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Speak Your Mind: Shifting Norms

Social change is hard and sluggish. It takes a lot of time and work to change social norms and it’s totally exhausting. It’s easy to get really discouraged and burned out. Civil rights activism is not for the faint of heart.

However, one civil rights movement that really has momentum is the LGBT rights movement. Just in my lifetime, great strides have been made in the direction of equality. When homosexual sodomy laws were finally ruled unconstitutional when I was in middle school, marriage equality was barely a blip on my radar. And now? It seems like only a matter of time. These kids know what I’m talking about:

I know it seems like a long time coming, but the LGBT rights movement has gained incredible momentum in a short amount of time. I wonder what’s on the horizon?

What now-obscure civil rights cause will become obvious 10, 20, or 30 years from now?

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Mindy is an attorney and Managing Editor of Teen Skepchick. She hates the law and loves stars. You can follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


  1. November 12, 2013 at 4:44 am —

    A great topic to think about. I think the answers could fall in two areas.

    1. Causes that are not actually obscure but still sorely neglected, that could/should/would gain prominence.
    Some contenders among these are trans* rights, sex worker stigma, mental illness stigma, animal rights, body integrity for babies.

    2. Causes that may not be recognised as causes today.
    One example I think is discrimination against people based on intelligence. While defining intelligence is problematic, the vast majority of people probably don’t have a problem with such discrimination, but this is another area of privilege that affects every aspect of people’s lives that hasn’t been acknowledged yet.

    • November 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm —

      Oh those are interesting! I’m especially intrigued by discrimination against people based on intelligence. I’m having a hard time even picturing what a world without undo discrimination on the basis of intelligence would look like. It’s interesting to think about.

  2. November 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm —

    Literacy. I’m literate in English.
    If I talk about privilege, for me it includes – by accident of birth – white Canadian among whatever else. But, for this reply, I am anyways literate in English (rotten grammar notwithstanding).
    I recently came home to Canada from the US. At Customs there are now kiosks for my passport and declaration. I can pick one of several languages to proceed with. Then I get instructions in that language onscreen.
    I can of course ask an agent for help. Not long ago, everyone went to an agent so no one was singled out.
    The assumption is that I’m literate in one or more of the written languages. If not, I can feel singled out when I’m the one asking for help.
    (I wrote a much more professional letter to Canadian Border Services.)
    Since then, I’ve found (by observing a lot just by looking) many more instances where literacy is assumed.
    Having a diploma. Having a credit card or bank account. Rent or lease or buy or mortgage. Getting a paycheck. Buying groceries. Looking things up on the internet. Getting a flu shot. Following road signs and reading street addresses. Taking the cat to the vet. Knowing the names of medications and what they’re for. … lots of things.
    … back to Customs — Last I checked, literacy is not a condition of citizenship.
    If it is, we should post it somewhere in at least 6 languages.

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