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_ScottG_
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Boom! Reactions and Discussions

Hello All,

I am looking forward to the discussion of this book. As I read through the introduction, I remembered why I was and am drawn to the 60s. Personal admission: I was all of the ripe age of 1 in 1968. I have always, however, been fascinated with the era. Primarily, I look at the social and civic movements of those times with a sense of awe and inspiration. I am also even more fascinated as I look at the 40th anniversary of that preceding Summer of Love, marked in Detroit where I was born with the worst riot that the US had encountered in recent memory. Perhaps because of that event or merely the evolving and changing ideas of the 60s that I have always been intrigued by the era.

All of this leads me to two questions:

Brokaw starts by almost immediately noting his rather "typical young white male of the time (late 1950s). p. 5)" He is a Boy Scout, he gets married to his high school sweetheart, he even attends Sunday School; drugs and social changes seemed far away. He then visits NYC. He also notes his time in California. He notes the vast differences in these encounters from where he grew up, even still trying to "sort out what happened and what it means for us in the twenty-first century." (p. 27). Two things:

A) This observation suggests that the 60s seemed almost bi-coastal in its initial origins. Do you (and the rest of the book) agree? Would that observation relate to today?

B) Brokaw notes that the 60s began after Kennedy was shot (p.11). Do you agree? What are your impressions of the 60s?

Looking forward to our discussions. I'm currently reading the chapter on King ("He Had a Dream", p. 39) and contrasting it with "A Dream Fulfilled and a Dream Deferred", p. 287). I can post reactions to those chapters or we can discuss any other possibilities as well.

Happy New Year,

With Kind Regards,

Scott
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substitutor
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Re: Boom! Reactions and Discussions



_ScottG_ wrote:

(1)He notes the vast differences in these encounters from where he grew up, even still trying to "sort out what happened and what it means for us in the twenty-first century." (p. 27).

Two things:

(2.1)A) This observation suggests that the 60s seemed almost bi-coastal in its initial origins. Do you (and the rest of the book) agree? Would that observation relate to today?

(2.2)B) Brokaw notes that the 60s began after Kennedy was shot (p.11). Do you agree? What are your impressions of the 60s?

With Kind Regards,

Scott




1. When it comes to sorting out what happened and what it means I initially had a rather bad reaction to this statement. Mostly because the 60s in so many ways are treated not as history but as a current event. Indeed, Brokaw's own book does just that. He is a reporter after all. He is getting the recollections of those that participated in that time from 40 years later. Even so, it dawned on me that Tom Brokaw is actually doing a good job of getting these thoughts down. He isn't so much trying to figure it out as he is trying to map the turrain for those trying to figure it out as well. Although he does find it difficult to separate himself from his interviewee, I find this retelling is a fresh look at the major events of those times.

2.1. I really have a hard time with the idea that these events only happened on the coasts. The change wouldn't have nearly so dramatic if there wasn't the midwest to contrast it with. History is about change and continuity and the struggle between humanity's desire to have both. But let's not forget, the Chicago Convention. Not exactly a bi-coastal event there, either.

2.2. Noting that the 60's began after President Kenedy was shot is almost a little too convenient a marker. After all, the build up to the civil rights that we know of so well in the later 60's started in the late 50's. (Even then, those changes have their initial germinations in WWII.) However, for the drama of the story that Tom Brokaw wants to tell, it is a handy starting point and it helps to sell his idea that that was the time that the Democratic Party was torn apart. I'm still waiting to see how he envolves the Republican party into his argument, but I am getting glimpses.

Those are my thoughts for now. I got to get out of my office.
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WCABBall
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Re: Boom! Reactions and Discussions

Certainly the idea of radical change in the 60's spread throughout the country as the later part of the decade emerged. To say it origin was bi-coastal could be arguably true. Historically mid-America is very conservative and your reference to it corresponding to today would be accurate. When you look at the voting breakdown, the middle part of America (outside of large urban areas) tends to vote conservatively. However, the movement for change in civil rights and an end to the Vietnam war seemed to touch every part of the country as the decade proceeded.

