Sensitizing Manhattan

Since it has been declared that building a Muslim YMCA almost-kinda-sorta-not really within sight of the former WTC is insensitive to the feelings of the families of 9/11 victims, it's clear that New York could use a lot of fixing in this regard.

Now, don't get me wrong. This isn't about people's right to do any of the things listed below, merely about their sensitivity to the raw emotions that 9/11 still creates nearly a decade later. With that in mind, here are my proposed guidelines for the Big Apple:

1) No brown or black people. If it's insensitive just to create a meeting place for Muslims, imagine how traumatic it might be for a person who lost someone on 9/11 to actually see a Muslim anywhere around the WTC. And of course, from across the street any dark-skinned person can easily be mistaken for a Muslim through a waterfall of tears. So, in the interests of sensitivity, all brown and black people should just stay out of Lower Manhattan entirely.

2) No air traffic to, from or around New York City. If bumping into a theoretical Muslim on the street is traumatic, imagine how awful it must be to hear or see a jet flying overhead, if you lost someone on 9/11. Nothing could bring the horror of that day flooding back faster than that. Deep in your gut, the fear that another plane might suddenly veer off course and slam into another Manhattan tower would be overwhelming, if completely irrational. But this isn't about rationality. It's about emotion. Thus, in the interests of sensitivity, all air traffic to, from and in the vicinity of New York City should be eliminated.

3) No use of the numbers 9 or 11 in Lower Manhattan. This one is just obvious. 9/11 is permanently etched into our national consciousness, and using those numbers for something as trivial as the floor of a building, a street address, a price or a telephone number is just the height of insensitivity. If you had lost your husband or son or wife or daughter in the WTC, would you want to be reminded of it every time you called to order a pizza and every time you paid for it? It's too monstrous to even contemplate. So, in the interests of sensitivity, everyone in Lower Manhattan should completely avoid using the number 9, or two consecutive 1's.

I think, if New Yorkers just abided by these simple suggestions and showed a little more sensitivity to those people who lost loved ones (of which, thank God, I'm not one) on 9/11, we can finally begin healing this raw, open wound in our national psyche.

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