What If We Were All Just Hippies, Beatniks & Flower Children?

Why have we fallen back into a society of racism and segregation? Why have we chosen to not only erase our history – the good, bad, and the ugly of it – but to weaken a generation or two along the way?

I have written before that, while racism certainly existed in my early years and into my adolescence, there was also the understanding that only those steeped in their own ignorance did what they could to indoctrinate others into following in their footsteps.

My formative years included the mid 60’s and into the 70’s. A hate-filled and divisive period to be sure. At the same time, it was also a period, if looked at closely, during which the younger generation – Flower Children, hippies, beatniks, you get what I am talking about here – were protesting three things, war, hate, and racism. 

Let’s consider this for a moment. Though some of them may have passed by now, there are still many from that time period still around. Me, I am a member of the Baby Boomer generation. It is those that came early in my generation (I am at the end) and those just before them that made up the groups I mentioned above. They preached unity, peace, love and understanding.

As I see, hear and read what is going on today, I have to wonder if they really understand what they are doing? The truth is, they do not.

Let’s think about ‘reparations’ for a moment. Have you stopped to notice most of the groups pushing this idea are made up of Caucasian people? That most of them are attached to a political effort or special interest? Of course there are African American members, some also connected to a political or other cause. A few are actually in favor or reparations because of what took place in our country 200 years ago when slavery was seen as normal. 

Ah, slavery. I suspect we have erased history to the point that those using it in the hope of being awarded a windfall of cash on the backs of those they may claim as ancestors, can no longer learn about slavery. Perhaps, they just don’t want to?

Slavery as it is being used in the fight for reparations, is black. It is attributed to a continent, Africa. While slavery has existed from the days of antiquity – perhaps even before – let’s focus on Africa here, 

Africa enslaved its own people if we are focusing on color. Many tribes were constantly at war with one another, and captured enemies were forced into slavery. Some of those brought to the “New World” had actually been slaves in their own country and sold or bartered to foreigners. 

Were there people who were simply captured and taken away? Of course. This was not a unique practice to that time period only. Slavery – stolen, captured, sold or bartered for – was common in areas of the world inhabited by those who had fallen prey to their own freewill.

Let’s get back on topic.

What does any of this have to do with racism and segregation today? I would suggest everything. Again, many of those trying to push the idea of reparations are those that will not benefit from it. Well, there is a bit of a caveat to that. The color of their skin will prevent any cash payout, but that is not their goal. What these people are doing is akin to modern day slavery. They knew when they started this conversation, if they could enslave enough African Americans with the promise of monies none of them have earned, they – the masters – will be reciprocated with votes and loyalty. Servitude.

Another part of this effort is making sure this group not only buys into the idea of possible reparation money, but helps spread the concept of hate and racial divide along the way. 

I don’t think I have ever written nor mentioned I work in an area of our radio group in which I am the only white person. Yep, the other three are African American. Hell, one of them is actually my immediate supervisor. I never think of it this way. I have every reason to believe they don’t either. Just four guys doing our best to make the news department the very best it can be.

I do hear them speak occasionally about experiences growing up, some good, some not, but not one of them has ever pointed a finger at me, demanding I owe them anything. I don’t know their position on reparations. Just doesn’t seem to be a conversation we need to have.

Maybe it is just me, but even as a conservative, I see no value in promoting hate, division, or racism. It is a trait I gleaned from home and my own ability to understand fact, and right from wrong. 

To even make a promise of reparations based solely on skin color is a weakening effort. I have recently seen a commercial for what amounts to be a Shark Tank/Who wants to be a Millionaire combo for black people. The message of this video spot is there are black people that are trying to launch businesses but need other black people to show them how. So, there will be a winner, what of the others that enter? What becomes of them?

Like others I have seen, this commercial uses the line, “there was no one that looked like me,” to drive home the idea that this is exclusive to African Americans only.

I, for one, don’t care for that line. Why must you choose your life’s path, your goals, business dreams, based on the idea of doing what someone that looks like you has done? This is tribalism and segregation. I am not suggesting one forget or ignore his or her heritage, I am only pointing out how crippling some of the messaging today can be, In some cases, even dangerous.

Native Americans. Asian Americans. Arab Americans. Even as we struggle to control the undocumented flood at our southern border, many scream out, “Our country was built on the backs of immigrant peoples.” Yes, but they had to come in either as slaves, or, in later years, via Ellis Island in New York, where they were stripped, examined, given a mark,  “decontaminated” and, those not rejected and deported, sent off to unfamiliar neighborhoods in an unfamiliar land.

Asian Americans – Chinese and Japanese specifically – would have a claim for reparations since their ancestors were also enslaved here, twice! Once, to build the railroads, and again following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Some of you will need to do some research. I suggest you start with Ghosts of Gold Mountain by Gordon H. Chang, or search Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Park County, Wyoming. When I was there 4 years ago, I toured what is left of it, which now includes a wonderful museum. I purchased a couple books, Heart Mountain: Life In Wyoming’s Concentration Camp, and Heart Mountain by author Gretel Ehrlich.

I wrote not long ago that, as a Caucasian man, I may be due something as my ancestors were no doubt eaten by lions and tigers for sport, but only after helping to construct cities, lavish dwellings, and buildings, maybe even a pyramid. 

If you have not noticed, we have allowed ourselves to be set back decades racially on the misguided promise of power and, somehow, exacting revenge for atrocities no one alive today had a damn thing to do with. Accusatory guilt cannot be proven, nor should it be rewarded or fined. 

I recently heard someone ask an aggressive young white person who claimed to be arguing for underprivileged African Americans. “Name one thing that a white person can do that a black person cannot.” The young person struggled to answer the question, choosing instead to repeat the standard verbal fare she and so many like her have been taught to repeat. Instructed to repeat. 

Can’t you see that reparations are not victory? What do you tell those African Americans that cannot prove their lineage or have Caucasian in their bloodline? Actor LeVar Burton, who played the young Kunta Kinte in ‘Roots’ recently discovered his great-great grandfather was a white man who served in the confederacy.

Better still, can’t you see all that is really happening in this effort by special interest groups and political leaders to use a race of people is nothing more than weaponization? The reality is, reparations is the boat that is taking everyone to a land where they – the enslaved – will live in the lap of luxury and do so because their skin is the right color. In truth, the promise is little more than the carrot on the end of the stick that attracts more and more of those that want it all but don’t want to work for it. Worse, they are being told they are less-than and incapable of achieving anything without assistance, so why bother dreaming? 

What they don’t know is they are all going to end up building pyramids and lavish structures, but not for themselves, for those who made the promises in the first place.

Let me free you here and now. Understand there is nothing you cannot do, have, create, own, think, dream, pray, invent, cure…there is nothing you can’t be or achieve. Better still, your skin color doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it. 

I hope this made some sense.

The thoughts and opinions shared here may or may not reflect that of KGNC, its staff, management or Alpha Media.

You can contact Michael J. Stevens at [email protected]


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