Baby boomer babble
Babbling about social injustice
Boomers have talked a lot about social injustice. It's hard to tell why or how this occurred. It probably has to do with your upbringing, your environment, your education. In my case, I've always attributed it to being left handed.
When you are white, male, and have at least some money, talking about social injustice puts you in somewhat of an awkward position. You are for the most part not talking from the vantage point of experience. Take Ted Kennedy as an example. While he championed the cause of the poor, writing and supporting many bills that helped minorities, women, the disabled, the working person, he himself was anything but poor. How is it that someone ends up in this position?
The best way for me to try and understand a person’s outlook toward social injustice is to examine myself. With a middle class upbringing, and having grown up in a small town with no minorities, and parents who were moderates at best, how do you become intolerant of social injustice at every level?
I suppose one of the major differences for me was education. I was the first from my family to go to college. This exposes you to people you may not have had any previous contact with, as well as ideas that you have never heard or thought about. I chose sociology as a major and political science as a minor. I don't recall that I gave it a lot of thought, other than I got my best grades in those subjects. Ends up I specialized in political ideologies and bureaucracies/hierarchies. When I was a junior, I picked an advisor who called himself a Marxist sociologist. That's where my leftwing leanings came from. Add to that the Vietnam war, and you start to get a picture of how a young person becomes radicalized. The war was a major influence in the life of every young male at the time. You had one foot in academia, the other in the draft. This created a lot of tension, attempting to understand new knowledge you were gaining along with a sense of patriotism and patriotic duty instilled in you by your parents.
By the time I graduated from college, I was against the war in Vietnam and ready to pursue a career in the ministry. Bethany Theological Seminary, a Church of the Brethren seminary, had one of the leading authorities on nonviolence and pacifism teaching at the seminary. My interest in attending seminary was twofold: To have Dr. Brown as a professor, and to avoid the draft as long as I could. I stayed in seminary for two years before deciding the ministry would not be a good idea for me. But the transformation was complete. I emerged an advocate of the underdog. I was 25 years old. It's never been a really big issue for me. Now it's kind of that's just who I am. Ends up its not such a bad spot for a left-handed baby boomer to be in.