What are the Young People Complaining About?
Author: Pol Guardia
The first thing that we have to handle when we want to talk about Youth is INVISIBILITY. This is at the same time a need, but also a problem of Youth Discrimination. Youth discrimination doesn’t exist as a concept, it’s included in the general name ‘ageism’, which usually refers to the discrimination of the elderly. There are other terms and definitions such as Youth empowerment or Youth engagement, but they tend to be presented in the positive way, which is the direction in which we want to go.
A video about the Ageism campaign:
Even those activists who do recognise different ages in ageism, tend to be focused on children.
A video about ageism which includes children in the definition:
Example 1 – Invisibility
So let’s start from the beginning: There is no mention of discrimination because of age ( or ageism) in the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
- All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
- Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
There are some organisations established under the name of Young, Youth, Younger (we’ll talk about it at the next post), but all of them are focused on the positive work and chances that they have to change things, or the problems derived from their age (sex, drugs, violence) – because of their age? – but it’s hard (impossible) to find a organisation focused just on the ‘other’ youth problems such as access to work, their political rights, or the discrimination against them.
In this letter: we can take a loook at the general statistics about the feelings of the Argentinian youngsters. The greatest impact is that just 2.3% of young people don’t have the feeling of being discriminated because of their age. The others feel discriminated for different reasons shown in these different percentages:
In the pubs: 88,4%
By the police: 66,1%
At work: 64,6%
At school: 50,6%
By other authorities: 34,4%
At the same time they feel discriminated by:
Social class: 67,1%
Skin color: 62,0%
Just for being young: 37,5%
Example 2 – Criminalisation
As I said in the previous part of the article, there are some problems related with the young population “because of their age”. It’s true that they are a high risk part of population, but the violence, drugs and sex are not just a problem of the young population and not all the youth population have problems with these issues!
A video about young guys being harassed by the police:
Let’s take this situation. For the society, the family and the context maybe it’s kind of ‘normal’ that the police control the young people. Maybe it’s just in case, as a prevention. But, as citizens, they have the same political and human rights than the other people, and those are also the physical integrity and the ‘habeas corpus’, or the presumption of innocence.
Another video about it:
Here is another letter: about the forgetness of the ‘elders’ in terms related to having fun. Relating night life with all the issues associated to the young peoplem drugs and violence. The letter is about the right to have fun and night live in a healthy way, the same as any other normal activity.
These attitudes and opinions are mostly promoted by the role of young people in Media:
Example 3 – Capacities + Work
Video: “People are always telling me that I’m too young but I know I’m capable.”
There are different ages to start to work depending on which country you are from. Also to access the full citizenship rights, especially related to the right to vote and chose the political representatives in your country (learn more about the legal ages to work in the world: http://chartsbin.com/view/re6). Despite the legal conditions, once they enter the ‘work system’, so many young people are underestimated because their age. Also, in the work relations and the contracts between the Universities, the schools and the companies, young workers tend to be underpaid even if they are more qualified than their bosses.
When it comes to the psychological aspect, considering the inexperienced young people as the least important part of the companies, and giving them fewer rights, even if their work is better than that of the other employees, is becoming more and more common.
In conclusion, young people are often considered as a group and are discriminated against in the terms of being criminalised or having fewer rights in their workplace. It is difficult for them to get equal treatment by the companies, the police or the government.
IMAGE3 – Conclusion picture
Some Thoughts on Youth
Author: Pol Guardia
1. Who are Youth?
What is youth? What does it mean to be young? The most traditional definition – taken from Wikipedia – goes like this: “Youth is the time of life between childhood and adulthood (maturity)” (See the wikipedia article – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth), that is, between 12 and 24 years of age.
But, as you can imagine, there are a lot of aspects to consider about that but this is not place for talk about them; I just want to share another definition proposed by Robert F. Kennedy: “This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease”. And with that I want to excuse myself if some of the examples that I will give do not agree exactly with the age described and I also want to use it to clarify my first point: Youth represents an age, but it’s also, and mostly, an attitude.
