As someone on the other side of 40, I only partly mean this title. I have felt despair and moments of fury when millennials disregard the insights and experiences of those who have been in a job for decades, preferring to recreate the wheel in the most inefficient means possible. I also love the acerbic comments of experts and grassroots activists older than me who have ridden through many ups and downs, professionally and politically.
But there is something liberating about some of the younger voices in literature and politics who are operating free of the confines of “how it’s always been.” To be specific, and I know I am sometimes coy about specifics on this blog, I loved the diversity represented within Marie Lu’s Warcross duology. Her characters were diverse in terms of ethnic identity, ability, gender, class, even nationality. None of these were flagged as problems or the focus of the story, just a way to reveal the world with clarity and insight.
I’ve noticed a similar trend in movies and TV shows, so much so that when I watch a rerun of an older show, I can’t get over how white, straight, and/or privileged everyone is.
Recently, I picked up a classic that would be worth reading but couldn’t get past the language used to depict difference. I remind myself this is a journey. If we manage to continue to break down the barriers of privilege, sometime in the future these examples I celebrate now may not measure up as well. The classic author I picked up was certainly forcing the reader to engage with difference in as advanced a method as was possible in the 1950s.
Still, it made me want to read more books that break away from what people over 40 sometimes claim is “just the way things are.” I am ready to embrace what should be, and I want to support authors *and politicians* who speak in those terms.
And don’t get me started on political analysts.