Brokaw's claim that the 60's began with the death of RFK is a little broad. Certainly the wave of change had long been a part of the 60's and even the later 50's. What seems to have really began with the assasination is the utter loss of hope. Activist, students, and many others in America had real hope in their ability to change this country through people such as MLK and RFK. The death of these two men, back to back, was a huge blow which put the whole idea of the 60's into a whirlwind. Brokaw references that loss of hope among many in the African America community. They were able to deal with one loss, but the second was to much to bear. The death of RFK, therefore, does seem to have been a real turning point in the direction of the 60's. Did the 60's start there? In my opinion, no. Did it change course there? It appears that it did.
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JarJarBinks68
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Re: Boom! Reactions and Discussions

[ Edited ]
As far as looking at the change into the 60s as a bi-coastal event I would almost have to disagree. I think it was all encompassing of the US. Because CA and NYC were two of the biggest and most populated areas they got a lot of the attention, but look at the middle states, New England, and even the South. They were all in a state of flux. The two coasts got more attention in this because they were the areas where change would begin to be seen, they got the publicity, and they were noted to be more closely associated with the liberal left wing. This last observation is only made b/c many people still perceive the era as being a shift from conservatism to liberalism. Both of these geographical areas are still seen as where activism starts although for some of us the east is more closely associated with conservatism.

I do think that there is a potential relationship between now and then when you look at the bi-coastal reactions to war. If you pinpoint this to a discussion about the current involvement in the Middle East and the war on terrorism I would almost say that they are updated versions --- to a degree. I have yet to see too much in the line of protests whether peaceful or militant against our involvement. There is a lot of potential for our current war to turn into another Vietnam and become a war of attrition on our part.

On the second point that the 60s didn't begin until after JFK was assassinated I tend to disagree. The 60s began as the 50s ended. There was change in the air with the beginning of the new decade. People were seeing the shift long before Jack died. If not beginning in 1960 itself the 60s definitely started with the election of JFK to the presidency. He was young, vibrant, and had a lot of appeal to the younger population (those youngsters of what Brokow would call the Fifties kids). Take that and the fact that he was the first Roman Catholic to be elected and you have the makings of the great upheaval to society and politics that the era was supposedly so noted for.

~JarJar~

Message Edited by JarJarBinks68 on 01-04-2008 03:27 PM
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JarJarBinks68
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Re: Boom! Reactions and Discussions

I'm thinking more that Brokow felt that the 60s began with the death of Jack Kennedy. He was seen as the epitome of the change in society that the decade was known for - young, fresh minded, vibrant, etc. He was seen as a beacon that others would follow. Once he was assassinated he was taken away and chaos sort of reigned for some.

Add to that the deaths of Dr. King and RFK and you can see why the idea of the 60s being the era of upheaval is perpetuated. All three events caused chaos and they built on each other. Jack's death was bad enough, but take away Dr. King and then Bobby... I can see where the mindset was going and why tension continued to build.

~JarJar~
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WCABBall
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Re: Boom! Reactions and Discussions

In quickly reading the question, I mistakingly referenced the death of RFK. However, I still believe that to say the 60's began with the death of JFK would be inaccurate. A more accurate statement would be to say that the 60's began with the election of JFK. While hesitant, JFK did move the country toward civil rights legislation and I believe he intended to move us further in that direction. Certainly, the situation in Vietnam was not fully developed until long after JFK. However, the spirit that led the protest movement during the late 60's was the spirit of challenging the norm. The desire to push the boundries of what was acceptable behavior did not begin with the death of JFK. That desire can be seen in the early 60's as evidenced by the election of JFK.
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_ScottG_
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Re: Boom! On The Dream and Imus Chapters

All,

A very good discussion! I think that we can safely assume that wherever (and whenever) the 60s started, we can all agree that MLK and JFK (and later, RFK) were key parts of it.

I do have to agree with one poster who noted that the segmentation of history seems slightly forced. For example, Brokaw's "starting point" of the 60s being linked with the death of JFK seems slightly odd, at least in terms of the 60s as a lens for Civil Rights (particularly the Black Civil Rights Movement) when major African American civil rights leaders were active much before that (arguably, one could contend that the movement for African American equality lay with the writing of McCune Smith, a contemporary of Douglas-- both of which were quite influential in public discourse leading into the Civil War.) Certainly, however, the rise of MLK as a national orator has been noted, including in this book, as a major theme of the 60s. Historically, MLK was preceeded by and greatly influenced by Medgar Evers, who was active in the 50s and whose death, prior to the assasination of Kennedy, certainly affected MLK as it did the rest of the movement.

