Were hippies in the 1960s really discriminated against?

The impression I get from watching movies like “Easy Rider” is that in certain parts of the country, especially the south, any guy walking around with long hair, peasant shirt and fringed leather jacket, and saying “hey man” was just asking for an ass beating.
Was that really the case though? Can anyone who grew up in that era in some of that more conservative regions of the U.S. chime on this?

More conservative regions? Heck, except for California I recall those dirty hippies being hustled off by the cops where ever they showed their filthy, drug-addled. pervert faces.

Men with long hair were not allowed into Disneyland until the late 1960’s.

Not discriminated against, more like “hassled regularly.” For a while when my hair was halfway down my spine, I could expect (in NYC) to get called a name by a total stranger about once a day. And I did get turned down for a job in a supermarket by a store manager in upstate NY simply because in his opinion I needed a haircut.

The level of “hassle” would prompt a class-action suit and major news outlet coverage if it happened today.

Definitely. The hair issue was blown all out of proportion, and long haired hippies were routinely hassled and even beated by the conservative element of society.

As a bearded long-hair college student who hitch-hiked through parts of the South and West in the early 1970s, I can vouch for the fact that there was quite a bit of hostility to anyone who even looked like a hippie. I was never actually assaulted, but on one occasion I and a friend had to hide off the side of the road for a bit in Florida while a bunch of jocks came back looking for us.

Even people who simply wore their hair somewhat long and preferred jeans to slacks (like me) had our fill of “you look like a girl” comments (often from complete strangers) and suspicions of drug use.

A local restaurant in my home town on Eastern Long Island outright refused to serve any males with long hair. This was in the early 70s.

Hippies took a bohemian delight in thumbing their nose at the rigid strictures of propriety that had built up in American society, and the backlash could get ugly at times.

The irony is that few if any male “hippies” considered their long hair a tranny thing, but that’s how the general public took it. Almost as bad was how hard women had to fight for the right to wear pants in formal situations.

There were hippies who weren’t street bums and street bums who weren’t hippies, but there was a considerable overlap in lifestyle, especially if a hippie’s drug use had gotten out of hand. Some actually were dirty or even lousy.

This is 99 and 44/100% nonsense. Post-1967 the number of true hippies in the country was about 1% of the kids of both sexes who wore their hair long, lived in jeans rather than “proper” clothing, had tie-dyed t-sheets, lived a bunch to an apartment or room, had mustaches and beards if male, played loud rock music, smoked dope, and the rest. Did that makes them hippies? Of course not. They were just kids following the fad of the day. How can we know? Because they as a body dropped that look after a few years for the look of the next fad.

Were those kids disproportionally hassled? Yes, absolutely. The only way to compare it is to think of the ways out and flamboyant gays are ridiculed, harassed, stared at, commented on, or generally pushed aside in all but a few enclaves. That rarely leads to outright violence, but the potential is there and they need to be wary.

The major difference is that while reports of some police regularly harassing gays are frequent, accounts of them doing so are frowned upon. I’ve accused Nixon in the past as being the only president to declare war against his own people. He set a tone that legitimized police hassling of those who looked like anti-war types, which by default meant any of the kids who behaved as above. The number of true activists was again less than 1% of the population. Nobody cared. Your appearance branded you.

Did hippies take “a bohemian delight in thumbing their nose at the rigid strictures of propriety that had built up in American society.” Yes, they did. And so did every cohort of youth from the 50s to today. So what?

The youth of the late 60s and early 70s were not street bums manqué. Some did drugs. Again, 50s, 80s, 90, 00s. Some dressed funny. See above. Some small percentage did awful things that disgraced the rest. Ditto.

Hippies were a movement in San Francisco from 1965-1967. “Hippies” were the general population of America youth from 1968-1974. Nothing more.

A policy captured beautifully in Kinky’s We Reserve The Right to Refuse Service to You

I saw a waitress demand payment in advance before she would turn a long haired guy’s lunch order over to the cook; it seems she had been burned by a couple of long haired guys who ate their meals and then informed her that they had no money.

Ironically, you’ve mentioned that you once engaged in exactly the same behavior to elude a wild elephant. It must be somewhat unsettling to have been pursued by large, dumb, lumbering beasts on more than one continent. :smiley:

I apologize in advance to any elephants I may have offended…

Hardly. I spent a year hitching around the country and I was hassled and harassed regularly by the police. In Milton, Ontario, the police paid me a visit at my tent, which I’d pitched in a vacant, weedy lot, and told me: “You’re on private property. We haven’t received a complaint, so we can’t make you leave… but if you’re not gone by tonight we’ll be back, and there will be more of us.”

Some provinces were worse than others. I didn’t have any problems at all with the police in Alberta, strangely enough (Alberta is the Alabama of Kanada), but Ontario was just awful. I finally figured out how to deter the police from harassing me, though. As soon as they pulled over and asked what I was doing (I’ve got a backpack, a straw hat, a sign that says “VANCOUVER” and I have my thumb out – what does it LOOK like I’m doing, dipshit?), I’d give them a big, wide-eyed, goofy smile and say, “Officer, I’m HITCHIN’ FOR JESUS! Have you accepted Jesus as your personal saviour?!” And usually the cops would get right back in their cars and speed off.

Forget long hair. I was fired for growing a moustache. Columbus, Ohio, 1969.

Late 60’s in southern California. My long haired friends and I were returning from a camping trip in the desert east of Los Angeles.

We stopped in a Dennys restaurant in Palmdale for lunch. Dennys is an inexpensive sit down diner. Neither out clothes nor hair were dirty.

After about 15 minutes or so, we noticed that several people who had come in later than us had gotten served. After a few more minutes, we decided we weren’t going to get served and left.

On the way out we started laughing. The people in the place must have thought we were stoned, but we weren’t. We just thought it was so funny.

But it was also a weird feeling being discriminated against.

The behavior is actually quite similar: if you see something unfamiliar, stomp it flat! :slight_smile:

At the time I had long hair - and was a Republican. (The idiocy of youth. :stuck_out_tongue: ) I wore jeans, but clean ones, no holes, and wore conservative type shirts. No flowers or day-glo colors. I got hassled all the time driving in Boston, especially at night - though it might have been more big car also. Never while walking, but I seldom walked in non-collegy neighborhoods.

I myself never got hassled when I moved to the south in 1977, still with long hair, but I lived in SW Louisiana, Cajun country, and I think they were a bit freer than most (and got discriminated against themselves.)

I can vouch they were treated none too friendly in West Texas.