Millennials–tolerant of surface differences, but incapable of in-depth understanding?

I only pose it as a question, because the data isn’t in yet.

tolerant teens growing up in Oak Park, Illinois

But this article by Ted Gregory in today’s Tribune mentions that although today’s learner are about fifty percent more tolerant (as measured by attitudes towards gay marriage and inter-racial dating) than previous generations, they are also forty percent less empathic–that is, less understanding of the other, less “kind.” I’d say that’s a rather drastic reduction in plain-old human kindness and we should be concerned by it.

But it makes sense for kids exposed to  incredibly larger volumes of others to become proportionately less “sensitive” to others. In their world of MMOGs, Facebook page posts, Youtube rants and MySpace fandom, each individual other may seem less important–less respectable,   Perhaps this is behind the rash of cyber-bullying being reported this fall–not only is it easier than ever to trash someone else’s reputation, but the social disapprobation that I may have gotten for my bullying is a thing of the past–I can always get another group of “friends,” join another online group, begin a new game with other competitors.

Here’s where the medium may be working against human education:  when the necessary intimacy of an empathic relationship is missing, do we forget how to be “kind”?

Just asking.

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