The 1960s were a unique period in American history, yet they are remembered mostly due to the ambiguous policies in the interactions within American society. On the one hand, the propensity toward tolerance started to become evident at the specified period in time, allowing American citizens to develop a perspective on the problems faced by people from diverse environments. On the other hand, the presence of deeply seated prejudices was evident.
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Nonetheless, the 60s are often characterized by the freedom movement that was at the forefront of the American culture at the time (Foner 974). The focus on liberation and the reinforcement of the traditionally democratic values resonated with a range of American citizens, causing American society to experience a gradual change in values. With its promotion of democratic values and the promotion of peace and tolerance, the described culture contributed to a change toward a more tolerant worldview among Americans.
Despite multiple challenges, the process of transforming American society was launched in the 1960s. Specifically, the famous Freedom Movement, which viewed the promotion of equality for the African American community as its central goal, gained especially strong traction and voice in American society on the specified time slot (Foner 971). Therefore, despite still being ridden with prejudices, the American community showed the tendency to change toward a better and more diverse environment where the principles of “freedom, justice, and equality” could be planted (Foner 970). Therefore, while the overall sociopolitical environment was not quite favorable to the plight of African American people and other minorities, premises for the fight against oppression were created.
Despite the presence of positive trends, the culture of the 1960s was filled with a range of problems that were inherent to American society at that point. The increase in the extent of social division and the development of racism within American society was also spurred by the rise in the urbanization process. According to Foner, “suburbanization hardened the racial lines of division in American life” (951).
As a result, the tension in the relationships between the African American community and European Americans rose noticeably at the specified point in time, causing severe disruptions in the cultural progress of the state. Therefore, one might claim that the 1960s were a rather controversial era during which the basic principles of equality were often neglected due to deeply seated prejudices and stereotypes.
Apart from the problems in the cross-cultural communication between the representatives of different ethnicities, the development of a social conflict could be spotted in the culture of the 60s. Spurred by the increase in the political confrontation between the US and the USSR, the fear of Communists and the rejection of the Socialist movement led to the development of mistrust within the American community (Foner 953).
Moreover, the increase in the development of anti-Semitic tendencies in the sociocultural environment of the 1960s contributed to the increase in the levels of intolerance and the rejection of diversity among American citizens.
Overall, the social setting of the U.S. in the 1960s can be considered highly controversial due to the coexistence of the values that seemed to be incompatible. While the active promotion of democratic ideas as the direct opposition to Communism was evident, the relationships between the representatives of the cultural majority and ethnic minorities residing in the U.S. aggravated the social situation.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! 3rd ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.