Dear SJW,

First, let me commend you for reading something that is very critical of your beliefs and methods. Especially since, if you work at a strongly leftist institution, you could probably have stayed quite blissfully in the comfort of mutually-reinforcing viewpoints, otherwise known as an echo chamber.

Next, I want to be very clear of one thing: If you think of yourself as a good, well-meaning person who has been doing what you sincerely believed was helpful, then I am not asking you to change how you think of yourself. Your identity is fine, as far as I am concerned.

If you are accustomed to thinking of yourself as an intersection of identities, while I invite you to gently experiment with letting this heightened awareness of identities fall into the background or drop away, I am not recommending any drastic change in how you see yourself. It’s up to you to choose what is a good fit for you.

In addition, I do not ask for any guilt from you, on account of your own actions, nor any collective guilt on behalf of your SJW colleagues. I think guilt is quite an over-rated emotion. I ask for no apology.

What I do ask, however, is that you take a look at the facts in this Guide with an open mind, and wherever they come in conflict with your beliefs, that you let the facts win. When the truth is allowed to win, then we all win.

Then, instead of guilt, I ask only for an acknowledgment of the truth, and for future actions to be an expression of this truth. That’s all.

We each have our path. If yours is to take action to help members of groups who have historically been wronged, then it’s a matter of finding ways to do this that have integrity.

From the available evidence, it appears that at least one minority group is behind academically entering college, and then in college, they just get further behind. Is it possible that encouragement and support in gaining academic skills could actually be more helpful to “marginalized groups” than political activism?

I recall a saying that was taped on the wall of a classroom when I was a student: “If you believe you can, or if you believe you can’t, you’re right.” Please consider whether an indomitable can-do spirit, a tenacity to succeed despite any temporary set-backs, along with a goal chosen that is harmonious with ones skill-sets, might serve minority students—or anyone—better than a grievance mind-set.

If you are drawn to teach about cultural awareness and sensitivity, wouldn’t it be helpful to include an awareness of the downsides of over-sensitivity?

Forgiveness can go a long way toward building understanding. Bridget Barnes, director of Boys Town Common Sense Parenting, shares an anecdote: “… I was in a grocery store shopping when a young child pointed at me and said, ‘Look Mommy! She’s black!’ The boy’s mother began to apologize to me, but I stopped her in mid-sentence and introduced myself. She seemed very surprised by my response. Then I turned to her son, who was smiling at me as he hid behind his mom. I smiled back and said, ‘Hello there! My name is Bridget. And who are you?’ Sometimes, making the first move to be friendly and kind to others is the best way to head off uncomfortable situations and set a positive example….”

What a breath of fresh air.

So anyway, if you are open to truth, you are not the enemy. If there is an enemy, it is ignorance, and we all have it. Be well.