African American Baby Boomers, What Does The Future Hold

All my life I’ve heard and read about the power, clout and influence that the “baby boomer” generation has had on the culture and direction of American lifestyle and media. I bought into that for the most part but looking back I can see that this was not necessarily the case for a large portion of baby boomers. I’m talking about the African American baby boomer.

I mean this generation was supposedly to have lived the most charmed life and enjoyed the greatest perks of any group in American history. While I will admit that my generation had it much easier than my parents and grandparents Black baby boomers haven’t exactly had it made. What’s worse is that now that we are entering what should be the “golden” years things for a lot of us are bad and may get worse.

I know, I know. This economy has had an adverse effect on all of us but having historically been the “last hired/first fired” simply because of our race usually meant that it took us longer to gain any real economic security or job tenure in the first place.

Many of us have lost our jobs and had to dip into whatever saving we may have had. Okay, we’re used to having to start over from scratch but let’s be honest, we’re not as young as we used to be. We don’t have years to work ourselves up from the bottom.

Sure going back to school is an option but then when we graduate we’re competing with thousands of younger graduates that’ll be more than happy to take a salary less than what we would expect. Besides, although it’s supposed to be illegal I KNOW that age discrimination exist when it comes to hiring. I’ve actually had an interviewer tell me “You’re not as young as most applicants I have for this position”. Never mind that he could clearly see on my resume that I had done that kind of work for over 10 years at some of America’s top companies. Of couse I didn’t get the job.

I don’t intend to make this blog a place for me to rant. Neither do I intend to make it strictly about baby boomer “stuff”. But I do hope to share how this one African American baby boomer see’s things.

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The Golden Years: One Step Forward or Several Steps Back? – The Huffington Post

African Americans have historically endured extreme disparities in wages, wealth, housing and healthcare. These differences have caused more than half of African-American retirees to be economically insecure says the Institute on Assets and Social Policy.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/gerry-hudson/the-golden-years-one-step_b_1278869.html

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Aretha picks Halle for Movie Bio

Reports are that Aretha Franklin’s choice to portray her in a biographical movie is Halle Berry.
Come on Aretha! Keep it real! Halle is a great actress but I can’t see her pulling this one off.
My pick would be Jill Scott or maybe Queen Latifa. What do you think? Is Halle playing the Queen of Soul too big of a stretch?

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Tito doing the Blues!

Tito “Jackson 5″ Jackson is now doing the Blues Concert circuit. Currently touring with Bobby Blue Bland. What you think?
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Former Head of Civil Rights Commission on Obama – “a sense of betrayal”

Crowds surrounding the Reflecting Pool, during...
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An interview published today at TheRoot.com with the former head of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Mary Frances Berry quotes Ms. Berry as saying that Obama’s election “was our payoff.”

She asserts that there is no Civil Rights Movement today and that the presidents election was the “prize” for years of struggle and that we have laid all our hopes on him delivering whatever we thought he was supposed to deliver.

Now that he has been forced to compromise on some of the principles that he was elected on she says there is a “sense of betrayal.

The big problem as she and some other Civil Rights leaders see it is that Obama has the movement on lock and nobody dares to speak out too loudly opposing him for fear of losing the support of all the black community that still supports him regardless of what he does or doesn’t do for us.

Read the entire article here.

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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed

Repeal of Don’t ask Don’t Tell passed the Senate today and now awaits the President’s signature.

As a veteran submarine sailor I’m not sure I would have been real comfortable with being in such tight quarters with openly gay shipmates but I nonetheless support their right to serve our country and not be under the threat of discharge not for a behavior but only because of their sexual orientation.

I’m also happy to see Pres. Obama score a victory on a campaign promise that he made. More importantly though is the fact that it seems as though the government is finally getting beyond the gridlock that has existed for the first 2 years of the Obama administration.

In just a matter of days they’ve been able to extend the tax cuts, extend 13 months on unemployment benefits and repeal DADT. There’s also a good chance that he may get a new START agreement in place with the Russians.

All this coming on the heels of what the prez called a real “shellacking” in the midterm elections is surprising to some but I thought it might force both sides of the aisle to seek areas that they could compromise on and work on those. Let’s hope the forward progress continues.

