Generation who? How we got here?

Casey Thomas | 11/11/2013, 9:25 a.m.

Part I

Oftentimes I am asked how did we as a race of people get where we are now. As someone who graduated from high school in the early ’90s, I have lived long enough to see the effects of not passing down the values from one generation to the next. I have also been able to see what has made each generation unique.

The civil rights generation, those who grew up in a time of open racism and discrimination, of protests and sit-ins, has left an indelible mark on history. They took a stand against being treated as second-class citizens. They sacrificed so that generations that followed them would reap the benefits of their labor.

This leads me to the next group. I will call them the affirmative action generation. This generation is made up of the children of the civil rights generation. They were the first to be bused to schools outside of their neighborhood. They also had to deal with being talked about and treated as if they were not even there. Many of this generation were the first in their family to graduate from high school and to apply to go to college. They received government jobs that gave them longevity and job security. Those who are a part of this generation are approaching the age of retirement and are taking a close look at their 501k’s and other annuity packages.

The next generation is my generation, or the generation known as Generation X. We are the children of those in the affirmative action generation. Many of us were the first generation to grow up without a father in the home. We also grew up with hip-hop music and MTV and BET. We learned the lesson of those who came before us who experimented with drugs and became addicted as a result of it. We saw our parents use drugs for recreational purposes and realized that it was not the way to go. While music was a part of our getting older, we had a filtering system known as parents who were able to separate fantasy from reality.

In part II, I will talk about the grandchildren of the affirmative action generation and how their feelings of entitlement are jeopardizing the progress that has been made since the ’60s.

We are just getting started!