The McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish, Old Movies and Diversity

By Lori Ross | July 2nd, 2014

BOOMER publisher Lori Ross reminisces about her childhood in Cincinnati's Western Hillls


Diversity wasn’t a part of my childhood in Cincinnati’s Western Hills … and that is an understatement. No, I’m not saying that I lived in a white neighborhood. That would still be too diverse. I knew no Jews, no Protestants, no single parents, no (openly) gay people, no Asians, nobody with English as a second language and nobody who would eat meat on Fridays.

MY CATHOLIC UPBRINGING: MORAL BUT INCOMPLETE

We were “fish-eaters.” My neighborhood was about 95 percent German Catholic. You literally have my neighborhood to thank for the McDonald’s “Filet-O-Fish”sandwich, developed in 1962 by the local franchise owner to feed us locals on Fridays, the day that Catholics abstained from meat during that era.

I went to Catholic schools through elementary and high schools, where we rocked our green plaid uniform skirts and knee socks. Through 12 years of daily religion classes, we discussed morality and right vs. wrong on hundreds of topics. I don’t remember any discussions about diversity, though. That being said, I wasn’t taught to hate or discriminate, either. As a topic, diversity simply wasn’t on the radar screen yet.

THE GOOD OL’ DAYS WEREN’TGOOD FOR EVERYONE

Recently, with Mom, I watched old movies from the ’30s and ’40s, the era of her youth. They led us to conversation about how everybody smoked like chimneys. We also talked about the other cultural changes that have so evidently occurred since then.

Mom, 95, commented that she now knows how bad a lot of people had it back then in terms of racial or social injustices. She feels bad about it now. But she didn’t know about it then.

EVERY GENERATIONHAS AN IMPACT

Tom Brokaw spoke of Mom’s generation as “the greatest generation any society ever produced” due to the huge sacrifices made on behalf of others during World War II. In many respects it was.

Yet the largest gains toward fairness and diversity in our country have come with later generations.

To my children and grandchildren, I have no doubt your generations will make great contributions to the world.

To my fellow boomers, “the me generation,” I think we contributed in helping change “me” to “we.”

“Everyday People”

Performed by Sly and the Family Stone

There is a blue one who can’t accept the green one

For living with a fat one trying to be a skinny one

And different strokes for different folks

And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee

Oh sha sha.

We got to live together

I am no better and neither are you

We are the same whatever we do. 

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