This blog is in response to “Searching for activism”– an opinion article in the Boston University student paper.
It is an endless battle. Everyday there is another attack against youth and their supposed apathy and disregard for social well-being. Sociologist Mike Males recently wrote an excellent analysis of what this looks like when adults freak out about technology.
Unfortunately, the worst cases of this ranting against young people are sometimes by young people themselves. In the latest battle against this ignorance, a student-written editorial reflecting on the late 2005 riots in France blasted the “absence” of youth activism in the U.S. This article was wrong on two main accounts, the first being that these riots were not youth-led. Second, of course, is that there is no lack of youth activism in the United States – only a general denial towards it. [There is no shortage of activism at Boston University itself.]
For evidence of the health of youth activism, of course you can visit the Freechild website; however, for different perspectives you can also take a look at the Campus Activism website, see the SoundOut website, or even type “youth activism” into Wikipedia.
This misunderstanding about the ability and actions of youth just can’t go on – its bad for young people, its bad for communities, and its bad for society. I think part of the dilemma is that the activism that young people are engaged today isn’t as blazing (forgive the pun) as what the author wanted- but that’s another blog for a different day.