What it means to be young

I am a young person.

I am also not stupid or useless or incapable.

Neither are most other young people I know.

So who created this moral panic, such as described in this Chaser video:

As Henry Giroux says in “Youth Movement in a Culture of Hopelessness” by Jesse Strauss, many people view youth as “disposable populations“. The article describes the Occupy Wall Street movements and way in which young people are engaging with the issues relating to them. The viewpoint taken is particularly interesting because, unlike the majority of mass media I’ve encountered, it sympathises with the concerns of young people, rather than condemning them.

What this made me think about is the way youth voice is generally shut down in our society. Sure, there are isolated pockets where active participation is encouraged, for instance, specialised youth conferences, schoolroom debates, but in the ‘real world’, only fully-fledged adults warrant our attention. And maybe this is why there is a worldwide trend of disengagement with traditional politics on the part of youth: no one wants to voice an opinion when it isn’t going to be valued. A particularly noteworthy quote is:

“That’s why I believe the dominant media finds this movement so threatening. They’re hysterical. What it suggests is not that young people are simply protesting. It suggests that they’re not buying the crap that comes out of the dominant media, they’re challenging it, and secondly, they’re setting up their own circuits of knowledge and education. That’s frightening to think that young people can actually create a culture in which questions of dialogue, dissent, critical engagement, global responsibility, can come into play – that truly frightens, in my estimation, financial and dominant elites.”

What this suggests is that Occupy Wall Street is a stepping stone towards youth having a voice. What is even more interesting is the way in which youth are gathering. Occupy Wall Street employed various social media strategies, most notably, their Tumblr blog.

So maybe, youth are not disengaged, but just engaging in a new way.

This video outlines the ways in which traditional media, as shown before, have been involved in dismissing youth’s legitimacy in protesting through Occupy Wall Street.

What is interesting to note is the origins of this news report. RT America is dedicated to providing news often missed or misrepresented by mainstream media. They describe their YouTube channel as being central to their ongoing mass distribution and how they are reaching more viewers than ever before.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

So what is the message here? Young people are not incapable of having a credible opinion, and are also not incapable of expressing it. Convergent media, as a familiar thing to many of the younger generation, is the tool by which these previously unacknowledged voices can be heard.


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