I grew up in the 60s in a suburb of Buffalo, New York. Watching the movie Selma brought back a flood of memories for me.
Western New York wasn’t a hotbed of civil unrest or reform, but it was very ethnically segregated and I was surrounded by bigotry and hate growing up. Color and creed were both points of prejudice in Buffalo.
During the graphic hate scenes in Selma, I couldn’t help but well up with sadness for those who had to sacrifice so much for something as basic as voting rights. But it wasn’t just scenes from 1965 that made me so sad or the flood of emotions that came back from seeing bigotry in my youth, it was the knowledge that we still hold so many prejudices today.
Modern prejudices are more subtle and people have pushed them down below the surface to disguise them. Bigotry today is justified by national security or religious bias, but is no less a cancer that still plagues humanity.
Everyone needs to see this movie. Let it affect you and give you reasons to explore your individual prejudices. I’m auditing my own attitudes to see how much of my upbringing is still lurking in the dark corners of my brain. I’m frightened that I’m not as free of prejudices as I think I am… and that’s probably healthy fear.