There's probably nothing I enjoy more than to have long inquisitive discussions with teenagers. I'm sure there are others who would disagree, but I find these chats to be incredibly interesting.
Tonight's exchange was no exception.
My friend's daughter's "best friend" has been partying lately though she's only 14 and recently turning this age. We all got out the "you better be careful" scenarios so we could "scare" her straight. She could have cared less what we came up with.
That was until we got to the heart of the matter.
My friend was saying that the world was a safer place when "we" were growing up. She then went out on a limb and said that before our childhood era there were even "better times."
I immediately protested and pointed out that these supposed better times were probably not for women or minorities. She referred directly to the period of the 1950's as an example of the hay day of safety for us all. I'm sure if she had thought it out she would not have said it, but I replied that yes for men who beat their wives this was a really good era.
To make my point clear, my friend's daughter is black, and I mentioned that if we were in the 50's, that this kid would be probably be our "maid,"and not our friend. She would also have had to endure the idea that black people were still being "hung by ropes" and mistreated in every imaginable fashion.
This kid didn't like that scenario, she bit back: "Just hang me bitch."
I told her in no uncertain terms that indeed they would probably hang her just for sassing back to a white person during certain times in our country.
We forget that black women had some tough times during history. A maid would probably be a good job for a black woman.
First, unlike others who could hide their minority status--say queers, light colored, religious minorities such as Catholics or Jews, women of color had to face a hostile world head on. And amazingly they made some progress. Against all odds of course which is what makes the story even more remarkable.
There were many people who gave themselves, their lives up so we could all enjoy our freedom. Not just the black or Indian women, who may have sacrificed more, but all of us who can call a politician a "cunt" and sleep well at night.
The concept of freedom has been on my mind since I left Europe with it's video cameras taping those who may or may not "eventually" break the law.
A blogger in London was arrested for calling a local politician a cunt and this may just be the beginning of a new "big brotherly love."
It's paranoia and big brother is here in America too hiding out in congressional bills that remove our privacy such as with the internet or when boarding a plane or possibly even our freedom of speech.
This young black girl would rather have been hung than to be our maid, and I don't disagree with her attitude. We as a people worked, slaved, died to get our personal freedom to the degree that it can be at this time, and to see it slip backwards might be, for some, considered a fate worse than death.