It’s easy to pick on a college student for writing something dumb — and there’s no debating the ignorance of comparing Martin Luther King Jr. to rapper Macklemore, who has a hit song out about marriage equality. But the culture in which West Virginia University undergrad Kaitlyn O’Neal was raised deserves some blame for her startling lack of context.
Way too many millennials conflate the civil rights movement with the fight to legalize gay marriage or end DADT. Quoting Fran Lebowitz, there’s a difference between being marginalized and being oppressed. (I grew up gay in the South in the 1980s so I know what I’m talking about.)
Hyperbole, particularly when it pertains to celebrity activism, is another culprit.
For instance, Lady Gaga’s support of equality shouldn’t be classified as “brave.” Admirable, sure, but what’s brave about it? She’s not challenging her fan base or risking her livelihood any more than Macklemore is. If anything, it’s a good career move.