Growing Up in the 1970s: Were We Horrible People?
I grew up in the 1970s, and I considered my childhood to be a pretty good one. Pretty normal, I think. And I don’t think I was a horrible person. But if you judge me by today’s standards, I was awful. If we judge by today’s standards, almost everybody was awful in one way or another. Except we weren’t.
It was such a different time in the 1970s. I’m not saying it was a better time, but it wasn’t bad, either. At least not according to what we knew and believed back then. And that’s all we had to go by. We told politically incorrect jokes. There was a whole series of Helen Keller jokes that we thought were a riot. I’d never tell such a joke today, but back then it was considered humor. Now it would be considered just plain mean. And rightly so, I guess.
Of course it’s better that we are more sensitive to people’s feelings nowadays, but should we be judged for past behavior that was once considered acceptable? Sorry, but I don’t think so. If we didn’t learn from the past, and if we refused to change and act more accordingly with the world we live in now, then you can judge. But I don’t think we should judge people on past behaviors that were not considered wrong at the time. Just to be clear, date rape was always wrong, so Bill Cosby doesn’t get a pass here.
I recently wrote an article about how some Dr. Seuss books would not be published anymore because they might be considered offensive by today’s standards. And I’m okay with that, although many of my peers are not. We should change and renovate. But we shouldn’t be judged or punished for doing what was considered acceptable when we did it. We've learned, so let’s move on.