Youth Discrimination

August 4, 2013
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I’m seventeen. I’m an AP student, a good friend, and a mentor. I do my schoolwork, respect my teachers, maintain healthy relationships, and aspire to one day become a teacher. I seem friendly enough, right? If I were already a teacher, or just an adult in general, I would be treated and spoken to with respect. But I’m not an adult; I’m seventeen, and that automatically makes me rude, obnoxious, lazy, stupid, and overall worthless as a person. Apparently I don’t deserve respect from teachers or security guards. They don’t know me, and they don’t want to know me. My very existence is the bane of theirs. This is why I am spoken to harshly, suspiciously. I’m a teenager; I must have done something wrong.
Young people are treated like some kind of minority. Generalizations about us have created unfair and undeserved stereotypes. I’m not a punk, I’m not disrespectful, and I’m not stupid. So why am I treated as if I am? I’m tired of being looked down on. I’m tired of being talked to like a delinquent. The prejudice against youth needs to end, or this generation will grow up to be as cynical and judgmental as the people who treat us this way now. I know plenty of young men and women who, like myself, strive to disprove this flawed perception. We will ensure that at least one party is mature enough to keep an open mind. We can only hope that the adults who rule our society can find it in themselves to do the same.

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