Words of violence once meant to lash out and hurt fellow humans now carry no weight. This is the situation our generation faces today. We have become desensitized to words of hate and violence that generations before us have been oppressed by and fought against because of the inequality that they represent. In a sense we have lost our way, yet gained something else.
Today’s media has changed us as a society. The Chappelle Show, South Park, Family Guy, as well as our internet and music industry, have changed the meanings of words and ideals that once haunted past generations. I see this as a path to change, by expanding the views of the public past the point that they are comfortable with, you are able to generate change and growth in a society.
Words have changed much during the growth of a language. When playing golf with my grandfather, who tends to have his own gruff sense of humor, he tends to throw out insults about my putting like “Why don’t you lift your skirt up Nancy?” This was probably the height of hateful insults during his youth, and probably caused many bouts of fisticuffs at the local soda fountain. Today however, no one would really be bothered being called an insolent whelp or a trollop.
At the same time, our generation is viewed differently by other generations. We are Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, a unique group with affluence with technology and possess a lower level of religious beliefs than any previous generation. Unlike our parents before us, we have (largely) felt no need to rebel against our parents, and as a group, are consider above the wars of culture that our parents and grandparents struggled through.
I am not saying that racism does not exist nor is it condoned. Nor am I saying that people were not offended by what was done in Claver; I am saying the meaning of words that once were symbols of hate and intolerance are losing their punch. While what happened in Claver this past week is terrible, the act reflecting the ideals of a sad and pathetic way of thought that is slowly dying out with each passing generation. No school mandatory meeting or theatrical displays will change something that has been allowed to fester and take root after decades. It is up to us to change what we see is unjust. This column is a call to arms of my generation, to educate and live these ideals of equality. For only then will our children, and our children’s children will be able to live in a world that is free and just.
My dream is that one day, when I’m old and grumpy; to be able to call my grandson names that today carry with them a huge weight. Hopefully, by the time that little brat is around, these words will be weightless.
– Sent from my iPhone