Last night Evelina and I finally watched the Butler and it was as good as the hype it received in 2013. It is hard to believe that it was only a few short years ago that our world was like the scenes in that movie. I try to imagine any world that would create the hatred and violence toward another human being because of the color of skin (be careful with whom you surround yourself).
I imagine the fact that a white, middle-aged man is sitting typing this in 2015 and about to publish it openly would validate the sit-ins, protests and marches Dr. King advocated so many years ago.
The movie got me thinking about how much the world has changed in the last 60 years.
When I was a kid in elementary school there were no pick-up lines. You got dropped off and then eventually you were picked up. Sometimes by mom or dad, sometimes by a neighbor or relative and sometimes we walked. But, if I recall there was no direct communication with the school about any arrangements. No one was concerned about us getting kidnapped and they had very little reason to be.
My elementary school was in my neighborhood only a few minutes from the house and in the summertime it provided ample imagination material for play time. There were creeks, woods, a huge field, a playground and a sewer system! Yes, I said a sewer system. Now we didn’t realize that playing in the sewer was not the best of ideas, we only knew it was an adventure and away we went!! We would be gone for hours with no way of calling home.
I remember pumping gas as a kid. I thought getting to pump the gas was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Anyone from the states remember the question the attendant would ask?? That’s right: regular or unleaded?! Believe it or not, there was a time in life that you could buy leaded gas, but the use of this fuel was banned in the 1990’s. Oh and it cost about 30 cents per gallon! (see how ads have changed).
Roads have changed the landscape of Charlotte. We now have a beltway around the city that has made it easier to get from one side of the city to the other without having to traverse the uptown area. I remember as a kid leaving Charlotte and visiting my grandmother in Pineville, the town I live in now, about 20+ miles south of the city. Back then it would take us about 40 minutes to make the trip whereas it only takes 15-20 minutes now. No more back roads!
The size and weight of cars has changed incredibly. Very little steel is used in cars these days, but back in the day cars were built like Sherman tanks! Huge metal bumpers, massive chassis and armor-like panels were the norm. I remember being able to jump around in cars like there was no tomorrow while driving down the road. After all, seat belts were not required to be worn; not even by children!
I remember when I was in my first year at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte my girlfriend’s mother bought this thing called a Word Processor. It allowed you to type a document and save it for editing!!!! Prior to this I had to type out my work, edit the page, then retype the document. It took hours! The word processor changed my college life!
But I would say the two huge technological developments have been the mobile phone and the internet. Back in the day you could only speak to someone on the phone if they were at home or at work. Other than that, you simply had to wait. Man it is hard to remember those days. Parents waited up worried sick when kids had not returned home from playing all day. People could get disconnected from their “world” by simply going for a bike or car ride for a few hours. No one had a clue where you were.
Remember waiting on the newspaper or nightly news?? Before the internet there was one time each day to catch up on the news: 6:00 pm! And if you missed it, you missed it. Reading the paper and watching the nightly news was the way you kept up on current events. Now we have information at our fingertips, literally. The iPhone has more technology in it than the computer that put a human on the moon! Imagine that! We are inundated with information and receive updates on events as they happen; real-time!
Change Your Mind, Change Your World
But as you can imagine, the biggest change in our world has been the change of the mind (read about being Open-Minded here). Our world is different now because we no longer spray other human beings with high-pressured hoses, attack them with German shepherds, burn them in buses, string them up in public, tar n feather, skin them alive, oppress on plantations, etc. I understand we have a long way to go, but comparatively speaking, we have come a very, very long way.
We are much more accepting, compassionate and understanding than we were 60 years ago. Hopefully the next 60 will show the same.
I live by a saying that I picked up a few years ago: “err or the side of inclusion and you will not look like a fool in 50 years.” I would say those white folk in The Butler looked very foolish with their vile name-calling, violence and world views. And it is this reason that I err on the side of inclusion. In the year 2055 I do not want my kids or grand kids to look at me as a fool as I see those people from the 1950’s and 1960’s.
“Err on the side of inclusion…”
A thought for a very, very hot Monday morning…