Two of the biggest stories in the news cycle of the past two weeks have been Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s taped conversation with his mistress in which he urges her not to associate with black people, and rancher Cliven Bundy fighting off the federal government’s confiscation of his cattle with the help of an armed citizen militia over allegations of not paying $1.1 million dollars worth of grazing fines, only to promote his view in his 15 minutes of fame that blacks might have been better off in slavery than they are now. These two men have both espoused despicable views on the place of blacks in society, but strangely enough, this modest rancher and uber-rich NBA franchise owner have something in common: they are generationally similar (67 and 80 respectively) and they live in isolated communities. From the author of an article for Hot Air, Jazz Shaw:
What do Bundy and Sterling have in common? First of all – aside from the obvious fact that they are white – they are old. And I don’t mean old like me… we’re talking really old. And second, each in their own way are old men who live in a form of isolation. Bundy lives in a geographically isolated, rural region. Sterling lives in the rather insular world of the very wealthy. They also come from a different generation, growing up among attitudes which were common beyond notice in their day but which would probably shock many people today. Without going into graphic detail, I’ll just say that I can relate to that, being raised by a member of that same generation in a rural, farming area.
These men voicing their racist views have not been exposed to the diversity and integration of modern America. Their views are outdated and a product of their generation and upbringing. Our generation the Millennials is the most diverse in American history and, having grown up around diverse groups of people, is more accepting of all peoples. People like Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling have been isolated from this change and are simply living in the past as they remember it.
The backlash that has come out against Sterling and Bundy I view as a sign that our generation is positively changing the way race is viewed in society. By introducing more young people to more diverse populations, we cut down the chances our society producing of more people like Bundy and Sterling. I think it would be very difficult to find a Millennial who holds the same views as a Sterling or Bundy because of the amount of diversity to which Millennials have been exposed.
I myself am a upper-middle class, suburban, white male who went to a small religious private school for both high school and college. Even someone like me, who stereotypically seems like they would be isolated from diversity, has been exposed to a fair amount of diversity. Through classes like AmCon and experiences like International Night, I have been made aware and sympathetic to the struggles of a variety of people who do not share my demographic background or privileges. Millennial exposure to more diversity has, for the most part, eradicated the Sterlings and Bundys of our generation. While racism, sexism, and homosexual discrimination are still very present in modern culture, generationally and societally we are making great progress.
Keep fighting the good fight Millennials.