As a child and then teenager of the sixties, in the UK, a feeling of hope was perhaps understandable. For some it was establishment business as usual, war and more. It did however seem a positive period in history. Sections of society wanted change and in the most part peaceful change. The response by authorities may have at times been much less than peaceful but young people like myself at the time remained hopeful. It was a time of rebellious youth for many young people.
Benefiting from the post war period following World War Two, parents tended to be a little more relaxed with their children. As so often is the case that inevitably went too far.
It was however also a time when it was possible to believe that hate due to skin colour would become a thing of the past. It still existed but was gradually dwindling. Post War there was a time of hate for German and Japanese people. The wounds of war were still raw.
Those people who had good sense though, in time realised you cannot hate a new generation for the "sins of the father". This however illustrates that racism is not always a matter of skin colour. The Nazis hated the Jews and savagely killed populations yet neither had a black skin.
In the UK and the US black skinned people suffered to differing degrees but the "times they were a changing". Race discrimination laws in the UK ensured some protection. But who would have thought in 1960 that a black skinned man, albeit more a mixed race black, would in 2012 occupy the White House? That to this blogger remains awesome.I t shows how far the US has come or it did appear to at one time.
Was it 9/11 that changed all of the early hope? Whilst it may have contributed, the current level of hate in the world and racism is much more complicated.
The "hippies" who hoped that " peace and love man" would rule the day moved on. It has been recorded many times that as the sixties ended a very different time was to follow. The "dream" had died. Idealism is often derided but surely it has to be better than hate, war, violence and destruction?
The idols of that era moved into "fat cat" jobs, acquired wealth and joined the establishment they had once derided. Some continued to apparently live the life as they aged but it was often all a front. They had decided that money was their "one true god" and foolishly they worshipped it.
Wealth can open doors but in truth it does not always bring happiness and satisfaction with life. However it is to each his or her own. Of course you have to be a liberal minded person to even say that statement, "to each his or her own".
What has initiated this ramble down memory lane though is the amount of hate and racism alive and flourishing today.
As the UK tries to hit hard at insensitive tweeters who post racist comments it fails to address the more serious problem. In some ways it alienates rebellious young people who may then develop a worse attitude.
This weekend there has been reports of endemic racism in the UK Metropolitan Police force which has led to an investigation. In the US there have been shootings of black individuals by a white drive by shooter. There has been the recent murder of Trayvon Martin in the US which has been belittled and bounced around as it is used by people with race issues, on all sides.
The US remains divided over President Barack Obama and it is fair to say that for some the colour of his skin andplace of birth remains the issue rather than his track record as Commander in Chief. The drive by shootings in Tulsa are the latest headlines in the US. These involve a white man and black victims.
Today April 8, 2012, this blogger has written on the progress of Thusha Kamaleswaran. As Britain’s youngest gangland gun victim this Sri Lanken girl was shot by black youths. As the emergency team fought to save her life supporters of the gang asked them why they were bothering to save a "paki".
France is still recovering from the drive by shooting of citizens including children by a non-white citizen with an axe to grind, and it appears a similar killer is on the loose again. Are the latest killings race based or merely hate fuelled crimes.
Whilst we all should try and stay clear of the "race card" it is hard to ignore.
Even non-white races at times are racist against each other. Not sure what this blogger means? Well in black South Africa some years ago the caste system between black people meant that some were looked down on by "their own" and treat accordingly.
Of course it is now the 21st Century, we are civilised, we are better educated and we should be more enlightened? Are we? Are we hell.
In Ireland each year the marching season brings trouble to the streets.The marchers celebrate a victory in battle from a long distant past. Too distant to be worth remembering surely?. Definitely too distant to cause problems now. But of course as long as people hold on to such events hate continues.
When you think about it even the religions that are often at the heart of hate and racism stem from a long distant past. Of course we should always remember that it is not the religion that is necessarily at fault but how we choose to interpret it and allow it to affect our lives.
Whilst this blog may sound silly, depressing or ideological remember life is to a large extent what you make it. Outside influences play a part but in the West it is still possible to live a fairly "free" life. Some people around the world are not so lucky. Life is so brief and these days there seem to be too many people eager to get to the hereafter, whatever that may be, and in the process ruin other people's life. Why? Is there something in the water, the food, the air, that these days causes so much hate. Or is it that so many people have sad lives?
This ramble draws few conclusions but raises many unanswerable questions. For me the sixties was not all a bed of roses but it was a time of hope, fun, growth and expectancy.. I wonder how today's teenagers are viewing the current decade? I doubt it will be one of hope. For young people though it should be.
Tags: The sixties, racism, hate, hope, President Obama, Trayvon Martin, Thusha, drive by shootings