The Baby Boomers And Civil Rights: A 50 Year Retrospective

by Martin W. Williams
File under: Baby Boomers31 Aug 2013 14:05 EDT

The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington quite appropriately coincides with the graying and (hopefully) pending retirements of the generation that has taken up the movement's mantle. As we Millennials come of age, it would be helpful to bear in mind that our current conception of civil rights, and racial issues more generally, are the designs of the figures who currently represent the movement, i.e., the Baby Boomers, and not the figures whose names and reputations they have co-opted. As we have mentioned previously, Brown vs. the Board of Education was handed down in 1954, when the Boomers were still attending school sock-hops. What happened in between that point of optimism, and the totally fake situation we live in now, in which a (half) black president, a figure head existing on a merely abstract level, is supposed to be compensation for the daily degradation and misery of the millions of actual black people living in this country?  

Simply put, the Baby Boomers, black and white, turned the idealism such figures as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Malcom X represented into a fake brand of 'civil rights' politics. Notice that all those figures had to face true danger to achieve their respective goals, including jail and, as we now know, credible death threats. By contrast, a quick look at the lives of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson does not evidence nearly the same degree of vision and courage their predecessors bore. Whatever happens, in 100 years people will still remember MLK more than these men, since they turned what he started into mere routine 'activism', perpetual outrage without an accompanying vision of a better society. Civil rights turned from a movement for the empowerment of black people, toward a marketing campaign that their own 'leaders' would use to exploit them. 

Today, insofar as the black community is concerned, we have reached the end point of this social course. Since Reconstruction, there has never been a worse time to be young and black in America, as a failed school system, a culture of extreme neglect, and the incredible hypocrisy of their elders have left young people quite literally without a future. Sadly, all these forces prevent even an ability to properly articulate and solve these problems, resulting in the absurd amount of violence, since violence is nothing more than failed conflict resolution. One look at the incredibly depressing popularity of World Star Hip Hop tells us how far we have fallen from MLK's strong oratory. 

And the ideological parents of this lost generation? They are off in Washington DC, absorbed in the vain, and ultimately futile, task of trying to impose themselves on us enough so that they are forced into history alongside Martin and Malcom. The entire Obama presidency is little more than an exercise in this, an ignoring of actual issues in favor of the gratification of an extreme Baby Boomer narcissism, a need to force a fake progressive image down our throats.

Consider, as a case study, Roland Burris, an Illinois politician who received, in the midst of the Blagojevich scandal, an appointment to Obama's vacated Senate seat. He is another 'leader' in the mold of Sharpton and Jackson, and seems to measure the progress of the black community by the number of elections he has won and appointments he has received. Indeed, though he is still alive, he has already built his tomb, just in case we forget who he was: 

How apropos, that the living should so care for their reputation after death. They certainly aren't engaging while alive. Indeed, their own 'accomplishments' have ensured that the next generation probably won't get to see their own 40th birthday, at least outside of prison. 

Sadly, under their tutelage, civil rights has basically ceased to exist as a real, distinct movement. Instead, it has become something like a meaningless catch phrase, a syncopated form for the entire agenda of the establishment. Thanks to Baby Boomer inflation, everything is a civil rights issue, from education to gay marriage. The direct and meaningful claims made by the true originators of the civil rights movement are just a vague memory, a backdrop for a whole ideological package one must accept, lest one be considered racist. 

As is true for all of us in Fakenation, in the black community it will also fall to a small minority of relatively unknown, unaccredited, unaccepted cultural entrepreneurs to craft any kind of sane alternative to the mainstream. Mr. Tommy Sotomayor, an Atlanta-based radio host and Youtube personality, has garnered some popularity recently for his reintroduction of actual dialogue to the black community, though he faces death threats and racism — from fellow black people, who seem to have replaced their own identity with a white political ideology. He, for one, does not appreciate the modern expanded definition of 'civil rights':

But of course, 50 years later, we should also remember that, contrary to our bowdlerized, revisionist histories, MLK was also hated by most of the population for most of his life. This may be the key to the realization of a new movement for justice in our time — the finding of the courage to say what we think, despite the fading generation's attempts to shore up their collapsing legacy through de facto censorship. 

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COMMENTS

Anglyn Hays says:30 Jul 2014 7:38 EDT
No one bothers to "hate" the boomers. Valid criticism of the elders is still valid. The truth is, the boomers have failed at even co-opting the movements they claim to have originated. Civil Rights is as good an example as any, but there are many others. I value this article because it correctly describes hoe Civil Rights went from social movement to commercial position under the boomer's politics. The failures of the boomers far outweigh their limited successes back in the 1970s.
Marxist Fools says:03 Dec 2013 17:13 EST
You millenials sound exactly like the Baby Boomers you hate so much, going on and on about equality, love for humanity, and holding up destroyers as freedom-fighters. Tools. You love humanity because it is abstract and easy -- no one will blame you when you fail. You do not love your own extended families because that is real and hard.

The reason you Millenials hate the Boomers so much is because you are so much alike.
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