Archive for November, 2008

The We Generation
November 9, 2008

The 2008 Presidential election, historic and fascinating on so many levels, will likely go down as the most written-about, analyzed, mulled-over and debated in history.  Swept along in the current of that river of ink have been the issues of race relations, attitudes and discrimination.  No doubt, whatever your party or politics, We the people of the United States of America have reached a defining moment, a watershed event.

 

So far, though, you haven’t really heard from the kids, the 15 and unders, the upcoming generation.  

 

While we’re celebrating, debating and analyzing, those in Generation Next are showing signs they’ll be the first Americans to get it, the first to manifest the culture imagined through decades-worth of human rights blood, sweat, toil and tears.

 

Tell my daughters that a person cannot be judged by the color of his/her skin (or by religion, gender, nationality or sexual orientation, for that matter) and they will answer, “Duh.”

 

I learn a lot by watching and listening to the girls and their friends.  They see skin color the way they see eye color.   They see black, white, brown and shades in between like they see blond and brunette and short and tall.   We all look different.  So what’s for dinner?

 

Anthropologically speaking, it’s a decidedly unscientific observation, to be sure.  But signs are, the evolution of equality is well on its way.

 

Yes, parenting matters, and I will accept some credit.   And we’d be naive to ignore those who will still pass down prejudices, however subtle, in festering, debilitating ways.  But they are not the majority, not even close.

 

My grandparents grew up in a culture of unanswered discrimination.

My parents grew up in a culture of explosive civil rights struggles.

I grew up in a culture of integration and discovery.

My children are growing up not noticing the difference.

 

“The world is black. The world is white.  It turns by day and then by night. The child is black. The child is white. Together they grow to see the light, to see the light.”   Three Dog Night recorded that song more than three decades ago.

 

Even glacially slow, generationally-slow progress is progress.