For those of us who lived through the ’60s and the Civil Rights Movement, “Selma,” which has been playing at the Homer Theatre this week, is a sober reminder of what our country used to be like.
I was only 13 years old when the Selma to Montgomery march took place, but I remember the tension on the evening news and my parents’ concern for what seemed like a crisis in the United States. My parents talked about it at the dinner table, and my older sisters had very definite opinions about the need for change.
It’s that history we experienced that defines our generation, and our attitude toward fellow countrymen and the rest of the citizens of the world.
Here’s how it’s changed: When my sons talk about their friends and I discover later that the person they spoke about is a person of color, I’m very proud and pleased that their friend’s race was never a consideration in their description of that friend. I grew up in a household where Jewish, Black, Asian, Eastern, American Indians and other minorities were people we actively cultivated as friends because we were making a conscious effort toward inclusion, support and change.
In my sons’ world, there’s no thought process that requires that kind of effort. Either a person is worthy of being their friend, or they’re not.
For parents who lived through that period of change in the ’60s, I can recommend “Selma” as a way to show their children what this country was like, and how far it’s come. Still not perfect, but much changed for the better. Go see “Selma” and then have your own dinner-time discussion.