I really struggle with pride. It seeps into my heart through insecurity, competence, encouragement from others, and hurtful encounters with others. I also truly and deeply care about others and about trying to do what I can to promote justice in the name of Jesus. Something that I love about my generation is that it seems that we collectively acknowledge many institutional injustices in the world as wrong. However, we also seem to collectively struggle with the aforementioned pride. A problem arises when this collective pride merges with the collective acknowledgement of injustice… the two blend together into a “Millennial Savior Complex”.
Very similar to the White Savior mentality, seen in the tone of Kony 2012, hashtag activism, or I am sure many of my own blogs and statements, the Millennial Savior Complex results in one of the worst side-effects of powerful social justice movements: pretending like we’re not a part of the problem. Injustice exists everywhere. As soon as any person, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or past history, stops thinking about how their efforts, or lack thereof, affect other people, bad things happen.
We cannot say we are against slavery and then buy things produced by slaves without being a hypocrite. We cannot say we are against racism and then make assumptions about someone’s thoughts, past, or culture, whether positive or negative, based solely on their race. We definitely cannot make angry social media posts just to make us look like we’re actually doing shit to stop it.
I am guilty of this myself, and especially writing from a position of privilege I do not want this to sound preachy. It is something I have been pondering quite a bit and feel it is essential to think about for any activist in our society.
Which leads me to how I think we, as individuals, can change the world, since that is what this blog is about. We can do our part to stop participating in the Millennial Savior Complex. I don’t think this will work 100%, but this is what I feel I need to do in order to start not having a “Savior” mentality (which is a ridiculous thing to have, since Jesus is our only savior). Step one is to pray for and try to become humble. Not insecure… but truly humble. Step two is to show grace to others who you feel have this mentality or worse, are apathetic or ignorant of social justice issues altogether. No one is perfect, and no person is worse than another. It is so easy to show grace to myself, because I see my actions in context. It is really, really, hard to show grace to others because I see their actions in isolation. I am praying that the Millennial Social Justice Movement grows even more, but that it becomes one characterized by grace and humility, way more than its current characterization of pretension.