Sorry for the lack of updates recently. It’s been ridiculously busy. Of course I’ve been busy with the kid stuff, but I’ve also been busy with other obligations. It’s been so busy that I’ve temporarily quit chess. Nor more chess for me…not for a long time. At the last scholastic tournament, another chess dad asked me, “Have you been following the Candidates?” I had forgotten that it had even started! Although it’s probably for the best since Naka is having the worst tournament of his entire life…
Anyway, during the last week, I’ve been thinking about something very interesting. It’s often noted that the Baby Boomer generation is one of the most influential generations of all-time. I think it’s true. Back in the day before Vietnam, almost everyone believed what the government told us. White people occupied one part of society, Black people another, and Asian people were in-between. Women didn’t speak up as loudly as men. The Baby Boomer generation was the generation that opened up America’s doubt. The Boomers stopped Vietnam and acted against nuclear proliferation. It’s also the generation that was the driving force behind the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s (although most of the architects of the movement were from the Greatest Generation, i.e. born before the mid 1940’s). They were the generation that drove and implemented civil rights, gender rights, animal rights, marriage rights, and they are the ones who drove our understanding of the importance of environmentalism.
But at the same time, I wonder if we minorities got screwed in the end. Sure, minorities have a much bigger voice now than before, but not everything looks good. Take, for example, the black rate of of out-of-wedlock births. It used to be 24% when Moynihan came out with his report in 1965; now it’s 72%. Black poverty is out of control, much worse than before. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, both Greatest Generation leaders, were known for their honesty and commitment to their cause. These days, we’ve got Sharpton, Jackson, and countless Black Lives Matter activists who don’t think twice before lying or fabricating stories to push their all-important causes. Back in the day, there was honor. These days, Black Lives Matter activists lie, mislead, and call for dead cops, which predictably gives us dead innocent cops. There is a leadership vacuum in poor black communities.
The Boomer influence on Asians has been less obvious, but perhaps equally powerful. Back in my grandmother’s day, Asian women respected Asian men as equals of White men. Back in the day, the relationships between Asian men and women were similar to the relationships between Black men and women back then and today–there are and were problems, but there was never any kind of hatred between the two groups. After Kingston, Tan, and Hwang began their assault on Asian men, Asian men couldn’t breathe without getting blamed for one thing or another. Many prominent Asian women during that generation attacked Asian men, as if we were the creators of everything racist and sexist in the world. It was so bad that it left a legacy of anger, distrust, and confusion among Asian American Generation X, which probably has the lowest intra-racial dating experience of any generation in history. Many women of Generation X found themselves attacking Asian men without knowing why, as if it was perfectly normal to attack the men of your race while ignoring the faults of non-Asian men or even extolling their supposed virtues. Generation Y, the Millennial generation, has recovered somewhat but not completely.
My point in this blog post isn’t to say that what the Baby Boomers did was wrong. The Boomer Generation was the first to tackle racial and gender inequality to the extent that they did. The Boomer Generation fixed a lot of the prior generation’s problems. How else did we get a Black president in the last two elections and (hopefully) a woman president in the next election? The Boomers paved the way. But at the same time, I think we need to recognize that the stereotypical Boomer ethos of being “against” something is not always best. We saw what happened to the relationships between Asian men and women, and we saw how that ethos has hurt the black community. There is such thing as going too far in the other direction. It’s time for all of us, Boomers, X’ers, Millenials, and Z’s, to rein it all in, to step back, and to decide what’s best for our communities and country.