It turns out Baylor's was not an isolated event. Two of my friends have posted blogs about encountering hate first-hand; one, Lisa, whose post can be found in my blog roll, said one of her students posted the following status update upon hearing of Obama's victory: "The white house is called the white house for a reason!!!!!" Her school is now in arms. Another, Claire, said she'd been accosted on facebook immediately after mentioning the election day. Her "friend" asked her what reason she could possibly have for celebrating the downfall of our nation. My own acquaintances have not been so openly bigoted, though some have posted that they now feel free to "have all the babies they want so that someone else can care for them."
The problem, for me, isn't that these people were hateful. This world is so big and the thinking often so small that I don't wonder that sexism, racism, and classism still exist. No, the truly disturbing characteristic that all these stories share is that every one of the slurs I mentioned were made by someone young.
It's not that the youth were supposed to be pro-Obama; it's that the youth are supposed to be forward-thinking. They're the people who have grown up attending integrated schools. They have been friends with children who have homosexual parents. They are the most technologically connected generation the world has ever known, which means that what they don't know or understand, they can research in the time it takes to ride the subway or wait for a fast-food order to be filled. In other words, they should know better. They can't claim ignorance. They can't say "well, the world has always been divided by sex or race" because it hasn't, for them. Their opens minds are supposed to take us one step closer to erasing sexual and racial barriers. But if the youth are the ones stringing up the rope, what are we supposed to do? If the youth burn hope in bonfires and yearn for a more violent time, how will change come?