The America of Yesterday Towards the America of Tomorrow

When you’re a teenager with messy hair, a black t-shirt, and your hands in the pockets of your leather jacket, adults tend to assume you’re a criminal about to steal something from them.

I however, am not. I am a nerdy, Christian hipster, honors student that has seen the Lion King, Peter Pan, and each Harry Potter film more than you can count. I know Yoda like my grandpa and listen to Weird Al, the Mulan soundtrack, and classic big band music on my ipod. I’m in the marching band for goodness sakes. I’m not a trouble maker or a thief or a delinquent or some type of hooligan whippersnapper that’s about to corrupt your children with drugs. (I took the D.A.R.E. program.)

But somehow, American teens now-a-days have a poor reputation for being ungrateful villains to the “America of yesterday,” so to speak. We have had much prejudice due to our age and stereotype. It’s not easy being thrown out of the Brighton jewelry store, shopping for your mother’s birthday gift, just because you’re wearing jeans, sneakers, and a hoodie. The ageist attitude and skeptical assumptions drive well-brought-up teens, like myself, up the wall. Appearance isn’t everything. But if you’re under the age of twenty one and you’re even passing through the alcohol section of the grocery store, you will be judged.

Yes, I admit, there is a reason for the stereotypes. Yes, there are stoners on the corner streets by high schools, and yes, there were drunken driving incidents before the Prom, but that gives adults no reason to judge all teenagers. Awareness is one thing, but prejudice is another.

As a clean-cut, wholesome teenager with messed up hair, a black t-shirt, and my hands in the pockets of my leather jacket, I feel the stereotypes of young adults are discriminating. We are not all terrible people. But if we had some compassion and guidance from adults, we could grow up to be successful and not go down the path that they tend to fear. “Delinquents” and “teenagers” should not be interchangeable words.





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