It truly takes a generation.
It takes a generation to make the jump from one segment of the population to the other.
What I am talking about here is the jump for the ‘entitled white,’ the person who is entitled because of the color of his or her skin. When I talk of jump, I am talking about my own personal experience of going from a blue-collar class situation, going to college, and leaving behind the experiences brought about by poor immigrants leaving their homeland for the new world and a new life.
My experience and Mary Kay’s are similar and yet different. Her dad had made the jump and her mom did so without going to college. She was in pretty much the same position as our kids.
Going to college isn’t necessarily the only way out, it is just the most common, major way.
What I experienced and what I find difficult to explain to my progeny is that I had to find out everything on my own, search people and answers out, and little by little work into a different life situation. A simple thing like going to college comes to mind. When I was applying, I had the help of the college counselors in my school. MK’s question for me is always, “Why didn’t you apply to Harvard or Yale.” I answer that no one ever told me I could. I was limited by my own thought process that given my social security money amassed in the bank from my mother’s frugality, I was limited. I never thought I could attend anything but a state school in Ohio. Little did I know that I might have applied to Harvard and gotten a scholarship. My schools in Parma, Ohio, were sadly not good about giving me the info I needed.
To break out, I learned a new language, French, and I learned many a new language in terms of eating, drinking, what is acceptable, what is not, and how to morph into a person with different desires and expectations. In other words, someone who could fit in a different life situation.
I look at my children and realize that my struggles put them into a new position that unless they and their progeny choose otherwise, is theirs to maintain.
That person who drove up to the Château Frontenac on his honeymoon in a noisy yellow Ford Pinto is long gone. So are the looks of people who didn’t understand me or what I was doing.
I find that all fascinating.