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‘My Parents Are Stupid’

When Kids Refuse to Be Properly Indoctrinated

If I had any doubts that Gen Y and Gen Z possess the savvy and the huevos they’ll need to lead this country out of its current muddle, those doubts were squelched last week. First, 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger testified before the Senate about why he went and got himself vaccinated after growing up with a staunch anti-vaxxer mom.

“My parents are kind of stupid,” began Ethan’s Reddit post back in November asking for advice on where and how to get the shots as an adult. He told the Senate that as he “began to think critically for myself, I saw that the information in defense of vaccines outweighed the concerns heavily.” Can I get an “amen” for Ethan?

Then journalist Eli Saslow, author of Rising Out of Hatred, came to UCSB Arts & Lectures to talk about the miraculous transformation of Derek Black. The godson of KKK grand wizard David Duke and actual son of another grand wizard (how is that actually a grown man’s title?), Black was a prominent white supremacist in his own right until he went to college and met people who defied the stereotypes he’d been spoon-fed his whole life. They challenged him to learn more about other races and religions, which — as education is wont to do — convinced him that racism was a big steaming pile of hooey. Now, much to Daddy’s dismay, he’s an outspoken critic of the white nationalist movement.

Imagine the courage, conviction, and capability of these young men! There’s something about a kid rebelling against his lunatic parents that fills me with hope. But I was surprised to find that these stories also filled me with something else. Something less flattering: panic. If this dramatic rejection of family values can happen to deranged and misguided parents, what’s to stop it from happening to outrageously rational and astoundingly wise parents — you know, parents like me?

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