Short Comment / Thoughts on Social Justice, Generations & Memory
Memory’s Destruction and its twists and turns, are present in many forms.
The links between personal forgetting/remembering dynamics and social forgetting and remembering can also be linked to proximities to Dominant Nation-State maintenance and social engineering.
The memory of Non-Dominant groups in today’s social contexts, are often languaged as “being lost” and “occurring in the past” and “long forgotten.” However, there are many who do remember, in many ways, across generations. However, modern dominant science, which is a multiple array of forces into the social and cultural realms, deny memory outside of books and people and monuments, including museums, as one example. The spaces of memory, and what is considered false, untrue, fiction, and what is considered legitimate and “true,” are then more easily controlled and formed by the Dominant groups (institutionally, professionally, gendered, raced, aged, nationalized, urbanized, etc.)
Time and Space, then, can also be fragmented along the same lines, often controlled. Space and land is controlled, most often, through military-legal structures of dominance. Dominance could be long-term strategies or direct confrontations. Often, dominance goes unnoticed, maintaining or intensifying dominant privileged groups.
Inter-generational issues in relation to social justice are often hampered, disfigured and blocked by our internalized notions of time, memory, and nation-building.
Older people may practice adultism, in an adultocratic world, structured in our national and transnational projects, concerns, memories and ways of governing. Younger peoples are often left out or outright discriminated against, often without our knowledge, as it is not seen as any particular problem, as so-called “self-evident” maturity is unmoved.
Younger people may practice ageism. In progress and innovation, the younger are sought. Younger people may not want to listen to their parents anymore, view them as closed-minded, old-fashioned, passé, old (as supposedly “bad”).
Structures of various groups practice both ageism and/or adultism as a norm, without thinking. There is a fragmentation between generations. Memory is lost (of the elders). New memories formed by the new generations prioritize themselves. The stories and experiences of the older generations are often “used” to prioritize things that may or may not benefit transgenerational life (from a social justice point of view, not speaking of some morality). Benefit, the word itself, is also seen different from different positions and language acquiring moments. What I am talking about is “benefit” as toward social justice, healing, awareness, democratic impulses. I do *not* believe in any ideal.
In fragmentations, then, between generations, there is a fragmentation of time. There is, at the moment, the crisis of representation.
Here, Johannes Fabian is a good person to read, in relation to Coevalness. Being Coeval, in being in synchronic time as opposed to putting people in temporal differences that demote or privilege certain things, may be a useful model in critiquing the problem of the ignoring, promoting, denigrating, forgetting, uplifing, and critiquing the experiences of the elders in relation to those non-elders and younger peoples (In their contradictory, diverse, and contested varieties). It is not just with “the Other” that we must address this problem of proximities to extinction discourses and the genocidal impulse in relation to self-governance. How we have different “times” and “representations” within OURSELVES is also a point of examination.
In the present, WITH HISTORY and its many battles and traumas and joys, what can cross-generational work look like, in working for social justice? At present, I see social justice groups created by those who identify with oppressions, divided along the lines of age, race, nationality and political affiliation. We must, yes, be with those with similar and shared goals, but we must also have difference.
For Black Amerasians such as myself, this is a very important topic that must be addressed. The discourses and frames of mind that control the representations and therefore the directions and actions onto mixed-race and transnational bodies continues to be violent and untenable.