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1950s Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By toddpaul72
Words 1070
Pages 5
Todd Smith
Professor Terry Ruud
English 1201
April 24, 2014
The 1950s: Good or Bad? There are those who think of the 1950s as an era to be remembered, and there are others who think of it as an era to be forgotten. There are people who remember the 50s fondly, as an era we should emulate. Then there are others who think the era should not be forgotten [if only to remember the inequalities and injustices better left in the past]. Opinions will differ depending on who one asks and their backgrounds.
Let me begin by sharing an e-mail my mother received from her cousin just last night. I don't believe in coincidence; I believe this was divine intervention. This was truly God being God, knowing I needed all the help I could get with this essay:
One evening, a grandson was talking to his grandmother about current events. The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the recent shootings at schools, the computer age and just things in general. The grandmother replied, "Well, let me think a minute; I was born before penicillin, frozen foods, xerox machines, contact lenses, and the pill. There were no credit cards, laser beams or ballpoint pens. Your grandfather and I got married before living together. Every family had a father and mother. It was a time before gay-rights, computer-dating, and group therapy. Time-sharing meant spending time with your family in the evenings and weekends, not purchasing condominiums. You could buy a new Ford coupe for $600, but who could afford one? Too bad, because gas was $.11 a gallon. In my day "coke" was a cold drink, "pot" was something your mother cooked in, "aids" were helpers in the Principal’s office and "software" wasn't a word. We were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed husband to have a baby. (Sleeper)
Those that have fond memories of the 1950s remember a time when there was economic stability. The father went to work, and when the children came home from school their mother was at home waiting for them. The father’s wages were enough to put a downpayment on a house and live comfortably. Also, when sitting down at the dinner table together, the whole family would discuss how everybody’s day went. I believe television played a big role in shaping the 1950s. Shows like Ozzie and Harriet and Leave it to Beaver gave parents and children alike a family model to aspire to. Although I doubt any family had that type of fairytale life.
I am a little envious of the people who grew up in the 50’s because of the way they make it sound so utopian. One good thing about that era was that you did not have to worry about leaving the front door unlocked. Another benefit was that people actually took the time to get to know their neighbors, and the neighbors watched each other’s children as if they were their own. More importantly, they did not have to deal with all the different kinds of drugs that are so rampant in the communities across our nation today. I wasted many years of my life battling with my addictions. If I had been born in that era maybe I would not have been introduced to drugs at such a young age.
On the flipside of that same token, it was not all hunky-dory for everyone. Some fathers still abused their wives and children. Women and children were looked upon as their husband’s property and were not taken seriously, so nobody said or did anything about it. Incest was something doctors and authorities made children believe was a figment of their imagination. Since divorce was looked down on in the 50’s because of religious and societal pressures, it was difficult for women and children to escape the abuse. Yes, the job market was good and there was affordable housing, but for who? The white Anglo-Saxon male had good jobs and housing, but surely not the Jewish or Black person and many other groups that were discriminated against. Racism was the norm, not the exception. I doubt I would have even been allowed in the English class that I am currently in, if it were the 50’s. The “Little Rock Nine” did not even take place until 1957, and that was met with a lot of opposition and outrage. I am not even sure if my mother and I would still be alive if I had been born in the 50’s, her being a white woman and giving birth to a black child. It was a sad state of affairs in the 50’s, from a non-white Anglo-Saxon’s point of view.
I would like to recant my earlier statement. I am no longer envious of the people who grew up in the 50’s. For life as they so fondly remember it would not be the same for me, as a black male. Also, I could never imagine living without the instantaneousness of this day and age. Just about everything I would ever like to know or have is at my fingertips with the click of a mouse button.
One would like to believe that our society as a whole has progressed compared to that era, but one must wonder - especially after the defamatory and discriminating remarks made about the Coke commercial aired on T.V. during this year’s Super Bowl. The complaint was that the commercial was in several different languages, instead of English only, suggesting that the Coca Cola Company was unpatriotic toward America. These accusations caused quite a fiasco in the media. It seems that racial hatred and bigotry is still all too common. It is just done behind closed doors now because it is not as socially accepted as before. Unfortunately it is still alive and well in our society. Martin Luther King, Jr. reasons that “We must accept disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” (King) In agreement, I believe that we as a nation, have made leaps and bounds in this area and I hope that we continue to get better with every passing era.

Work Cited
Sleeper, Kay. “Re: How Old Is Grandma.” E-mail to Carroll, Rhonda. 29 Jan. 2014.
“King, Jr., Martin Luther.” Xplore Inc., 2014. 6 February 2014.…...

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