With the rise of MLK as the book noted, however, there is a distinct counter reaction that is becoming more apparent nationwide. That is, King made the Civil Rights movement more apparent and, arguably, more internally organized. Having noted, the counter response (particularly in the case of Wallace, see p. 66) almost appears to indicate that responses to King were also grounded in the perception of being attacked. For example, he notes that Wallace appeals to the Southern population by claiming "Yes, they've looked down their nose at you and me for a long time... . Well, we're going to show them there are a lot of rednecks in this country.' He was surrounded by a posse of smart, hard-eyed men.... They were lawyers and businessmen, shrewd and calculating... ." (see p. 63)The response to Wallace's rhetoric, of course, was hardly a genteel formation of anti-elitist culture. Indeed, if the response from the top of page 67 is any indication, the end results were quite frightening.

My question from all of this discussion are the following:

1) MLK obviously had a major affect on the 60s (note that Young takes great exception to him being honored in the same breath as Malcolm X, see p. 62). Was the anti-MLK response grounded in the perception of elitism, racism, fear of change, classism, or even a supposed claim of being "pro-heritage"?

2) The title of this chapter is "He Had a Dream." Some have argued that the Dream has not been realized (with Jena 6 or Imus, also noted in a later chapter, or even, some argue, the sabotage of the Dream from within the African-American Community itself). Others suggest that the Dream has entered into a *totally* different definition than in the 60s. After all, we are in a "Obama takes Iowa" era.


I look forward to your thoughts and our discourse,

'regards,

Scott
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WCABBall
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Re: Boom! On The Dream and Imus Chapters

The anti-King response was based primarily on racism and a perception of elitism among many throughout the country, not just in the south. It is hard to believe but I know many people who truly believe themselves to be better people simply based on the color of their skin. This elitist feeling is not based on merit, scholarship, or any other factor. Certainly, a fear of change and of a loss of power and control also played a huge part in the violent response to King and the movement as a whole. The idea of hiding all activity under the umbrella of pro-heritage is ridiculous to me and I am a white male from the South, directly in the target area for such ideology. Why defend and promote a heritage of hate and racism? While I am proud to be a southerner, I am not proud of many of the things that have been done in the name of pro-heritage or pro-states rights.

In regards to the second question, I feel that there have been significant advances since the 60's in civil rights. Those advances, such as evidenced through Obama, are hard to deny. However, it is also true that the dream has not fully been realized. Dr. King stated that he dreamed of a day when people from all races would play, eat, and worship together. While this is in some measures true, Sundays at 12:00 still tend to be the most segregated time in America. We still don't eat together or play together. There have been advances in opportunity but not in life. When it comes to living, we still primarily seperate into groups. I think Brokaw is correct when he indicates that our present world has made it impossible to talk about race and without that talk this problem will always exist. The book indicates that the issues of race are harder to confront now than in the time of the 60's. At that point the real issues and feelings concerning race were addressed, even though they often involved violence. Today, both white and blacks are hesitant to discuss race among the races. I know that in working with people of different races, I am really careful with anything I say because of the feeling that I could be braded racist. As Dr. Steele put it, being braded a racist is one of the most damaging things to a white person. Because of this, many white people are scared to even approach the subject. If that is the case, how can we ever truly talk about and work on our differences. Dr. Steele may have been right in his feeling that many in both communities don't really want to fix the problems of race in America.
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bentley
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Re: Boom! Reactions and Discussions



_ScottG_ wrote:
Hello All,

I am looking forward to the discussion of this book. As I read through the introduction, I remembered why I was and am drawn to the 60s. Personal admission: I was all of the ripe age of 1 in 1968. I have always, however, been fascinated with the era. Primarily, I look at the social and civic movements of those times with a sense of awe and inspiration. I am also even more fascinated as I look at the 40th anniversary of that preceding Summer of Love, marked in Detroit where I was born with the worst riot that the US had encountered in recent memory. Perhaps because of that event or merely the evolving and changing ideas of the 60s that I have always been intrigued by the era.

