First, I am saddened by the events in Charlottesville yesterday. I hope you will join my children and I as we stand in solidarity with our diverse community. We love every one of our community and want each person to know that we will always have their backs. There are dozens of scheduled events around the country where you can express your sadness and let your friends know how valued they are. If you don't have any non-white friends in your community, please come and make one.
Find solidarity events in your community by visiting http://act.indivisibleguide.com/event/stand-in-solidarity-with-charlottesville/search/
Okay, now on to the next order of business. Millenials - babies - sweeties - you have got to CHILL.
Charlottesville came for me on the heels of having been attacked by progressive trolls because I dared to disagree about something on Twitter. I was well-qualified to disagree and what I said was 100% verifiable but I still got trolled. I am, apparently, a terrible, awful racist who must be crushed.
Please tell that to my diverse friend group and lifetime of working with persons of various cultures. But, without knowing me or anything about me, a group of young trolls viciously stuck me in my place. Because I'm white? Or I disagreed? Or maybe they're just hateful?
Nah. None of those. They're just young. Really, really young. And somehow, we've let the young become convinced that they are the only group in the WHOLE WORLD that knows anything. They invented civil rights. They rule the Internet. They can unlock smart phones. Only they can save us all. Mostly because, to the young, everyone not-young belongs to whatever bad group they just read about on the Internet.
The last post I wrote before disengaging was about the need for kindness in our discourse. The young troll's response? "Kindness has lost all meaning. Now it's just tone policing."
What sadness that statement provoked. What a horrible belief to express. Of all the sins laid at the feet of this generation, the idea that they are powered by rage and hatefulness may be true.
My Millenial friends would say that their hate is justified. They're fighting the good fight. Their bigotry and rage have purpose. According to several posts I've read today, in a battle against racists, there can be only one winner - and Millenials have anointed themselves as the one ruler to rule us all. Their hate is righteous - and righteous hate can never be bad, can it?
Actually, hate can never be good.
Hate only begets hate. It's a vicious cycle. Someone hates you. You hate them back. They hate you more. You hate them more. Everyone you like starts to hate them and then everyone they like starts to hate you. And pretty soon, someone gets attacked in an alley. Executions happen. Wars start. People die.
So, my dear Millenial friends, please listen to me. I don't disagree that you're fighting a well-justified battle. I've also worked against racism for my entire life (which has been longer than yours). You should definitely work to resolve injustice. Stand in solidarity. But stop hating on everyone. You aren't nearly as victimized as you think you are and your hate stands to hurt those that really are. Once the wars start, it's not the highly educated, philosophical change-maker who dies. It's the person with no power. The very person you claim to care about more than anyone else is the one left behind on the battle field.
You know why we older people are less quick on the trigger? It's because we've learned this. As hard as slow change is, it's the one that costs fewer lives. So, we focus on our microsystem while working macro changes slowly and peacefully. I smile at everyone I meet. I rent my AirBNB to people of every nationality. I invite the "brown kid" to playdates and birthday parties. It's less sexy than rage-filled rallies, but, thus far, not one of my childrens' brown friends has been mowed down. Macro changes are hard to work out. They take a lot of time and a lot of cultural change, but, despite that slowness, things really are better today than they were three generations ago. They get better every day.
But it's slow. The 60s were faster, right? Look at all that change. You want that change. I totally love your vigor. I'm in awe of your passion. But I also see that you haven't really learned the lesson of the 60s.
So, let me tell you what you'll know in 20 years. It wasn't the riots that brought about civil rights - it was compassion. As the TV stations started to cover the violence and the average American watched little girls be spit on as they walked to school, a flood of compassion overwhelmed the common person and they began to demand change. Compassion fuels change, not rage. Once people care, they change. And they won't care about you if you keep rage-tweeting at every one who tries to have a conversation. Compassion isn't born through shame (and, yes, you love to throw shame around). It's born through commonality and conversation.
I know things haven't changed enough for you. I know you think that you can finish what all the people before you started. I think you can, too, but you won't do it if you don't chill. So, please go to a solidarity rally. Do it with the intent to make some friends. Hug more. Yell less. Leave your hate at home. Those are the Millenials we really need. They'll work miracles.