I know you’ve had a rough year. What with Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton and the final season of Girls, 2016 has not been a “safe space” for you.
MTV rallied some of you to star in its video “New Year’s Resolutions for White Men.” Just white men? You claim to despise inequality, and it’s only fair that you get some New Year’s resolutions of your own.
Your whole schtick is about telling other people how to think, speak, and act – so I’m hoping you won’t mind that I offer some gentle advice for you in the New Year:
1-“Trigger warnings” can be useful for media that talks about eating disorders, mental illness, and other things that people – for very personal reasons, and in very extreme cases – might want to avoid. Stop trying to slap trigger warnings on the U.S. Constitution or Pokémon Go.
2-If a Rolling Stone reporter shows up on your campus, please don’t invent a rape that never happened and tell them all about it. It’ll be front-page news and you’ll ruin the lives of innocent men – and then your own, when the hoax gets found out. Stuff like this makes it harder for real victims to get justice.
3-At least once a week, read something you disagree with. This is good advice for everyone. It doesn’t have to be as long as a novel but it better be longer than a tweet.
4-Learn the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange. Eating sushi is not the same as appropriating Japanese culture. Writing this down doesn’t mean I’m appropriating Phoenecian culture. Sometimes, one culture figures out something really great and others adopt it, too. This is called human progress.
5-Accept the existence of the following: police, the state of Israel. They are flawed, but they deserve to exist because (among other reasons) they make the world safer. Work on improving them, not demonizing them.
6-Men should hold doors. Women should say “thank you.” This is not about the patriarchy, it’s about men being naturally more muscular than women, and doors being heavy.
7-You don’t need a “safe space” from differing opinions. If you think you can’t possibly get through college without a way to avoid mean, scary ideas, then college is probably not for you.
8-Your love of diversity is admirable; expand your diversity to include many kinds of opinions. Human thought is not “Right and Left” but something more like “Up, Reverse, Purple, Question mark, record scratch.”
9-Resist the urge to shut down events you don’t like. It makes you look like bullies who hate free speech. You can still protest and host your own events, just leave ours alone.
10-If you want to do something good for women, please invent a lip gloss with shine that lasts longer than this sentence.
This soul-searching is not easy; New Year’s resolutions never are. But with a bit of humility and introspection, your movement could earn more respect during this next spin around the Sun.