Generational Morés

Met up with an old friend from high school today, seeing her for the first time in a decade (and her two adorable children!), and we talked about all sorts of things that old friends who haven’t hung out face-to-face in quite some time talk about — memories, shared acquaintances, future plans, past experiences, etc. But the most intellectually invigorating part of the conversation regarded the differences between our generation (18-34 roughly) and older generations (and younger, as well). This friend of mine — we’ll refer to her just as C. — is politically progressive and a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA equality, as are 81% of U-30s according to this recent poll. And, as anyone who’s ever read this blog or a tweet of mine knows, I myself am a gay man. Anyway C. raised some really great (and ever-more true) points regarding the younger generation that certainly has played out in national and state-level politics — that it’s no longer socially acceptable to oppose LGBT equality. Poll after poll has shown that practically everyone knows someone in their family or group of friends who’s queer, and the stigma surrounding queerness has shifted to the point where the black swan in the group is the one who opposes LGBT equality.

More broadly, C. went on, is that among our set (she’s 28, I’m 27), it’s not just equality regarding sexuality that’s de rigueur but also as regards gender, ethnicity, income, etc. that takes priority. Now perhaps that’s a bit optimistic yet, but I think it is hard to argue against the fact that socially we’re moving ever more in the direction of judging individuals by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, their naughty bits or whom they love. This, coming so quickly on the heels of the bleak times of the Bush years, when individuals so often were gauged by the extent of their loud “patriotism” represents a sea change in American society on par with the social revolution of the mid-to-late 1960s. We are truly going through a transformational period, and one that brings with it greater openness, tolerance and acceptance of the full panoply of lives present in contemporary American society. Having come of age politically during the Bush years, this sense of optimism regarding the future of American social and political life feels out of place, but it’s a feeling I can’t help but embrace. Old white conservative hacks aside, the United States is moving confidently in the right direction. There’s room for optimism.

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~ by Benji on 28 March 2013.

4 Responses to “Generational Morés”

  1. I love how optimistic you are. You are putting your finger on the key, huge goal which is reaching towards EQUALITY. I agree with you – I do think it’s coming, but in countries like Jamaica I truly wonder if it will ever happen. We seem busy creating divisions for ourselves… I think America is riding on one of those amazing waves. When it reaches the shore, the results will be remarkable. It gives me hope for the rest of us.

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  2. Thank you! It’ll happen in Jamaica eventually as well; it wasn’t that long ago (why I referenced the Bush years) that I could never have imagined this sort of structural change coming to the US, and it’s happening so quickly. The trend globally is on the side of equality, and, as Dr. King said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

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    • Eventually… But as I have said, this is such an entrenched patriarchal, traditional and conservative society that is slow to change. I dunno. You are right though, things seemed SO bleak during the Bush years. I love that Dr. Martin Luther King quote. I must remember it. Justice is a word on everyone’s lips here, but mostly in the context of “where is justice?” It is so sad.

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      • It is one of my favorite quotes from the man I consider the greatest American who’s ever lived; we still have a long way to go here and I fully recognize you do in Jamaica as well, but it’ll happen. From the papacy to conservative societies in CONCACAF and CONMEBOL to the Middle East and Asia, progress is continually moving in the direction of justice; at different rates albeit, yes, but in the right direction. I have faith that a world in which skin color, gender, sexuality mean no more than one’s eye color is within reach. I have to believe that and believe it with all my heart.

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