*puts on mom hat*
I want to address the youth of tumblr.
I’m proud of you guys. I love seeing all this discussion. I love how you rail against injustice and inequality. I know there are a lot of adults out there who scoff at you and your copious screen time and your social justice causes, but I love your passion! I encourage you to not lose your fire for the things that matter to you.
Your generation is unique from all those that have come before you, in that you stepped into your teens and young adulthood with a wealth of social networking tools at your disposal. We didn’t have that when I was a teen; there were virtually no avenues available for finding like-minded people and rallying them for a cause. Don’t ever underestimate the power of social networking.
But with great power comes great responsibility. Don’t squander this. Make your words count.
Take a critical thinking class. Learn to identify the bullshit and ferret out the truth. Verify your sources. Don’t perpetuate the spread of misinformation.
Join the debate team at your school. Try to see both sides of every issue. Learn how to present a well-formed argument.
Take a statistics class. Learn to interpret data and incorporate it into your discussions. Use percentages and ratios to make things more personal. Saying things like “1 in every 5 teens experience xyz,” or “statistically, 4 of the 20 of us in this classroom are likely to experience xyz” is much more compelling than just quoting broader numbers.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Interact with as many people as you can, as often as you can. Seek out differing viewpoints.
Choose your words and your tone wisely. Emotions and passion are great, but as the old adage goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Or to borrow a phrase from Wil Wheaton and put it in more current parlance…”don’t be a dick.” Your message loses its strength when you’re an asshole.
But above all else, don’t stop discussing things. The narratives will never change if people aren’t talking.
You guys are awesome, and I’m proud of you.