Demonisation of the youth

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Most of us have done it. Your walking down the street, you see a group of youths and make a conclusion based on what they are wearing or how they speak.

If they’re wearing a ‘hoody’, you likely think trouble is brewing.

About 2 year ago, I watched a video of Plan B talking at TED in London. It really opened my eyes, especially around the use of the word ‘Chav’ (and ‘Scally’). Words regularly used by society to describe kids from poorer areas who dress, talk and act a certain way. He talked about the fact there is now an ‘under class’ as the gaps grow in society.

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His big message was around demonisation of the youth by society and the media.

He goes onto talk about how society values ‘things’ over ‘people’ and the fact that many young people that grow up in inner cities are demonised as trouble makers. He made the case that as a society we need to think differently about there potential and the media needs to act responsibly on how they report on this generation.

Plan B was kicked out of school and was lucky though to get another chance. The irony is Plan B has achieved way more than most middle class kids (like me) with great grades (not me) can ever dream of. It doesn’t matter whether a young person is from an inner city deprived area or a leafy suburb, we need to see all young people as having a talent, otherwise we will end up categorizing them by how they look, what grades they have or their postcode.

I’ll leave you with a thought of a young lad from an estate in East London who left school with 1 O’Level in Art. He went onto be British Fashion Designer of the Year and Head of Design at Givenchy and Gucci. His name is Alexander McQueen. Not bad for a kid most people would write off in a blink of an eye.

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Jim ClarkeComment