A couple of weeks ago, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop. While working on a project, I couldn’t help but overhear a couple of older gentlemen talking about immigrants. Now, I currently live in Ottawa, Canada, so their discussion about immigrants was probably a bit different than I might have heard if I were in a coffee shop in a different part of the country, but more notably, the conversation would have likely been different had I been in an coffee shop in the USA.
I’m going to overgeneralize for a second, so I hope you’ll stay with me.
For the most part, younger generations are less racist than older generations. My guess is that this is because younger generations grow up having people from different ethnic backgrounds around them all the time. For instance, when I was in high school, it was normal to see people from very different backgrounds. There were people from China, India, the Middle East, Brazil, a whole host of European countries, and many more. If we rollback to the previous generation, scenes like this weren’t as common.
So, for generations like mine, it’s normalized to grow up with people who look different from you. In previous generations, this wasn’t the case. My guess is that this contributes to some of the latent (or otherwise) hostility that we typically see from older generations.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about my generation in comparison to generations past, but the true purpose of this post is a juxtaposition of the generations to come. As I said, it seems that past generations had a harder time than mine digesting the mix of cultures. For kids growing up today (in certain countries), it’s abundantly clear that there are people who look different from them and it’s just normal to grow up and be friends with people like this. My question, what is it that my generation will have a hard time with that future generations will see as natural?
I’d like to think that I and my generation will be able to handle whatever comes our way in the future, but I’m sure that’s what previous generations thought. As a result, it seems to me that there will likely be something that some folks from my generation have a hard time handling. Will it be something like what we see in the Men in Black movies? Meaning, will we coexist on Earth with beings from another planet? If that were to happen, it’s quite plausible that there’d be an echo of what’s happening now.
The next time you see someone being ethnocentric, consider the possibility that you might be exhibiting a similar behaviour in years to come.