All of this leads me to two questions:

Brokaw starts by almost immediately noting his rather "typical young white male of the time (late 1950s). p. 5)" He is a Boy Scout, he gets married to his high school sweetheart, he even attends Sunday School; drugs and social changes seemed far away. He then visits NYC. He also notes his time in California. He notes the vast differences in these encounters from where he grew up, even still trying to "sort out what happened and what it means for us in the twenty-first century." (p. 27). Two things:

A) This observation suggests that the 60s seemed almost bi-coastal in its initial origins. Do you (and the rest of the book) agree? Would that observation relate to today?

B) Brokaw notes that the 60s began after Kennedy was shot (p.11). Do you agree? What are your impressions of the 60s?

Looking forward to our discussions. I'm currently reading the chapter on King ("He Had a Dream", p. 39) and contrasting it with "A Dream Fulfilled and a Dream Deferred", p. 287). I can post reactions to those chapters or we can discuss any other possibilities as well.

Happy New Year,

With Kind Regards,

Scott




Hello Scott,

I am not sure that the "60s" seemed bi-coastal (although Brokaw's observations seem to focus on California and New York City. I think the 60s probably embodied adults who had been children in the depression and war years who became parents and then had their own children to raise. I think this generation sparked the liberalism and free thinking attitudes that seemed to evolve from their offspring. They had gone through a great deal and wanted their children to have what they did not have. More than likely they indulged their children and some of these attitudes took hold with the pendulum seeming to swing to the other extreme. Not everyone was involved with this undercurrent and like everything else it passed. I do not really agree that the 60s began with Kennedy being shot but I do agree with many other writers who have written how that event seemed to change everything about America, politics and the psyche of the country.

Regards,

Bentley
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Curt42
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Re: Boom! Reactions and Discussions

History is a constant flow in which things lead into each other and overlap so to set a specific day or event as a start or stop point. Life is not a 30 minute TV show or movie that everything neatly fits in and raps up in a specific time frame. Even for those events that seem obvious there are questions. When did World War II start? Pearl Harbor? September 1, 1939 when Germany invade Poland? When Japan invaded China? Depends on ones perception and what they are focusing on.

To me the 60's started with the election or JFK. We had all like Ike, he lead the country to victory in Europe in WW II and had been a good president in the 50's, but he was older and black and white TV made him grayer. JFK was younger and more vibrant. His wife was elegance and charm and he had little children of his own. JFK came in with a bold plan, "The New Frontier", that although times were good this was going to make society as whole better. A lot of what he proposed did not come to fruitation in his life time, but it was a bold step forward. As to when it ended, I am not so sure. Probably the US pulling out of VietNam in 1974 would be a good point, but the ending of the 60's is even less clear than the start.
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jimmackin
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Re: Boom! Reactions and Discussions

[ Edited ]
Scott et al - I was concerned that Brokaw, writing as a journalist, would have the history suffer. But I am pleasantly surprised as his memmoirs make for intimate personal history and, more importantly to me, he is organized around major players and themes. The personal anecdotes softened me into the bigger stories of what was going on (and I was 15 when JFK was asassinated). These broad themes of Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, etc. come together to create the 60's as we understand it. Each one is a book or a course of study by itself. (I highly recommend the 3 Taylor Branch books about the modern civil rights movement.) Brokaw achieves an effective educated feel for the 60's with his mix of anecdotes and journalism. So far it's fun and educational. I'm a softy for learning about what are usually called footnote people in history. My favorites so far are Allard Lowenstein and Thomas Gilmore. I'm looking forward to more key players and hoping that Woodstock gets some attention.

Message Edited by jimmackin on 01-14-2008 11:24 AM
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Oldesq
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Re: Boom! On The Dream and Imus Chapters

Can you tell me the process for creating a new thread? I think the discussion would be more nuanced if we created threads that correspond to the divisions in the book. E.g., "he had a dream" should be one thread. That way we can discuss particular events/ parts of the book without danger of spoilers.

While I, like jimmackin, also enjoy hearing about people who are footnotes in history- I think Brokaw has tried to walk a thin line and not always successfully- being a journalist but trying to be one of the relevant crowd at the same time. I have found the writing to be fresh and interesting and the participants in this "high school reunion" are impressive.

