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View Diary: I just realized I starred in a racist school program 50 years ago (103 comments)

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  •  Being born in the 80's makes a big difference. (18+ / 0-)

    I was born in 1939, and my parents of German heritage, from conservative Nebraska, routinely used insulting terms for other ethnicities.  They wanted me to go to a high school that didn't have so many Jews.  Visiting relatives didn't want to sit on public transportation because Blacks had used it. On the other hand, my Jewish friends in elementary school wondered if my family supported Hitler, which they didn't.  

    Now my parents never were anything but conservative Republicans, but even they were changed by the sixties.  They didn't say anything when I dated a black man for a while, although I'm pretty sure they didn't like it, but I think the other prejudices that earlier were so common, against Catholics, Jews, Italians, Polish, and on and on, were dropped.  I think television had a lot to do with that, just because they were exposed to different groups that had been totally foreign to them, no matter that they were American. And it was becoming more and more evident that public opinion was turning against the old prejudices, so that what they had believed was no longer sure to be the norm.

    I don't think people born after the fight for equal rights have any idea how universal bias was or how much the world has changed for women, as well as for ethnic groups, gays and lesbians, and people of color.  The social revolution of the sixties and seventies changed even those who didn't personally participate, and there is no going back, even though the Tea Party and talk radio are trying to do just that. Young women in particular today just assume they can direct their own lives and try to be anything, even though there are still some barriers, but they owe a lot to the feminists who struggled for them.  When I was young, women were mostly housewives, secretaries, teachers, and nurses, and much of what women do today was either exceptional then or discouraged. It's often hard to see progress, when there is so much still wrong with the world, but there are so many ways in which these times are better than those of my childhood.

    •  Barbara Marquardt, so many truths in your comment (5+ / 0-)

      especially this:

      I don't think people born after the fight for equal rights have any idea how universal bias was or how much the world has changed for women, as well as for ethnic groups, gays and lesbians, and people of color.  The social revolution of the sixties and seventies changed even those who didn't personally participate, and there is no going back, even though the Tea Party and talk radio are trying to do just that.
      And this:
      When I was young, women were mostly housewives, secretaries, teachers, and nurses, and much of what women do today was either exceptional then or discouraged.
      I was raised in what was a very socially stratified era & communities- the early 50s, the 60s & entered "adulthood" in the early 70s.

      Although raised within a military community-aside from  school out of country-I attended local schools in both Georgia & Texas.  Until I entered high school, I never saw or knew an African American human being in school or in the community.

      Except as an occassional (adult) nanny or maid.

      Same regarding those living with disability. In high school, sadly, my few Jewish peers went to great lengths to keep secret that they were Jews.

      The first Hispanics I met & went to school with was when I was in middle school yet never in any of the multiple subdivisions in the town I lived in or at social events until well into the late 70's.  Same with the few African Americans that lived in my area.

      My first glimpse of racism was when I was in 1st grade in GA.  At the time kiddos lined up to enter the school when the bell rang.  The little white boy behind me was talking about "bringing a scythe to school if any "n word" were allowed to attend our school.  And chop their heads off".

      Having no clue what a scythe or a "n word" was or why anyone would want to chop their heads off, as soon as I got home I demanded from my parents an explanation.

      To add to the complexity of racism & discrimination that I was surrounded with, the military of that era also had rigid rules of no fraternizing between non commissioned & commissioned military (NCO+officers).  I kid you not, this extended to everything from separate living areas, pools, clubs to friendships & dating.

      In the mid 70s, the city I lived in hired the first 2 female law enforcement beings.  One was a US Marshall-the other a police woman.  I happened to be working for the entity that hired them.  It was horrific for both these young women on a daily basis (sexism & distrust) & for a long time our city was referred to as "petticoat junction" by surrounding law agencies.

      I've traveled a lot & lived in many places throughout my life both in & out of country.  Sadly, no matter the year or the place, I have encountered or witnessed both overt & covert discrimination, racism & plain soul mean-ess.  Which has never failed to astonish or affect me in a visceral way.

      That being said, I whole heartedly agree with this comment of yours:

      It's often hard to see progress, when there is so much still wrong with the world, but there are so many ways in which these times are better than those of my childhood
      My heart & soul hope is that going forward, progress continues, past hard won victories are never forgotten & abused so that all future children will only know a world better than those before them.

      Kudos for sharing & for such a comment that enlightens & holds truths that need to never be forgotten.

    •  Half the CEOs I have reported to have been female (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, Powell, sethtriggs

      but when my wife first graduated from college and was looking for a job things were different.  At Household Finance (now known as HFC) she was told that they were going to go out on a limb and offer her a management-in-training position, the FIRST time they had considered doing that for a female .... but of course they couldn't pay her the same as the male MITs.....

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