Monday, June 18, 2018

Boomer Naivete

This concept has been in my head, but it was put into words by two other people on Twitter today. First Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) of Slate wrote:

I think we’re witnessing, with the Trump era, how many Americans explicitly understand citizenship and deservingness to be a function of whiteness.
And then Angus Johnston (@studentactivism), professor of history at CUNY, wrote in response:
What's striking and disheartening to me, as a historian raised in the seventies and eighties, is how brief the period of acceptable-opinion consensus to the contrary actually was.
As I've written before, it's odd to be part of a generation that grew up assuming the way things were is the way things are — that living wage jobs were possible without advanced education, for instance, or that debtors prisons were a thing of the past — only to realize it was a bubble. Some of the things I thought were a consensus (like civil rights for all or that the extreme income inequality of the Gilded Age or 1920s was inherently bad) probably weren't exactly a consensus, but they were at least the acceptable-opinion consensus, as Johnston puts it.

It has taken me years to accept that what I thought was reality was only a blip. But it's the reality I work to create.

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