Originally Posted by WT Sharpe
I look at racism in books written prior to the Civil Rights movement in the 60s very differently than I do racism in books written since. The phrase "consciousness-raising" was used extensively in the 60s to describe the process of enlightening the unaware and awakening the sleepers. Many people simply never had taken the time to challenge the assumptions with which they had been raised, which is hardly surprising as people generally don't change their learned ways of thinking and acting until something or someone first makes them aware that a change is needed.
Very true. I was in Rhodesia (later to become Zimbabwe) in my formative years - 11 to 18 - and at first just accepted the status quo (not as bad as South Africa, but still very much along the same lines), whilst still trying to treat everyone equitably on a personal level. It was only when I was asked by one of the locals to teach him to speak and write English that I started to see the iniquities and try to do something about it.