I would not have survived the 60's

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 20, 2017, 7:22 PM | comments: 0

I'm always late to the party when it comes to seeing movies, I guess because I'm the parent of a young child, but I finally saw Hidden Figures, a film I couldn't wait to see because, duh, space program, and also I'm fascinated by the people who were key to social change in the 60's. I can't believe that I was born only a decade and change after that period, and the overlap of the space program with the civil rights movement is something that I never even considered. It's an important movie will brilliant performances. Even Kevin Costner did OK. I'm pretty sure that Janelle Monáe could be my next Hollywood crush.

I don't know if I would have survived that environment. I mean, dudes had to wear a tie, go into an office and apparently put greasy products in their hair. Oh, and it was socially acceptable to hate people for their race or gender. This would infuriate me at all times and likely cause a meltdown. I'd be angry, all of the time.

Would I though?

There's an argument that has persisted for decades that we are a product of our environment when it comes to much of our belief system. We're born into ideologies that serve as our first lessons on nearly everything in life. (I'll again plug the notion that, as a therapist once told me, if your parents weren't good at relationships, your odds aren't great either.) This suggests that if you grow up wearing a sheet and go to Klan meetings, you too might end up a racist.

There's growing evidence that environment may play less of a role than it used to. Research suggests that about half of Americans have changed religions in their lifetime, if not abandoned it entirely. Few beliefs are as sacred as religion. Furthermore, while we may have a long way to go, objectively issues of race and gender are far better than they were 50 years ago. Progress happens despite exposure to negative things. Why? Because slowly but surely, we allow our morality to be what it is.

If I look at the attributes of my personality, assuming that many of them are in someway predisposed, then I'm going to assume that I'd be on the right side of history. And I'd be angry in the 60's.


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