Blog 11: New Identity

As the long 60s drew to close many groups, inspired by what they saw in the decade, began organizing for what was needed for them. Native Americans, Chicano-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Asian-Americans were inspired by the black power movement and began organizing for their own identity. They, like the black power movement, did not want to assimilate into the white American culture they wanted their own identity in their own culture. In one of the articles on Chicano- Americans the author discusses how all of his early life he had tried to just fit into American culture and had forgotten his Chicano identity. When he began living and working in a community with other Chicanos he realized that Chicano is beautiful and that he should not forget his culture. The same goes for Asian Americans, they wanted people to see them as Asian-Americans with a cultural identity unique to them. They wanted equal representation and wanted their culture to be respected, they did not want to assimilate into the white American culture. Native Americans had had enough of their mistreatment. For more than a century they had been promised land and a space for their culture and they were continually pushed off their land and been the victims of broken promises. They decided enough was enough and they needed to move and take action. The group occupied Alcatraz Island off the coast of San Fransico this was ironic because it was a jail that had been abandoned, but the Native-Americans saw this as symbolic because now when people came to America through the west coast they would now see those who owned the land first. All of these movements were about creating a cultural identity that would be both American and Chicano or Asian or Puerto Rican. They didn’t want to be apart of the white American culture that did not respect and honor their culture. They wanted a group which would organize and further their culture. For instance, the Puerto Rican movement in New York wanted to do things for the community as a community even the most mundane of tasks like cleaning up trash. The goal was to be for the community as the community in whatever it needed. While the there were not many long-term changes that this group made on the foreign front, they had a lasting impact domestically and challenged the white American culture to not force their culture on others and respect other cultures.

Blog 9: Social Revolution Did Not happen Overnight

Often the 1960s are placed on a pedestal of change and social revolution, but that change was slower and more gradual than most people realize. It was not one moment specifically in history that sparked a revolution, but it was a grouping of events over time that made a change. In the case of the feminist movement, the second wave of feminism began with Kennedy commissioning a group of women to create writings on the status of women. Then a new group followed known as (NOW) National Organization of Women, in NOW mostly older women organized to empower women and make sure women were being fulfilled even in there lives as housewives or whatever it was that they were doing.  Later came the Women’s liberation movement that was mostly made up of NOW’s children who drew ideas from the Black Panther party and organized to liberate women at all costs. In this movement, they did not want the mundane unfulfilling life of the housewife they wanted equal rights in the workforce and equal pay for the work similar to that of a man. They challenged the system of men that oppressed them and wanted to keep them at home. They came from movements such as the anti-war movement in which they were seen as coffee runners and minute takers and not as equal members. They stood for antiwar movements but did it as a group of women who were against the war, that way they could not be oppressed by men. Often in these movements, the men who were oppressing them were leading large movements yet they did not seem women as equal partners. Through these movements, we can see how change was gradual. Over time women were able to make progress by the revolution did not happen at a particular moment, it was over generations of time. The 1960s also housed change in ideas of sexuality. Today, if someone from the 1950s or 1960s came and witnessed our blatancy of sexuality they would be shocked (Bailey, Sexual Revolutions). However, our balance took a long time achieve and still does not entirely challenge the traditional ideas. During this time college students, per usual, had a lot to say about sexual freedom. Female college students were especially oppressed. They had curfews, parietals, and regulations to try and keep women from having sex. If a woman was caught having premarital sex they were socially outcasted or expelled from school. While all of these things were in place people were still having sex. They were just doing it in nontraditional settings (cars, lounges, etc.) it just meant that privacy was not assured. Even today religious college settings like Notre Dame still have no coed dormitories and things like parietals and as my friend who attends Notre Dame has told me it doesn’t really stop sexual relations. Gradually over time, it has become more acceptable for men and women to live together before they are married. It has taken a long time though in the 1970s it became more socially acceptable, even my parents in the 1990s who decided to live together before they were married felt a lot of pressure. My grandmother was furious with them for making this decision and because of this pressured them into marriage soon after they moved in together. Today my parents encourage me and my siblings to live with people of the opposite gender either romantically or not. Right now one of my roommates is male and my mom encouraged this. She sees it as a  way to keep the apartment grounded. She also encourages us to live with our partners before we marry them so there are no surprises after the wedding, she says you don’t really know someone until you’ve lived with them. All of this has transpired over many generations in my family and shows that change did not happen overnight.