Forever Young by Alpha Ville Band
2. How Many Young People Are There?
We are many (see the world population statistics: http://populationpyramid.net/). According to the BBC and the United Nations Database, “The number of young people in the world has never been higher” (See the BBC report – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456998/html/). Even if they count only the ages between 12 and 18, the statistics show that almost 1 billion of the total world population are young people. We have to pay attention because this number is not the same in all countries, and the proportion of young people per country is highest in Africa and lowest in Europe in significant proportions.
Will this situation change? Demographic studies predict a change in the world pyramid of population – there will be a growth of the middle aged population as countries all over the world progress and develop. However, this is just a theory based on actual paradigms and focused on high, sustainable development of countries all over the world. In our case, as we are not ready to predict the future yet, we will say that at the moment, and as far as we know, there is a lot of young population and that they are the future.
3. Let’s Take a Look into the Past
What has been the role of young people throughout our history? Again, it is hard to analyze such a huge topic in a few words, even if the situation in the different periods and civilizations was also different. So, let’s say just one thing: young population had different roles in their societies throughout history, and some of these were very powerful roles. Let’s take a look at an universal example:
Alexander the Great (See the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_the_Great) ruled a huge empire during the 300’s B.C., expanding the Macedonian crown trough the Balkans to the north of Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and Persia. Maybe his rule was a bloody one, but our character also had other important skills, like his intellectual formation taught by Aristotle and his concept of cultural integration. Alexander died in Babylonia at a young age, when he was just 33 years old, but when he started to rule the country he was 20 years old. Remember: Age is not a handicap.
There are many other examples of young people’s accomplishments:
World’s Youngest Circumnavigator:
Youngest Musician to EVER have his own PBS Concert:
The youngest skateboarder in the world:
World’s youngest Michael Jackson impersonator:
4. I’ve Got the Power
The equation is very easy. Let’s take a recap of the skills that Kennedy expected from young people: State of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease; Can you find similarities with the empowerment needs that the experts describe? See the video with the empowerment skills needed according to the experts:
Young people can and shall take the initiative. Where? In their jobs, in their cities, in their colleges. Young people have their own problems (See the ‘Companion policy Youth in a Global World’:http://www.prb.org/Publications/Datasheets/2006/PRBsTheWorldsYouth2006DataSheetPaintsaMixedPictureforAdolescents.aspx), but they are also citizens of the world -1 out of every 4 citizens is considered young- so they need to be able to share their aims, especially now, in an increasingly globalized world, where there are more tools than ever (Download the article ‘Young people in a Globalized World’:http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/documents/ch11.pdf).
Give me the Power by Molotov:
5. The Culture of Sharing
Nowadays young people are being born in a digital era. Older people can learn, but they have not been born with the Internet, and they are not as used to participating in the new Internet culture as their children are. It’s important to think about the model that we’re developing: its aim is to create and share a whole and a global network of knowledge and information isn’t always connected to individual aims and profits, and we have a lot of examples of this, for example Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Young people also have the tools to liberate the new world.
It will be difficult. There are some problems. It’s true that there are a lot of differences between countries in terms of internet access, but the Internet is already being considered one of the basic tools for development like food or water. Let’s take a look at this graphic and analyze the evolution of ‘free’ access to information in one of the most powerful countries of our world, China, as a positive example:
We will not discuss the governments, or the limitations that some of them put on the internet and the social networks free access here, but, like a waterfall, it’s hard to stop the Internet and the democratic values implied by its existence. “Wikileaks” or “Anonymous” are best examples of how people can fight against even the most powerful structures through the use of digital tools. Hope, Future, Youth.
“Engage Me” PSA:
To conclude, youth is an attitude related to the wants and the hopes of a generation, and it has to be recognized,and it has to be considered as a powerful tool and a valid point of view related to all the problems. At home, at work and in life in general. The Internet philosophy is the best example of this, with its ‘attitude of sharing’ as a way of growing, gaining more knowledge and achieving success in helping others.
Image Source: northjersey.com
See the demographical predictions
Image source: http://www.iiasa.ac.at
Map of the Empire of Alexander the Great
Image Source: Wikipedia
Daily Internet Use by Age
Social Network Use – Youth
Internet Use in China
Image Source: http://files.techknots.com