The segregation generation

I realize that most of the so-called greatest generation didn’t pick that moniker for themselves. Not that they were any too humble, mind you, but it was only one of their own, an overpaid talking head, no less, who came up with it.

A far more precise term would be the segregation generation, because theirs was the last American generation to promote and enforce heterosexual white people, particularly heterosexual white males, over everyone else.

Particularly blacks, but also Hispanics, Asians, homosexuals, the disabled and women of all colors. Segregation was the law in every state, supported by custom, politicians and the courts and there was no way around it. Until Dr. King decided to kill it. And did.

And, oh, how the segregation generation fought to try and keep it. And lost. Perhaps the greatest generation is their consolation prize. But it’s absurd.

4 responses to “The segregation generation

  1. Wasn’t it under our folks generation (the generation that fought WW2) that segregation was done away with? It had to be with their acquiescence, for the most part. Segregation was done away with in the military, and under assault in society at large long before the boomers hit the street. The Greatest Generation’s folks were a different story. But that was hard times and I suspect any way to eliminate competition was used.
    The GG was a rough bunch, no doubt, had to be, I guess. Roots in the depression, kicked up by their folks and then WW2 and Korea.

  2. Good could be said of them, and of their parents, the graybeards who held most of the political power. But by the time the 1964 Civil Rights Act finally, effectively banned segregation in voting, schools and so-called “public accommodations,” (it passed 290-130 in the House, 73-27 in the Senate), Dr. King had turned the country upside down—especially in the South (and to a degree in Texas) where segregation was most implacable and where most of the ones who actually “fought” WW2 came from. Southerners have always, disproportionately, fought America’s wars.

    By then there was grudging “acquiescence” by many of them (including in Austin) though not by my parents and their friends who were smolderingly resentful. As I remember it their noses had been pressed against the grindstone. They’d been shamed into it by the publicity given such as the mass marches and lunch-counter demonstrations (remember those), not to mention the killings and bombings of black churches, called to mind last night, by the church shootings in SC, though we’ve yet to find out why they occurred.

  3. Sennacherib

    That pretty well tells it Stanley. I remember playing on an all white basketball team in the old Anderson High School gym, quite an experience. I don’t remember any hostility beyond enthusiastic team rooting, but what 16 year old would really notice. Since all generations only have the times they live in and the experience of their elders to fall back on, it’s somewhat disingenuous to judge them by contemporary standards. After all what will future generations think of Ms. Caitlan, micro-agressions, and I’m white, but I can get down. Of course people have been thinking about these things long before I ever showed up hence, various religious teachings, philosophies, proverbs, etc that make the point that wrong is wrong, regardless of place and time.

  4. Of course it’s specious to label an entire generation, good or bad. It’s a news media game, with the assist of some sociologists. I’m just having my fun turning the most famous of the labels inside out. Partly because some of them were particularly nasty to us Vietnam veterans, driving some of us to spurn the unwelcoming VFW and American Legion and form Vietnam Veterans of America. Mr. Roof the SC killer is a so-called Millennial and his betters in that generation will now be called upon to bear the guilt of what he did, even if the majority of them would never do any such thing.