Oldesq
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fordmg
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Re: Boom! On The Dream and Imus Chapters



_ScottG_ wrote:
All,

A very good discussion! I think that we can safely assume that wherever (and whenever) the 60s started, we can all agree that MLK and JFK (and later, RFK) were key parts of it.

I do have to agree with one poster who noted that the segmentation of history seems slightly forced. For example, Brokaw's "starting point" of the 60s being linked with the death of JFK seems slightly odd, at least in terms of the 60s as a lens for Civil Rights (particularly the Black Civil Rights Movement) when major African American civil rights leaders were active much before that (arguably, one could contend that the movement for African American equality lay with the writing of McCune Smith, a contemporary of Douglas-- both of which were quite influential in public discourse leading into the Civil War.) Certainly, however, the rise of MLK as a national orator has been noted, including in this book, as a major theme of the 60s. Historically, MLK was preceeded by and greatly influenced by Medgar Evers, who was active in the 50s and whose death, prior to the assasination of Kennedy, certainly affected MLK as it did the rest of the movement.

With the rise of MLK as the book noted, however, there is a distinct counter reaction that is becoming more apparent nationwide. That is, King made the Civil Rights movement more apparent and, arguably, more internally organized. Having noted, the counter response (particularly in the case of Wallace, see p. 66) almost appears to indicate that responses to King were also grounded in the perception of being attacked. For example, he notes that Wallace appeals to the Southern population by claiming "Yes, they've looked down their nose at you and me for a long time... . Well, we're going to show them there are a lot of rednecks in this country.' He was surrounded by a posse of smart, hard-eyed men.... They were lawyers and businessmen, shrewd and calculating... ." (see p. 63)The response to Wallace's rhetoric, of course, was hardly a genteel formation of anti-elitist culture. Indeed, if the response from the top of page 67 is any indication, the end results were quite frightening.

My question from all of this discussion are the following:

1) MLK obviously had a major affect on the 60s (note that Young takes great exception to him being honored in the same breath as Malcolm X, see p. 62). Was the anti-MLK response grounded in the perception of elitism, racism, fear of change, classism, or even a supposed claim of being "pro-heritage"?

2) The title of this chapter is "He Had a Dream." Some have argued that the Dream has not been realized (with Jena 6 or Imus, also noted in a later chapter, or even, some argue, the sabotage of the Dream from within the African-American Community itself). Others suggest that the Dream has entered into a *totally* different definition than in the 60s. After all, we are in a "Obama takes Iowa" era.


I look forward to your thoughts and our discourse,

'regards,

Scott




On MLK not getting the same honor as Malcolm X - They are different personalities with different agendas. Malcolm X was a true revolutionary - he and his followers felt that MLK wasn't proactive enough. MLK wanted his people to fit into society Malcom X wanted to change society.
MG
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fordmg
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Re: Boom! On The Dream and Imus Chapters

I agree with Brokaw's perception that the '60's have stagnated. By bailing out on race society has not integrated blacks into the mainstream. The feeling is that people are entitled. Many blacks have taken advantage of opportunities and excelled, but then the majority don't accept them. Consider the complaints of Barak Obama 'not being black enough'. What is that suppose to mean? It's back to the Malcom X complex. Not to join in an equal society, but to change the society. Change to what?
MG
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substitutor
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Re: Boom! On The Dream and Imus Chapters


fordmg wrote:



On MLK not getting the same honor as Malcolm X - They are different personalities with different agendas. Malcolm X was a true revolutionary - he and his followers felt that MLK wasn't proactive enough. MLK wanted his people to fit into society Malcom X wanted to change society.
MG




Let me preface this by saying that I'm not an MLK/Malcom X scholar. I can be wrong and need a better education on this topic...

I have to take exception to your summary of the difference between MLK and Malcom X, Fordmg. I don't think that MLK wanted 'his' people to fit into society. First, I don't think he was so full of himself as to think that any people were 'his'. His behavior, I can't say has ever suggested that black people change to fit in. Rather, his behavior has always been modeled to force the rest of society to accept black society as it was, fully and with open arms.

