5 Signs You're Actually in an Angry Mob
The other night I sat down and read a bedtime story to my daughter. It was The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles and George Ford. The book details the life of a young black girl in 1960 who was ordered by a judge to be the first black child to attend William Frantz Elementary in New Orleans.
In the book, Ruby braves a mob of angry protesters every single day and ends up being taught in an empty classroom because other parents don't want their children to go to school with her. Also every day, Ruby prays for the protestors, telling God they don't know what they're doing. Eventually, everyone gets the hell over themselves and boom, integration.
My daughter asked if it was like what she saw while we were watching the news. All those kids being shouted at down at the border. I told her that it wasn't exactly like that, but yeah, it was pretty close. When she asked me why, I said the same thing that Ruby said to God; they don't know what they are doing.
So if you're bedazzling a misspelled sign and getting ready to go out and First Amendment all over someone, here's five things you should ask yourself to see if you are in fact an angry mob instead of an activist.
5. Is The Object of Your Yelling Mostly Children?
As far as I can tell, never in recorded history has a group of people yelling at kids ever been considered to have been in the right by later generations. I don't care if it's a bunch of adorable little towheaded Hitler Youth or the Future Black Panthers of America. If you are actively screaming at members of a group that can't purchase tickets to a PG-13 movie, consider your motives or other means.
4. Is Your Group Homogenous?
Here's a not-quite truism; Justice draws diversity, bullies draw like. If you look around you and everyone around you is the same color, religion, or basic economic background there might be problem. Maybe not, especially in the early stages of a movement, but most of the photos throughout history showing groups that protested for progress tend to display a wider cut of the cultural cloth.
3. Is Your Object to Frighten or Shame Others?
There's a reason Pride parades and things of that nature endure. It's because people organized with a desire to better their position, celebrate the progress made, or speak out positively about the struggle towards equality makes folks feel good. Hate is a crappy substitute for that, but it can still be addictive. When your object is to, say, frighten women away from an abortion clinic and you cheer when they run away in shame and terror, that's not positive change. That's mob rule.
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