Skip to main content

Generational Change and the Inevitability of Racial Progress: A Debate

Two views on race, time, and the recurring promise of generation gaps.

In a recent Roundtable discussion of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, Journalist Cliff Schecter noted that he is often struck by how his two adolescent sons think and speak about race compared to previous generations.  

“They don't think twice about who [are] their friends—black, white—they're supportive of everybody. Their schools teach them to be that way,” Schecter said, noting that before he was born, interracial marriage was still considered controversial and outlawed in many states. Schecter went on to say that there are still plenty of racist systems in place throughout society, but he thinks that people will become more aware and educated as new generations replace the old. 

Political activist Richard Franklin III, however, was not convinced. As counter evidence, Franklin cited his experience during the ‘60s and ‘70s, when poor black and white kids were sent to war together, and when the Counterculture believed it could remove every vestige of racism and oppression throughout the society.    

“Every generation has the same conversation, and thinks, ‘We're going to change it. Look at how we think differently,’” said Franklin.   

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

Watch the full panel: