The civil rights era ended last week, and you probably didn't even notice.
Two events sealed the deal. First, the NAACP held a convention in Houston where speakers delivered shrill, hysterical rants about George W. Bush and adopted resolutions that had less to do with racial harmony than about remaining slaves to dead ideologies and negligent financiers. The confab was silly and pathetic, proof that some warriors aren't happy unless they're in the midst of hostilities.
Meanwhile, a video of a white cop punching a black suspect attracted racial hucksters, who were probably ignored by the vast majority of the American public, because we're getting not only bored but angry at such tactics.
All these things, believe it or not, portend something good. We're on the verge of becoming grown up on the issue of race. Sure, it took about four centuries and a lot of hardship, but the old uneasiness is melting away. Race relations aren't hard. Just obey the golden rule. We no longer have to take to the streets to spread that message. Most of us have taken it to heart.
So, like it or not, the age of civil rights is giving way to an age of simple civility.