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Old 09-14-2019, 11:34 PM
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Location: Denver, CO, USA
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One thing my grandparents’ WWII generation seemed a lot more interested and concerned about than now was the ethnicity or religion of people. It was something they thought important to know and discuss; for example, if a family who was catholic moved in to the neighborhood, they would have been identified and appraised as the “the Catholic family” - with that characteristic given primary importance - whereas now I think somebody’s non-‘wasp’y qualifies would be an afterthought. Certainly, Black skin was even more notable back then, but being of other identifiable ethnicities like Italian (what my grandmother would refer to as Eye-talian) or Irish was considered an important part of describing a person.

Obviously, there’s a lot of discussion today about diversity, but back then it was more likely to be a shorthand for explaining how the person thought or acted. At least, that’s the impression I get.