Some people are of the opinion that racist and homophobic oppressions are at an all-time high, worse than ever. That kind of statement can, I think, be called demagoguery.
Conditions of minorities, while still unequal, are very much better than when I was growing up, when the ‘n-word’ was used a lot, and nobody openly objected. Gay men were a despised and persecuted minority. Bisexuals and gay women were little-known outside of New York and San Francisco, and Trans people were almost entirely unknown, as were all the other varieties of sexual orientation and gender identification.
On TV, the families were always White, and only Black people we saw on TV were athletes and musicians.
Although we are in no way done with racism and homophobia, we have come a long way since the 1950s. The mileposts of normalization and integration of Black people for the Boomer generation included the career of Sidney Poitier, the elevation of Bill Cosby to equality with his White ‘I Spy’ co-star Robert Culp in 1965, and the Norman Lear TV series featuring mostly Black people. Billy Crystal played the first openly gay person on TV in 1977. Interracial couples were rare in the 1950s, and 19 of 20 Americans told pollsters they disapproved.
Well, it’s different now. We have been transformed. It’s wonderful and getting more wonderful and more transformative. But some of us can’t seem to see it. Some want to not see it. Some want it to stop.
As you know, Bill Maher is a smart aleck, but he released a pretty good video this week that says all this better than most. He calls it ‘progressophobia.’
Rev. Leland Bond-Upson