In the different meanings of the word 'revolutionary,' however, I can't disagree with your definition of Malcom X. Keep in mind, the word 'revolutionary' can be used in the sense of a long term, pro-active group fighting for change.

Furthermore, I'm not sure MLK would/could be labeled as a revolutionary in that sense. But, he did allow for an epiphany in thinking when it came to race relations, which was that there was a way to fight for human dignity without losing your own dignity in the process.

I don't know. But so far, that's what I think.
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va-BBoomer
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Re: Boom! On The Dream and Imus Chapters

1. The southerners of today still live with and pass on the attitude that Blacks were originally slaves, and therefore will never be more than that, and therefore second-class citizens. Some of this attitude can be seen in the North as well, from transplanted southerners from the time of slavery and also transplanted bigots as well. I believe there is a social class hierarchy in the attitudes about Blacks. The generations that came from original plantation owners passed along this belief and history about slavery, while the bigots and rednecks, lower class whites, passed along this attitude with often a lot of physical threat behind it at the slightest Black 'transgression'. The anti-MLK response comes from all of this. Malcolm X was, I agree, a revolutionary. While the same ones who hated MLK hated Malcolm as well, his enemies turned out to be within his own race. MLK was killed by a white man; Malcolm X was killed by Black men who supported Louis Farrakhan, and some have said Farrakhan was part of this group.

2. "I Have A Dream" still continues. While a lot of progress has been made - a Black man couldn't even dream of running for President in the 50's; if Obama had been alive in the 50's and tried it then, he would have been shot for sure - Imus just blabbed out what a lot of people carry on as prejudices and iconic references to Blacks that are far from gone in the attitudes of Americans, no matter if Northern or Southern.
For history, one only has to read The Color Purple to see how Blacks can sabotaged and treat each other with much cruelty. This still goes on today: as long as children give ambitious, hard-working students a hard time in school because they are successful, and the drugs and shootings continue and good innocent people are killed, the sabotage continues and will continue.

I lived in the south for 7 years in the 80's; the prejudice continued, but for the most part, very, very underground. A very Christian lady I got to know very well told me she was raised to be prejudiced, but even back then in the 40's and 50's, she didn't see why that had to be. But she didn't dare to say a word about how she felt.
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WCABBall
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Re: Boom! On The Dream and Imus Chapters

"The southerners of today still live with and pass on the attitude that Blacks were originally slaves, and therefore will never be more than that, and therefore second-class citizens"

I am not sure you are meaning to do this, but it certainly seems that you are implying that all-southerners of today pass on an attitude of slavery and that blacks are second class citizens. If this is the intention, being a southern white male I must state that your assumptions would not be accurate. I would like to think that I and many others in the south have gotten past this narrow view of society. I would be the first to condemn past Southern transgressions, some of which are still present, but to act as if there has been no progress among attitudes in the South would be to unfairly portray our community. By the way, the transgressions of the past are in no way confined to this geographical area.
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scottg2007
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I will try to move the above discussion to a new thread. Please continue.

[ Edited ]
Message Edited by _ScottG_ on 01-23-2008 01:11 AM

Message Edited by _ScottG_ on 01-23-2008 01:12 AM
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_ScottG_
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Re: Boom! On The Dream and Imus Chapters

All,

Sorry for the delay in responding. Beginning of the new term-- bit hectic. Again, my apologies.

"It was the year that they bad guys were cutting off our dreams." Gordy notes this sentiment in response to 1968 on page 272. In terms of cultural happenings, politics, the assassinations of both MLK and RFK as well as the result from escalating tensions within urban areas, the dream of a dawning of peaceful age seemed foregone (Newark and Detroit had already experienced some of the worst riot based violence in their cities' histories, ditto Watts, ditto Philadelphia). The 1968 Democratic Convention weighed heavily in the social collective mind of America. Of course, Vietnam was raging.

The latter half of "Something's Happening Here" seems to indicate that, despite all of these situations, there was a belief that the dreams and hopes envisioned in the movements and shifting ideologies of the 60s were still alive and well.