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Nixon thought it’d take 500 years

Recently released conversations from the 265 hours of tapes made in the Oval Office during the Nixon presidency show just how out of touch he was regarding black people. His secretary of state, William Rogers, had commented that blacks were “coming along” and would in the end strengthen the country because we are “strong physically and some of them are smart”
Nixon on tape talking to his personal secretary Rose Mary Woods says “I think he’s right if you’re talking 500 years. I think he’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years”
What did the former President think it would take to move us as a people “along”?
He told his secretary “they have to be, frankly, inbred… that’s the only thing that’s going to do it Rose.”

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Can working longer actually help maintain Baby Boomers mental health?

The first Baby Boomers will begin to turn 65 next year and over the next 20 years will be filling the ranks of the retired and unemployed in record numbers.We’ve all heard it before. “He/she was doing fine until they stopped working. Then it seemed like overnight they kind of started going downhill fast”. As common as this belief is there has been no real evidence that there is any truth to it. Until now.

Two economist have published a paper that they call “Mental Retirement” that analyzed data from a study done over a 20 year period by the National Institute on Aging. The survey,The Health and Retirement Study, involved over 22 thousand Americans 50 years old or older. It conducted memory test on these individuals every 2 years. Memory testing is one of the best ways to measure cognitive capacity or a persons ability to process information. Other measures are problem solving processes, language, attention and concept formation.

Gina Kolota a science journalist reported on the findings of economist Susann Rohwedder and Robert Willis in an article published in the New York Times.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/science

Because of the large differences in the retirement age in the U.S. and other European countries they were able to compare the difference in memory test scores for people that retired before 60 and those that didn’t. Almost 70% of Americans are still working in their early 60′s compared to 10% to 20% in France and Italy and 38 percent in Spain.

The U.S. averaged an 11 on a scale of 0 to 20 on the test while Italy averaged 7, Spain 6 and France 8.

It’s not clear whether it’s because of the aerobic activity that work involves or it’s because of the social interaction or maybe simply less time watching T.V.

Whatever the reason Baby Boomers may benefit from staying physically healthy and in the workforce into their 60′s.

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Tommy Smith Auctioning Gold Medal

For this African American Baby Boomer there is no more poignant image of the ’60s than that of Tommy Smith and John Carlos with their heads bowed and their fist raised in  the “Black Power” salute as they took their places on the medal podium after competing in the 200 meter run during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Today Smith announced that he would sell his Gold Medal for $250,000.

The photo of Smith and Carlos shocked the world and a lot of people criticized the two for politicizing the Games. The International Olympic Committee went so far as to ban the two athletes for life from ever participating again. The Australian runner Peter Norman, who had placed second wore an American Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support of the black athletes and was consequently left off of the 1972 Olympic team.

Smith’s record of 19.5 seconds in the 200 meters held for 44 years and wasn’t broken until May of this year by Tyson Gaye.

Smith and Carlos suffered because of their “Silent Gesture”, including death threats on themselves and their families and Smith has said that the gesture was misunderstood and ruined his life.

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Baby Boomers and Facebook

About a year ago I joined Facebook and quickly “friended” people that I knew that were already onboard and sent invites to several who weren’t.

Of coarse at the time most of the people that I knew, no ALL of the people that I knew that were already on FB were under 40. Although they all added me to their list of friends I got plenty of smart comments lilke “What’s your old ass doing on Facebook?”

The other group, the ones that I had sent invites to were REAL friends and associates and mostly around the same age as myself. Their comments? “What’s a Facebook?”

Well here we are a year later and you’d have had to have been on the moon to not know what Facebook is and according to recent surveys Baby Boomers are a huge reason that the Social Networking site has become second only to Google in internet usage.

During one 4 month period last year more than 1.3 million women and about 800,000 men between the ages of 45 and 60 signed up. There are over 25 million baby boomers now on Facebook and they are joining at a rate second only to 18 -25 year old men.

Baby Boomers are also more than 4 times as likely to use Facebook to stay connected to their business network and use Facebook Business pages and groups.

So although as with most technology we are late adapters once we do decide to come on board we comein droves!

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