Random thoughts

February 14, 2007

Discrimination

Filed under: Uncategorized — by laurenvw @ 3:41 pm

The idea of discrimination is becoming a generational challenge.  My grandparents have definite opinions that they associate with different races.  Living in small-town Iowa, not a whole lot could happen to shake them out of these opinions.  They are good people, but they were raised in a completely different world than I.  They see differences between themselves and “Mexicans” and “negroes” that nothing has really broken them of.  Despite this, they try to judge each by their own merits when they come across them.  Unfortunately, 30+ winters spent in the border region has not improved their opinions.

My parents came of age during the civil rights movement.  It had different effects on them.  My mother grew up in a city (small one, but still a city) and took the precepts of the CRM to heart.  She works hard to not discriminate, and she really seems to want a more racially interesting family than we have.  Is it overcompensation, or just wanting us to be color blind?  I don’t know, and I’m not sure even she knows.  My dad is the opposite.  I’m told he was very open when they were younger (i.e. the 70’s), but as he ages, my father’s small-town background begins to show.  Hearing him say things that are discriminatory is much harder than when my grandparents say them.  Because he should know better.  To be fair, there is not a lot of opportunity to be open in the small town they still live in.  But I worry if he ever ended up in a more diverse area.

Then there is my generation.  I really don’t care about color.  What I am affected by is economic disparities.  I grew up as middle-middle class in an upper-middle class town.  When I go to cities for conferences, or as a tourist, I am scared equally by all colors and genders in slightly rougher areas of town. (I say slightly rougher because I ame petrified of the truly bad parts of town.)  I also scorn the upper class with a truly bourgeois attitude.  And if you talk the way I expect my peers to talk, I could really care less what tint your skin color is.

This attitude is becoming more prevalent as we civil rights and post-civil rights individuals come to the fore.  The people who are scorning other races, often do so because they perceive that race to be lower socially than they.  There is enought “poor trash” out there to be applied equally to all races.

And yes, people can get out of the trap they are in – if speech therapy were funded in poor area schools, the children going through them will have an increased chance for success in our country.  And the world.

 Enough soapboxing.  If you somehow ended up at this page, I hope it made you think a little bit.

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