The right sort of people

This video has heart; I even teared up at one point, as was no doubt intended. But I also had qualms.

I want to appreciate the message, that sometimes the things that connect us are invisible yet more powerful than the obvious points of division. And I know a 3-minute TV spot can't address every "yes, but..." counter argument.

But all this good natured bonding might look a little anemic if you told the participants "Everyone who believes that brown-skinned people are genetically inferior to white-skinned people, please step forward." That self-identification overrides the temporary affiliations formed by identifying all the step-parents and people who had sex last week. "Yeah, we're both step-parents," one participant might say to another, "but as a white step-parent I will inherently do a better job than you, and my offspring deserves its privilege due to its inherent superiority. I hope your step-kid enjoys its libertarian-justified poverty." Some group affiliations trump others. 

On the other hand, every shift at the firehouse I sit across the lunch table with some people who did not vote the way I did and have radically different understandings of the goals of our society. When I dwell on our differences, I become very depressed. But then I consider that I can still joke and laugh with them on many topics, that some of our political discussions end in qualified agreement. When the tones go off and we are dispatched on a call together, we perform as a team. 

You can sort people into functional groups despite their differences if they see a common goal. But when one group's goal is the suppression and disenfranchisement of another, all the superficial stand-ins for empathy won't amount to much.