Sometimes I can be pretty naive. I became politically aware at a relatively young age in 1968. The riots, the war, the losses of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. hit me pretty hard and made me wonder about how we could ever move forward. But I found hope in the fact that times were changing, that as a younger generations stepped up and what I perceived as older, less tolerant generations died out there would be social progress, that racism and sexism could fade away slowly but steadily.
In the 70’s I became a little more nuanced, learning that racism held sway in all generations to some extent but still hopeful it was a dying breed. In the 80’s I was heartened with the establishment of the Martin Luther King Day we celebrate today. In the 90’s I thrilled to the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa as a sign that the progress was spreading internationally and that the day was nearing to put that all behind us.
I wasn’t quite so naive to believe that the election of Barak Obama was the start of a post-racial society but did view it as another signpost of inevitable progress. But over the last year, the emboldenment of white supremacists to take to the streets in defense of their vile philosophy has me very concerned. I thought that was all dying out but they’re still here and in new generations. I still believe we will get there but I am no longer certain it will be in my lifetime.
TOMORROW: The PARTY FACE discount offer