Wednesday, February 11, 2009

a massive oversimplification...

I thought this article [ Taking the ‘Youth’ out of Youth Culture :: ] was challenging and something worth sharing. I am friends with a number of people who work with in "youth" ministry and thought this might be a valuable perspective.
/..the term ‘youth,’ when referring to an entire generation (or two), is a massive oversimplification.

No more can you generalize the varied actions of adults as being part of an ‘adult culture’ can you generalize the behaviors of youth as being reflective of a ‘youth culture.’ Where adults are given any number of demographics to fit into, based on age, class, gender, race, or lifestyle, young people are predominantly still dumped into the graffiti-lined bucket of ‘youth.’ ../
The young people I come into contact with on a regular basis are a diverse and varied group of people... who do exhibit some signs of similarity but thats more to do with the spatial proximity subgrouping that they belong to than anything else. To bring them all under the term "youth" is one thing... but to assume that they are all participants in "youth culture" is something else. They have their own cultures that they are part of... they straddle multiple defining points with a deftness that is inspirational.

I think the issue here is one of oversimplification and it is a huge one at that. It is not solely down to how adults look at younger people... but how we, as people, look at others who are different from us. Categorising any person by age is a foolish undertaking.

I'll be 35 in August and wonder what that actually means. To be honest, it means nothing. I have a degree of stability that comes from my age but in terms of my passions, interests, obsessions, fears, hopes... they are pretty unique to me and mine. I am a product of the multiple cultures that have built me... and an ongoing participant in the multiple cultures that I continue to exist within.

At the end of the day... we need to see people for their humanity and not as the labels we place on them. We are adept at placing labels on people... using them to categorise and position... instead of appreciating a person for who they are and for what they bring to the salad bowl that is our shared life... our unique subcultural grouping in which we participate.

Its all fine and well reading about the juciness of a tomato but until we experience its succulence and flavour then this knowledge is worthless. This is the same with people... we can label people all we want... but until we experience their particular flavour then these labels are worthless. We need to move beyond labels and into experience... into an appreciation of the uniqueness that each and everyone of us has.

Afterall, are we not all created in the image of God? Are we not worth getting to know more?

Thanks psfk for another thoughtprovoking article.

1 comment:

Gurdonark said...

I think "youth culture" had a meaning in the era 1966-1974 that it has not had since.

I agree with you that the point now is not worrying about how to define
"youth culture" in a simple manner, but instead how to increase the acceptance of diverse cultures into an integrated society. It's a real challenge--and it's a human challenge, not a "youth" challenge.


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