Oddly, it appears that America may have been developing a distinctly dichotomous relationship within its own borders. Simply, was a hope for change being met with a argument that enough was indeed enough? For example, the beginning portion of the "Aftershocks" indicates that "the rise of the evangelical movement was a response to the 'anything goes' spirit of the Sixties." (p. 286). I recall that only a few weeks ago Bill Clinton noted one's reaction to either the escalation of hope or social extremism of the 60s is often noted as a stereotypical indicator of one's political affiliation. As Brokaw continues as p. 286 "Everyone agrees the 60s were consequential. But where do we go from here?"

What is the heritage of the 60s? Rove suggests on p. 373 that the decade is "a sign of what elite opinion can mean" and points on p. 375 to the reaction of "the materialism of the 60s and the self-fulfillment of the 60s, what was that all about?"

Is that the heritage of the 60s?

Steele notes how many groups are still dealing with hastily generalized beliefs that, he notes, are grounded in responses to the complex reactions toward and about race from the 60s. He also notes that "the 'enormous moral evolution' of white America from the 60s to the present is one of the greatest untold stories of our time." (p. 324)

Were the goals of the Enlightenment in terms of race furthered in the 60s or were the 60s a powerful response to suggest that the "bad guy dream killers" could not, should not win?

In the same way that it is impossible to point to a region of the Country and suggest that all of its residents were either for or against social progress (yes, as several episodes in history can suggest, the Mason Dixon line did not set boundaries on racism and social progress for all was still a dream in a good portion of American cities) one can't point to the 60s or groups therein and easily reach a conclusion. Indeed, even the Cheney family notes the contradictions of the conservative culture of the 60s (see p. 390 for more detail).

Have the cultural and political groups active in the 60s been rightly portrayed and considered?

Would the rise of the two front-runners of the Democratic ticket been possible but for the actions of the 60s? Was Hillary Clinton rise indeed crafted in the actions of the 60s? Would Obama's rise have been possible otherwise? From even a cultural, popular perspective, what effect, if any, did the music of the era have on our social and collective nation?

Please feel free to discuss any of these questions. If any of them lead to a split thread, I'll be happy to do so.

Looking forward,

Scott
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Re: Boom! On The Dream and Imus Chapters

Definitely, I shouldn't have been so wide-spread with my answer. I realize I made it sound like it was the majority of southerners with the second-class attitude towards Blacks, and I did not mean that.
But I was greatly disturbed with the undercurrent of racism I felt around me. I did not feel hardly any of that at a nearby university, but among the fundamentalist middle and lower class whites away from the university town, it was there, even in a very minor vibe. And this was confirmed by my close friend, a born-and-bred Southern Baptist who was the first person in my life that epitomized the desired and claimed trait of Christian tolerance. She had been raised to be prejudiced against Blacks; she had been raised that they were second-class citizens, which was typical for the early 1930's era during which she was a child. But what floored me was that she said she was puzzled the whole time, because to her it just didn't sound right to feel low about any other person, and with that, as with all her other feelings about people, she was completely color-blind.
I'm trying hard to remember exactly how I felt that there was still an undercurrent - which my friend agreed with, by the way, though she said it was nothing like the outward expression of racism she grew up with. I left the South in 1987, so it has been a while. I guess I felt an aura of strong caution and barely-disguised suspicious observation when there were Blacks among Whites on the streets and in buildings - people who were strangers to each other. I do remember that there were visible friendships among Whites and Blacks - that sure barely existed if at all in the 50's, and when my friend was growing up.

"I would be the first to condemn past Southern transgressions, some of which are still present, but to act as if there has been no progress among attitudes in the South would be to unfairly portray our community."
I agree with you wholeheartedly. There has been, as I illustrated above, a lot of progress since the 50's. I guess I was disturbed in that there was still an undercurrent. I know of course of the Klan, etc.; my unease was with the 'regular' folk who wouldn't dream of being in the Klan, but were among the undercurrent of caution among Blacks who were strangers, and even distant acquaintances.

"...the transgressions of the past are in no way confined to this geographical area."
How well I know this; the North has no right to any 'halo' in comparison to the South. For example, the riots of Newark, Philadelphia, etc. were visible reactions of the Northern Blacks to the bigotry, prejudice and subtle and not-so-subtle segregation dumped on them in the North. I think Blacks were safer overall in the North, but they were still forced to know their 'place'. Quick example I was reminded of recently: Black musicians were often prevented from performing in 'white' clubs.