An Impossible Question


"What is the most important issue facing new generations of young people globally?" is an impossible question to answer. The answer to this question has to be contextualized. Who is the youth you are talking about? Where do they live? Two teenagers who are the same age, in the same city, with similar backgrounds might not have the same answer to this question. That said, I think a lot of the answers to these questions could be placed under the category of structurally promoted epistemological violence. I carried many of the "rules" I learned as children about the ways the world works into adulthood. Some of these rules are harmless (like you take your shoes off when you enter someone's home) and others can be largely consequential. In the video I chose the poet talks about the ambiguous "they." I interpreted this as being society, i.e. the media, our friends, our parents, magazines, "science," etc. A child and even teenagers are not always capable of maintaing healthy skepticism when taking in new information (like watching the news or reading Cosmo). The poet talks about how science told her that it was impossible to orgasm and the difficulty she faced to learn, on her own terms, that this was false. In this video Huey is talking about the female orgasm but the category of myths that are forced on youth populations as fact is translatable to many things like health=thin, happiness=wealth, or that men are "naturally" better leaders. So much of what youth are fighting for these days is also about changing taboos and getting the previous generation to talk about issues that they would rather sweep under the rug- sex being one of the most scandalous such issues. Although I cannot pinpoint one specific issue that is the "most important" I would argue that the promotion of misinformation is the source of many of the issues plaguing youth globally.


I agree that acute and seemingly harmless "rules" taught to youth can be seriously consequential. We see this through terrible gender norms that are *still* perpetuated, and in social "codes". If anyone is interested in a more philosophical approach to other ways modern society works to regulate our behaviors, I recommend Michel Foucault's "Discipline and Punish". It can be a real downer, but evokes serious realizations on how your personal actions are results of acute forms of regulation taught and retaught to us everyday.

I agree that it is difficult to think of one sole issue as the most important issue facing youth today because there are so many issues affecting youth. Although each young person faces different issues, I do think that all youth face the same general issues, even if each individual faces it in a different way. On a global perspective, although there are different events occurring in each country, I do think many of the same general issues exist in each. This was an interesting take on the question for this blog!

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This page contains a single entry by perka001 published on November 25, 2012 11:01 AM.

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