Too young to be considered responsible enough?

I will not consider your opinion. You are too young to…”

Nowadays, it is more and more popular to talk about age discrimination. However, we usually consider this problem only from one perspective – we see a middle-aged person who, for example, has a problem with finding a job, because a potential employer regards her or him as too old.

Personally, I started thinking about the other side of the coin and asked myself a question. What about the young people? Aren’t we also discriminated against sometimes?  To find the answer I have created a short survey. Thirty-one young people – aged between fourteen and twenty-two – took part in it.  Although this group wasn’t too big, I think I found what I had been looking for.

From the poll I have learnt that over 96% interviewees believe that young folk are often considered as immature and irresponsible, however this judgment is not backed by any arguments resulted from their behaviour. Moreover, almost 55% participants faced age discrimination in person. Some of them shared their experience.

Quite frequently youth wrote that in many ways they are not treated seriously. They are usually not heard out and their opinion is not taken into consideration. Someone recorded that during discussion adults use young age of their interlocutor instead of rational arguments. One person felt discriminated against during her or his internship. Another one had an unpleasant experience in a restaurant, where she or he was not attended to by waitress, while elder people were serviced normally.

It turns out that this kind of discrimination has its own name. The belief that adults are superior to youth only because they are older is called adultism. Unluckily it is so widespread and common that most people do not even know adultism exists. Moreover, it can have few disadvantageous results. The division of people by virtue of their age causes stereotyping and generalization.

What is the reason for marginalising young people? Maybe it is overprotection, maybe people in different age groups have different ways of thinking or maybe it is something else. However, I am inclined to believe that the main reason of adultism is the style of presenting young folks by the media. Quasi-documentary programmes – in which every other teenager takes drugs, one in ten practices magic and where teenage pregnancy is common – show the image of irresponsible, degenerate young people, who hardly ever use their brains. It is frightening how many people watch these series and, on the grounds of them, form their opinion about the young people.

So where should adults look for the truth about the young people? First of all, they have to give the youth a chance to prove themselves. According to my little survey, over 93% interviewees consider themselves as people who can be entrusted with a task in the field they are familiar with. Each of us can prove our value, stand against the adultism and show everyone that we are capable of being taken seriously. We can, for instance, join a project like redakcjaBB, where we can show what we are capable of. Everything is in our hands!

Korekta: redakcjaBB
Zdjęcie Michał Rezik