For white progressives, climate change is a unique issue in which racial guilt plays little to no role. Other issues such as police brutality, income inequality, and even women’s rights and access to abortion are steeped in what they perceive as the racist foundation of our country. On these issues, white protesters in the post-Occupy age feel they bear no small amount of collective guilt. But on climate change, for once, they can be the victim, not just the ally.
And man, are they enjoying it. This is the moment for angry, young white people not only to be angry, but to actually be oppressed. It is their own future that they believe is being stripped from them by failure to accept that if we don’t act in the next eight minutes, all is lost. It is their lives that amorphous and evil global corporate and government powers are endangering.
Finally, they can express righteous indignation not just in support of the rights and lives of others, but to protect themselves. It is their Malcolm X in blue jeans moment, a thrilling opportunity to stick it to the man, whoever that might be. The poster child is not a murdered black youth, but a young girl from Sweden astride a solar-powered boat defending the future of lily-white protesters everywhere.
You have fun kids. Then go get jobs and worry about something important.