The elders been told you.

The religious establishment been told you.

Old school feminists been told you.

Before I was even born, American society had Cassandras warning us of the impending disaster. They told us that there would be unintended consequences of allowing mainstream culture to become more raw, vulgar, and sexually explicit. They asked us to balance rights with responsibility, asked us to consider our babies and the impact such a shift would have on their young, impressionable minds.

We were warned.

And we did not listen.

Those who expressed such concerns were written off as haters, uptight, religious prudes, and knuckle-dragging idiots, relics of an outdated time, unfit to even be heard. In my community especially, I remember their voices. In the 1990s I read numerous editorials magazine penned by Black women who were deeply worried about the hyper-sexualization of our girls. Brave souls critiqued the cultural pollution, more focused on standing on their convictions than being popular.

We were warned.

And we did not listen.

So here we are now, in 2020. NOW we are wringing our hands. With the growth of smartphones and social media, the decay can longer be denied. It is on full display, and as the cries of alarm escalate, I cannot help but think of what fools we were.

We thought we could hold fire in our hands without getting burned. We thought we could abandon decency and decorum in the mainstream culture, but somehow keep the children naïve and untouched. We foolishly thought they would not be impacted.

We were wrong.

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A native Seattleite and East Coast transplant, I have been interested in politics, religion, and race from the day I saw “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” on the bookshelf belonging to my BFF’s mom back in 1991. While my zealotry has thankfully diminished with maturity, I remain the deep thinking, passionate, and humble woman I have always been.

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