Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke
mount_oregano

Today is my birthday

Today is my birthday. Rather than wishing me well – enough people will do that already – wish someone in your life well and, perhaps, give them a little gift.

By way of celebration, here’s the Mindset List for my generation: I was born at the height of the Baby Boom. The Mindset List was first created in 1998 at Beloit College to reflect the experiences and world view of that year’s entering freshmen.

Students graduating in 2002 did not remember the Cold War. MTV had always existed for them, roller skates had always been in-line, and they couldn’t imagine hard contact lenses.

For this year’s freshmen, Google has always existed, The Lion King has always been playing on Broadway, and First Responders have always been heroes.

Us Boomers were the first generation to be explicitly marketed to. We survived the Cuban Missile Crisis. For us, spaceflight was thrilling rather than routine, and Ed Sullivan’s TV variety show was iconic. For me, Elizabeth II has always been Queen of the United Kingdom.

I learned to type on a manual typewriter, to drive with manual steering, and to make telephone calls by manually entering the numbers on a rotary dial. As a result, I’ve had to learn new skills, large and small, throughout my life.

When I was born, women could legally be discriminated against in the workplace and be paid less than men. Even married couples could be denied access to birth control. Women had limited access to sports and military service. African Americans could legally be required to sit in the back of the bus. They could be refused homes in any neighborhood that wished to keep them out, work in jobs where they weren’t welcome, attendance at some schools and universities, and use of Whites-only water fountains, among many other legal restrictions. Being gay was outright illegal.

For my generation, some of us haven’t always enjoyed basic freedoms. At least in a few ways, the world has improved over the years.

— Sue Burke

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