Cliff and I both love All In The Family; we even have the first three seasons (the best ones) on DVD, and when there's nothing on TV to interest me, I turn to Archie Bunker. That show lays bare any prejudices we've ever had in this country and makes me laugh at my own weaknesses, as well as the foibles of others.
My granddaughter, Monica, has watched a few episodes with me and Cliff, and enjoyed them thoroughly. So last Friday, cooped up in the house with two very restless girls on a "snow day", I suggested we watch "All In the Family".
One of my favorite episodes is the one with Sammy Davis, Jr. He leaves his briefcase in Archie's taxi and has to come to the house to pick it up. Archie is in awe of his famous guest, but all his prejudice against blacks come through... and Sammy makes fun of him in his own subtle way, without Archie ever catching on. It's hilarious. So I chose that one, thinking the girls would get a kick out of it.
The thing is, I was dealing with two little girls who don't know what prejudice is. They sat there looking puzzled, not cracking a smile; so I tried to explain.
"You see, Archie is prejudiced. He thinks he is better because he is white." They nodded, but still looked confused.
Sammy takes a sip of beer from Archie's glass, so of course Archie won't take another drink from that glass.
"See, he thinks he's better, so he won't drink after Sammy," I said. Seeing the lack of comprehension in their faces, I gave up.
Why should I spoil their innocence? My daughter has done something right: her kids don't understand what prejudice is! Maybe there's hope for the next generation after all.