By Elder Gerald DeForest Tyler
I have heard it said throughout my entire adult lifetime that no two people are the exact same, that we’re all different. Haven’t you heard that expression as well? There are so very many differences among people, some good and some not so good. Personally, I’m glad there are certain differences because I wouldn’t want to be like people who are bad people or who have bad behaviors and practices. While I realize that there are no absolutely perfect people living on planet Earth, there are those among us, however, who we can emulate in doing right and good things in this life.
There are cultural, social, religious, and so many other societal differences that exist in our country and world today. And there are lots of “Generational Differences” among people as well. During the remainder of this column, I intend to focus primarily on generational differences pursuant to race and racist practices in a rather limited sense. By this I mean how things are perceived, viewed, believed, and acted upon by people from one generation to another. I’m a citizen of the “baby-boomer” generation and things are viewed and acted upon quite differently by people from generation to generation. There are different beliefs, practices, styles, fads and so much more that come and go among the races over certain periods of time.
Most recently during the two national presidential elections involving President Barack Obama as well as the police conduct and behavior pursuant to the manner in which they handled some of the teenage participants attending a pool party event that occurred in McKinney, Texas, many questions of race and racism have arisen. Did the police responding to this pool event, and one cop in particular, go too far? Did he use excessive force while roughing-up African-American teenagers, and most especially one teenage girl? Was it necessary for that police officer to draw his revolver on two Black male teens or was his action way over the top for an officer sworn to keep the peace?
As I thought of the past two presidential elections and this incident in McKinney, I couldn’t help but also think of generational differences and changes within our national society in particular. I thought about how people’s beliefs, training, and life’s experiences tend to drive their behavioral practices and actions. And I thought even more so about how these behavioral practices change from generation to generation – some for the good and some not so good.
Case in point if you will, there are about 315,000,000 people currently living in America. Whatever the African-American percentage is today, be it 12 to 14 percent or whatever it actually is, there were simply not enough voting age Blacks in the country to put President Obama in office neither term without other race people voting for him as well. There was a high percentage of Caucasians (whites), Latinos, Hispanics, Puerto Ricans, et al., who also voted for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012. All of this was due to generational differences and behavioral practice changes – and most particularly among voting age people ranging from 18 years old through the middle baby-boomer years.
President Obama did not and certainly would not even today get the majority of white votes from people who have already reached the age of 65 and over, and most especially the white male. “Generational Differences” – many older white men haven’t changed their behavioral practices enough to vote for a Black person for president. Their beliefs and practices are yet deeply rooted in hatred, racism, bigotry, and white supremacy for the most part. There are always some exceptions of course and we thank God for that! Look for the conclusive Part II of this “Generational Differences” column in next week’s newspaper. “Grace and mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied!”
Gerald D. Tyler, an ordained elder with senior pastoral experience, has been a God-called practicing minister since 1977 teaching and preaching the salvation gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.