I’ll give you a clue as to how old I am: when I went to school, bullying was not a word. Bully was a word, but it was always used as a noun, never as a verb. Bullying is a gerund, and back then, school kids knew a gerund when they saw one, but the word bullying did not exist.
All through grade school and high school, I never saw a physical fight, nor even a verbal altercation. Everyone got along with everyone else and there was never any name calling or verbal abuse, much less knife fights or pounding with fists. There were no “mean girls,” no gangs, and no one carried a gun to school; mass murder, as at Columbine, was far, far in the future.
What was the reason for this school paradise? In a word: diversity. There was a complete lack of diversity. Everyone in my school was of the same race and the same ethnicity. I lived in a town where the people were more than 50% German-American. The word diversity, as used today, was unknown.
In the 1940s, little boys typically wore overalls, or corduroy pants with suspenders, to school. Little girls always wore dresses, never pants or shorts, in the classroom. Note the complete lack of diversity in the classroom.
Before I went to college, I had never seen anyone who was of Greek or Italian or French ethnicity, and certainly not anyone who was Asian or Hispanic. Even in my college classes, there were no Asians or Hispanics or African Americans. There were some Jews, but they had their own sororities and fraternities; they didn’t mix with the other students.
At school dances, when I went to college, there was always an intermission when all the students faced the Confederate flag, and with our hands over our hearts, we sang “Dixie.” I kid you not. My college was in a part of Missouri known as “Little Dixie.” Frat houses flew the Confederate flag. Bullying was unknown on our segregated campus.
Many parts of Missouri, where I lived, were still segregated back then, including my home town. African Americans were allowed to live in the town, but they had their own schools and churches. Other nearby towns were “sundown” towns where a sign warned African Americans not to let the sun set on them in this town.
One time, a teacher in my high school assigned everyone to write a paper about their “nationality.” Back then, nationality was the term for ethnicity. When asked “What is your nationality?” no one ever said “American.” Our nationality was the country from which our ancestors had come to America. In my school, there were only three possible answers: Germany, England or Ireland.
We didn’t need to have a Holocaust survivor to come to our school to teach us how to be tolerant and to stand up to bullies. Every kid in my school was already tolerant. We had one student with a wooden leg, one retarded student who didn’t graduate until the age of twenty, and we even had one cretin. No one made fun of these students or taunted them. There were fat kids and skinny kids, but no one was rude enough to mention another student’s weight.
In my grade school, the desks had ink wells, but no little boy would ever dream of dipping a little girl’s pigtail into the ink. Every student at my school had a fountain pen, and at recess, our favorite activity was trading fountain pens. Every day, my classmates and I would have a different fountain pen. That was the kind of amusement we had. The photo above was obviously staged.
When I went to the home of one of my classmates for supper, I always knew that the food would be exactly like what we had at home. Everyone in my town dressed the same, listened to the same kind of music, and attended a Christian church. Everyone had the same values and the same morals.
Race was something that we studied in our geography books. Everybody was a racist, but back then, it was considered normal thinking. Political correctness was unknown, except at Columbia University, where it was called “cultural Marxism.” The concept of political correctness was brought over from Germany by Jewish professors who were kicked out when Hitler came to power in 1933.
Yes, yes, I know that nationalism and racism are bad, and political correctness and diversity are good. Diversity is what makes America great. America is a melting pot and that explains why America is the greatest country in the world. Without diversity, America would be like Nazi Germany: We would have Gleichschaltung* with everyone thinking and acting alike. Before you know it, we would have a Holocaust in America. Diversity is what keeps America divided and safe from the unthinkable.
* Gleichschaltung is a German word coined by Hitler. It is too complicated for me to explain it to you, so google it yourself.