The We Generation

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.

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4 Responses

  1. The Idea of Equality has been here for a while now. Or at least now people will get that now, like you said. Finally, Minorities will be shot down when they try to pull the racism card. Finally, we can say, ‘What are you talking about, no one did this because of your color!’ Get over your selves and take responsibility for your actions instead of blaming everything that happens to you on your color!’ Praise the Lord that hopefully that is over. I have three beautiful daughters who are bi-racial. I am not a racist, by any means, but I am so tired of people pulling that unnecessary BS.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed your article. As a middle age Hispanic middle school teacher I am keenly aware how unaware the young generation is about the concept of “color”. It is refreshing and it always remind me of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech”…..

    It is sad to see that we still have a ways to go, but we are getting there….I, too, speak to my classmates of the colored water fountains and the black beach and the white beach and they cannot see it.

    I always enjoy your input on channel 10.

    Teresa Fernandez-Burke

  3. How thought provoking. We have come a long way and, perhaps “I had a dream,” came sooner than we all had gathered; some of us fortyish types did not think we’d ever see the day when an AfroAmerican would list 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as a home address. Perhaps, we’ve arrived and the color of one’s skin is now just that—a skin color and not a means by which one shall ever be judged any longer. It is flag waving time, once again, for this great nation of ours. Let us hope that the learned teens of today can carry this torch of hope, freedom, peace, love and all that makes us a proud nation; that said, “who wants ice cream w/ their apple pie…..”

  4. Glenna –

    I’m delighted to discover your blog with this wonderful assessment of the election of Barack Obama and the relevance (or irrelevance) of skin color to our children. I look forward to reading much more from you.

    Hilda

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