The not-so-good-old days

Sharecropper’s family in Washington County; circa 1935.
Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration

When the present world has changed in ways we don't like, it's easy to get nostalgic for "the good old days." It's also easy to appropriate our parents and grandparents nostalgia too. If only we could go back to the day when men were men and women were women. If only we could go back to the time where "traditional family values" were the norm. If only we could go back to when our country was made up of people like us and not overrun by "foreigners." If only, if only. But what was it like in reality beyond the sepia photographs and romanticized accounts? I would argue, that the good old days were only good if you were in the privileged class.

If you go back before the 2nd wave of feminism, this was prior to the 1965 Immigration Act. It would have been extremely difficult and perhaps impossible for members of my family to immigrate and become American citizens. I can't speak for my African American brothers and sisters, but have you ever asked them if they, their parents, or grandparents considered Jim Crow the good old days?

Read more here.

  • Editor's Note: Please click here for my father's family account of the "good old days." - AW