I started thinking about this after a lot of the discussion about the comments from the guy on Duck Dynasty. Yes, his thinking is still backwards and ignorant, but has society overall been making a change for the better with the way they treat people?
I'm looking to solicit opinions and observations from others of what they have seen in changes over the years. I'm 43, so I can remember back to the mid-70's and I am of the opinion that, while we haven't gotten all the way where we need to be as of yet, huge strides have been made.
One thing I notice is that the big changes always seem to start in the large metropolitan areas and then slowly work their way out to the rest of the country. Places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York always seem to be the cities where tolerance is highest.
I'm talking about all sorts of strides in terms of gender equality, child protections, rights and equality for people based on race, sexual orientation, whatever.
I know it wasn't until I was well into elementary school that it became a requirement that educators and doctors inform police of suspected child abuse. Even then, the abuse had to be physical in nature--welts, bruises, cuts, etc. were all that were viewed as abuse. What is now considered abuse in terms of emotional and mental well-being was considered a valid way to raise a child. One thing I remember is that humiliation of a child was often considered a 'good' thing, helping build character. I know my mother and stepfather believed firmly in it.
Another thing is how those who may have some mental difference are treated. People (including children) who had mental disabilities were often institutionalized. Developmental delays were often seen as an indicator of mental issues and given as reason for segregating children. My personal experience with that was a result of my bladder issues: after being transferred to a new school for the second time in six months (at the age of eight) I was having control problems and was back in diapers during the day. The principal at the new school wanted me to be moved over to the special education class because I obviously was mentally deficient. I was fortunate that the teacher fought him on it, seeing my medical issue as no indicator of other problems.
In the last several decades, our society has made great strides in equalizing how people are treated. While I don't think it is time to stop improving, I definitely think that we are moving the right direction.
What do you think?