“A crowd of teenagers surrounded a Native American elder and other activists and appeared to mock them after Friday’s Indigenous Peoples March at the Lincoln Memorial.” – CNN
In this day and age, one of the most unfortunate realities we face is that everything we do is filmed, logged, and memorialized. Between your YouTubes, your Snapchats, and your Instas, no aspect of our daily lives goes unchronicled. This is true for kids, especially young men, who now grow up at the mercy of their smartphones, casualties of an out-of-control PC culture. I think it’s high time we ask ourselves: Why can’t we let our racist boys just be racist boys again?
Admit it. It’s a shame that an adolescent or teenage boy needs to be afraid that his abominable act of aggressive racism might end up recorded. In my day, a boy could heckle a sit-in, menacingly threaten an interracial couple, or scream a slur at your face without it ending up on the front page news. Hell, that’s just what we did! And that was okay!
Now, we police our young white men like criminals, waiting for them to inevitably reveal their latent racism and privilege in violent outbursts. Is this fair? Think of the parents of these young men, also probably xenophobic racists, worried that their children will be canceled on Twitter just because they inflicted permanent psychological trauma on someone different from themselves.
Does the punishment fit the crime?
In my opinion, we need to mentor these boys and harness their youthful energy and passion into the more conventional, productive forms of racism. Maybe instead of shaming them for disrupting a peaceful protest, we could give them tools and teach them skills to be more effective bigots in the future. Don’t suspend Timothy and his friends from school because they were ruthlessly intimidating a vulnerable citizen like a pack of hyenas. Instead, praise his organizational and planning skills, and direct his enthusiasm towards sports, or Republican politics. We cannot let more of our upstanding young men expressing their cultural pride in bombastic ways end up plastered all over the internet like fugitives. Let’s turn the conversation constructive. Let’s give our children the same chance we had to further entrench our society in institutional racism.
Together, we can make this generation of young men great again.