judyblume Judy Blume
“Kids in US don’t know either– Who was Adolf Hitler?”
I have to react to this. Kids don’t know their history today, do they? I certainly hope so. When I was old enough to go to the library by myself, I found myself caught up in books about history, or more specifically, books about the Holocaust. I don’t know why. I think I was just amazed that people let something like this happen. To my tween self, this was astonishing. I would stare at the pictures of concentration camp victims looking more rail-thin than I’d ever like to see anyone and read anything I could find about that time. I can honestly say I don’t know where this came from- it’s not like my parents were avid History Channel buffs, making me sit through countless hours of war documentaries. I would go home from the library and watch cartoons, like anyone else my age. I think these readings instilled a sort of protectiveness against anyone being discriminated against (a feeling possibly magnified by hearing about the social stigma of A.I.D.S. patients), something I still have to this day. I never understood where there should be any societal stigma against anyone, and you know what? At that age, I never had any prejudices instilled in me. No one ever talked to me about how they didn’t like so and so, or why I should stay away from “those people”. Of course, at that age, I was surrounded by siblings and people my age, no one anyone would be particularly wary of. Today, I can say I’ll talk to anyone, and don’t feel the need to worry about anyone. To me a “shady” character is someone actually “shady”- ready to rob you, rape you and/or kill you. “Shady” to me doesn’t equal eccentric, outspoken or anything remotely non-conformist.
All this being said, I do think that we give younger generations no credit. Sure, high schoolers nowadays are assumed to be more preoccupied with MTV, Facebook and the like, but that doesn’t mean that as a whole they know nothing about history. More kids are graduating from high school than ever, right? And attending (and graduating) college too? It’s hard to assume that the leader of the Third Reich has been missing from their studies entirely. As time passes from the world-changing events of the 1930s and 1940s, coming generations will see less of an impact from what went on. Simply put, people are just busy living their own lives. It’s not to lessen the significance of all that went on; it’s just that the modern-day teenager doesn’t go around talking about Hitler. Maybe 10,12 years ago with the incidents of Columbine still heavy on our minds, but not now. Instead of focusing on drawbacks, we should focus on the possibilities. Maybe kids in the U.S. don’t know their Hitler because as it turns out, Hitler’s actions are less felt than ever. Forget the Aryan Nation he wanted; America’s currently seeing a rise in the Latino population, which is presumably going to be the majority in the next 50 years. I say, “Take that, Hitler! While we will certainly never forget you, we certainly won’t let what you did impact our lives anymore….”