Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why, when I was just a boy....

This past week, I was reading one of my fat acceptance blogs and a guest blogger was featured critiquing an article written about China's totalitarian government and the horrors of communism.

The critique did not revolve around the political aspects, or about the inanity of this old trope of communism = bad. Instead it posited that the article was racist because in condemning Chinese society as conformist and rigidly controlled by a government prone to totalitarianism it was really condemning the Asian value of collectivism.

I was very confused by this. I read the original article and no commentary on collectivism was given. Indeed, if the name of China had been deleted, this article could have been describing the Soviet Union it its heyday. I wrote a response along those lines.

Over the past several days, I've been thinking about this...and it struck me that I don't know the age of the writer of that critique. It is entirely possible, indeed probable, that she is at least 10 years younger than I am. This would mean that our experiences and understanding of the way in which communism has historically been viewed might be vastly different.

It got me thinking about the many things that I remember from my younger days and how it impacts and informs the way that I process things that are going on in my world today.

For instance, how differently do I view the speech that Barak Obama will be giving tonight...I who grew up post-civil rights and see racism in its subtleties, but was spared seeing its full-out brutality...compared to the man who stood with MLK on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on this day so many decades ago.

S is 13 years older than I. He has some of these memories that I don't, and his experience of the world sometimes startles me in its difference from mine.

Okay, that's all my thoughts for today. You all stay cool today!

1 comment:

Aravis said...

Yes, it's interesting how generational differences equate to such varied responses when faced with similar events.