: Dutch Bros. plans ALS fundraiser

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

Biz Buzz: Company schedules pasta class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

 
 
Biz Buzz: NorthBay offers extended hours for primary care

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Biz Buzz: Retail store helps those with autism

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

 
Biz Buzz: Committee schedules contractors breakfast

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7

.

US / World

Picture it: A 1,000-year exposure showing a changing Earth

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Quake agony revealed quietly on trip from Nepal airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Corinthian Colleges to shut down all 28 remaining campuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
No time to lose: Global response to Nepal quake gears up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Japan’s prime minister goes to US to showcase close ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Israel says airstrike on Syrian border targeted militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Family, friends in Baltimore mourn death of arrested man

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
‘Batman’ killer studied brain disorders before mass murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Image from the quake: Heavy damage in Nepal ancient city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Fighting rages in Yemen’s 3rd-largest city, strikes continue

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Mountaineers, guides stream from Everest after avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Putin accuses US of supporting separatists in Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Death toll in Nepal quake rises to more than 3,200

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Late spring complicates already perilous amphibian migration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Former GOP chairman enters US Senate race in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
.

Opinion

Let’s cut welfare by $1.5 trillion

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
President Hillary. Really?

By Jim Mccully | From Page: A8

 
Paralyzed by watching black men, boys die

By Jonathan Capehart | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: April 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: Monday, April 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Parenting: How to set boundaries on screen time

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

 
Horoscope: April 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

Horoscope: April 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My husband doesn’t want me to redecorate home he had with first wife

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Warriors confident after sweep of Pelicans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants-Rockies game postponed by rain

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Justin Rose wins in New Orleans for 7th PGA Tour title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Wall, Beal lead Wiz past Raptors 125-94 in Game 4 for sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Paul, Clippers even series with 114-105 win over Spurs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ko wins Swinging Skirts for 2nd straight year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Motorcycle rider from Livermore killed in Nevada race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Billy Andrade and Joe Durant win Legends of Golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cavs sweep Celts as James scores 27 in 101-93 victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
It’s here: Fight week begins with Pacquiao caravan to Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

American Pharoah completes final pre-Kentucky Derby workout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Newgarden claims first IndyCar Series win not far from home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Elizabeth Cepeda

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Kirk Noonan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Sandra King

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janis Ruth (Sefzik) Skinner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Rose is Rose April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Cryptoquote April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7