Related to the topic, I was answering a question on Facebook about “how do we afford LGBTQ folk equality in a society that includes a group, minority or majority, of traditional folks?”
I tend to agree that the only real solution here is something like “development”. However, that has a few nuances, as I think we need to talk about both “vertical development” (e.g. the shift from amber views/values to orange, to green, to teal, etc.; also known as “transformation”) as well as “horizontal development” (e.g. the ever-changing surface features of each of these developmental stages; also known as “translation”.)
In terms of vertical development (transformation), the path is fairly clear — we wait for a plurality of people to grow into post-ethnocentric stages, and then legislation is created from those stages. What’s interesting here is, even though the legislation is coming from a smaller plurality of people (remember, somewhere around 60% of the population is at a solid amber stage, according to Ken), that legislation is then enforced across the entire society, regardless of your developmental stage. This is how we in the U.S. drafted an Orange-ish Constitution, despite only 10-15% of the population at the time actually being Orange, yet our laws (ideally) tend to hold all citizens to minimally-Orange standards of behavior. It’s how we did Civil Rights 60 years ago, despite only ~10% of the population actually being Green at the time. And we’ve seen it more recently with things like gay marriage, which hit a sudden tipping point of public support during the mid-to-late 00’s.
And then we have to acknowledge that the surface features of these stages also change over time as well (translation). Your Amber is not your grandpa’s Amber. We can see evidence of this in things like changing opinions about interracial marriage — for example, 60 years ago, a vast majority of people in the U.S. did not approve of interracial marriage — in 1958, only 4% of the total population approved of interracial marriage. Today, however, 94% of the population supports interracial marriage, which means the vast majority of Amber also supports interracial marriage. This is a total sea change! Progress always seems slow when you are on the ground, but if we back up a bit, it’s pretty extraordinary how quickly our public sentiments and values can change from generation to generation.
What’s tricky here, is that there isn’t a whole lot we can do in the short term to accelerate vertical transformation, other than fundamentally reshaping things like education systems, economic systems, religious systems, etc. Which I think we probably agree is virtually impossible to do.
However, there ARE things people can do right now to help with horizontal translation. When it came to things like civil rights and interracial marriage, one of the things that helped was a sudden flood of television programming that focused on Black families, particularly in the mid 1970s, which itself helped rehabilitate our common bigotries around the issue, and make any number of shared subjects into objects. (Note that much of this programming was not designed to explicitly shame ethnocentric people, but rather to humanize minorities so that they would be easier to empathize with. I think we saw pretty much the same thing with TV shows like Will & Grace and Ellen Degeneres in the late 90s/early 00’s, which I do think helped accelerate the adoption of pluralistic values in mainstream audiences.)
I think we are seeing something similar in our media landscape today, as we begin to see more and more representation for different ethnic groups and identities. I also think this goes way overboard sometimes — and when it does go overboard, it can cause people to begin to reject some of these new translations, so this needs to be done skillfully. But as a whole, I think it’s a positive thing and is probably helping to mainstream many perspectives that were previously marginalized in our culture.
But I also think this kind of media shift also has rapidly diminishing results in today’s world, because our media systems are FAR more fragmented than they were in the 1970s, when you only had a handful of entertainment options available to you, so we may need to find some new ways to bring these higher/deeper/wider translations into our culture.