The emergence of changes evoked by the 1960s in the social structure and culture resulted in considerable changes in the position of younger adults in the contemporary social structure. The 1960s were the time of profound changes, including the sexual revolution and the Civil Rights movement as the major changes that affected the society for decades ahead. In such a situation, the contemporary younger generation is still vulnerable to effects of the 1960s, especially in the field of gender and racial relations, while the role of younger adults in the economy and politics increases due to the demographic changes that have occurred since the 1960s.
The 1960s are renowned for the sexual revolution, which still has a considerable impact on the contemporary society and its social structure. In this regard, the emergence of feminism is one of the major consequences of the sexual revolution. The 1960s had brought a considerable change to men-women relationships (McAdam, 125). Probably, the 1960s were the period, when women could really become aware of the fact that they could stand on the equal ground compared to men and they had started to get rid of their inferiority and male oppression.
On the other hand, the current devaluation of family values and the concept of family as a fundamental social institution may be also viewed as a consequence of the 1960s and the sexual revolution. In such a situation, the contemporary generation of younger adults is still under the impact of the 1960s and profound social and cultural changes associated with that period in the social history. For instance, younger women can feel being equal to men and today they take their equal position compared to men for granted, while, in the past, including the 1960s, women had to fight for the right to stand on the equal ground compared to men, while the discrimination of women persisted even after the 1960s, but profound changes that took place in the 1960s had had a considerable and long lasting impact on the society leading to profound change in the role of women in the society (Blauner, 184). The discrimination was steadily eliminated and today younger women have consistently larger opportunities compared to younger women half a century ago. For instance, they have larger employment opportunities, they have wider access to the higher education, and, finally, they enter jobs, which used to be male jobs only, including the military.
The rise of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s also has had a considerable impact on the contemporary society and the contemporary social structure. In fact, the rise of the Civil Rights movement contributed to the elimination of the racial segregation and granting minorities with equal rights and liberties compared to the white majority (McAdam, 174). The elimination of the racial inequality and discrimination opened more opportunities for minorities in terms of access to education, employment and wider participation in the political life of the country.
In spite of a considerable progress, minorities still confront problems which they used to face in the 1960s. For instance, the problem of the racial discrimination has never been totally eliminated. The economic inequality persists. Racial minorities still suffer from the biased attitude from the part of the white majority. As a result, the ruling elite is still predominantly white and male, while the low-income stratum of the society consists of representatives of minorities mainly. More important, today, it is possible to trace the new process of segregation, especially in regard to the public school education, when minorities comprise over 90% of the total school population, while the middle-class educators can hardly understand adequately the cultural background of their students, their needs and expectations. As a result, the younger adults still have to deal with problems their ancestors faced half a century ago. They still have to deal with the emerging problem of segregation and their enclosure in their minority communities.
Nevertheless, the 1960s contributed to the consistent change in the social structure providing the legal and cultural ground for the elimination of racial inequality. To put it more precisely, the 1960s were the time, when the society became aware that differences between races are manifestations of racism and they had nothing to do with specificities of representatives of different racial groups (McAdam, 193). The cultural change resulted in the admission of representatives of minorities to the fields, where they had no access before (Blauner, 194). For instance, today, younger adults can take an active part in the political life of the country. They can hold public offices and represent their communities at the federal level.
In fact, consistent changes evoked in the society during the 1960s contributed to the overall change of the position of younger adults in the social structure today. In this regard, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the role of younger adults has increased substantially because the age, as well as gender and race, is not a reason for discrimination. Instead, due to profound changes that occurred in the 1960s, younger adults have got larger opportunities in virtually all fields and they stand on the virtually equal ground compared to the rest of the population.
At the same time, the 1960s laid the foundation to the generation of baby boomers, which have played a particularly important part in the economic development of the nation. However, today, the generation of baby boomers retires and the younger adults should take the full responsibility for the future economic development of the nation. In fact, it is the younger adults, who should start their economic activities and whose activities will define the future of the domestic economy. In this regard, their place in the domestic economy is probably even more significant than the place of younger adults in the 1960s because the latter carried out basically political and cultural changes. Instead, the contemporary generation of younger adults has to carry out economic changes, which allow the national economy to keep growing, although the share of the economically active population decreases, while the share of the retired population increases (McAdam, 204). In such a situation, younger adults should take the lead in the society and boost the economic development to provide for themselves and the older generation.
Thus, the 1960s brought consistent changes in the places for younger adults in the contemporary society. Today, the economic role of younger adults has increased because they comprise the core of the economically active population. At the same time, younger adults enjoy gains of the generation of the 1960s, which granted them with rights and principles of gender and racial equality as well as the elimination of any discrimination within the society.
Blauner, B. Black Lives, White Lives. New York: Routledge, 2005.
McAdam, D. Freedom Summer. Oxford University Press, 1988.