an apology to youth
April 21, 2016
Also after the recent ‘queer isn’t a slur’ thing and the people blaming ‘kids these days’, I’ve come to realize that people are far too willing to blame ideas they don’t like on ‘kids’ or the ‘youth’ or whatever. When I say ‘ppl’ I’m including myself, since I definitely do this myself.
This post is an apology to the youth and young people in my life. I have a few friends who are young and I’ve known for years. These same individuals I find inspiring, bright, and passionate. They’ve taught me things. I’ve had rewarding relationships with all of them. So, I’m sorry for taking part in a culture that devalues the contributions that young people make.
After rereading parts of that post and realizing that the OP was blaming youth – while herself being just 27 – for an idea that I’m largely responsible for propogating. And I’m 33. But then the post where I articulate the idea that she was critiqueing (that queer is a slur) I likewise point my finger at young people for not realizing this.
So which is it? Apparently this homogenized and monolithic youth are responsible for both spreading the idea that queer is and is not a slur. And, sure, since ‘the youth’ isn’t actually a monolith, its possible that this is actually true.
What’s more possible and very likely in this case, is that both of us were using ‘the youth’ as a rhetorical foil to direct our arguments towards. And in so doing, participating in a culture wherein youth are automatically assumed to be ignorant and have little valuable insight to contribute.
Since, for a lot of reasons, I ought to know better. I know gay men around my age who don’t know anything about the AIDS crisis or other important parts of gay history. I also know people 10 years younger than me who do know about the AIDS crisis (and know about the ongoing impact that HIV has for trans women of colour).
I’m going to start working on ensuring that this shitty rhetorical framework is excised from my brain. Not only is it unfair, but its also intellectually lazy. I’m sorry and I’ll try to do better.