Wednesday, October 8, 2014

We're Evolving

xkcd comic via The Big Picture

 . . . and that's a great thing.  But I don't think most young people appreciate just how bad things were, just how recently, in America.  And by young people I don't even mean that young.  Mid-forties on down.

I'm forty myself, and while I certainly remember a strong social stigma against interracial relationships in the environment I grew up in, I was still stunned to learn that they were illegal in half the country in the 1960s.  A big part of that is the fact that our education system and media organs work hard to gloss that over and focus on the happy talk of American Exceptionalism.

My own views on race, gender, and LGBT-related issues have evolved fairly dramatically over the last 25 years . . . or more accurately, over the period from say 1992 to 2003.  And not all at the same pace, necessarily.  But I was an early newspaper reader, and a twelve-to-fifteen year old kid reading garbage from the likes of Cal Thomas and Tony Snow is going to form some ass-backwards opinions about things in the absence of other information.  A lot of retrograde attitudes in this country especially on race are sustained by ignorance, often willful ignorance, of how bad things were and how bad things still are.

We have a duty to make sure that our schools are presenting our history to kids warts and all.  Thankfully, kids today have things I didn't: Twitter, blogs, the internet in general, the Daily Show, The Colbert Report, John Oliver.  But we also need to stand up against the Pam Mazanec's of the world who would fill our kids heads with sweet lies.

We need to evolve on a lot more things.  But I am encouraged by of this trend.

No comments: