Ice skating in the street
Youth Culture is driven by fashion. Young people express themselves with everything from the way they wear their clothes, to the accessories they wear. These expressions cause a dilemma with those members of our community who view youth of a certain aesthetic as members of an unproductive, rebellious sub-culture. This is not a new phenomenon. In the 1960s, the Black Power movement was characterized by the image of the Black Panther. The Panthers who were often viewed as vigilantes were known to sport military paraphernalia, leather jackets and berets. The 1970s brought the rise of the “troublesome” hippie generation, with their bell bottoms and long hair. In the 1980s the breakers and B-boys reigned supreme as the rabble-rousers of American society- destroying neighborhoods one loud boom-box at a time. In the 1990s as Rap/Hip-hop became more mainstream. The progenitors of that movement were regarded as dissenters of popular culture by telling the stories of violence that were commonplace in their communities; along with sharing the lifestyle poverty had afforded them. One thing all of these movements have in common is that they each had a very distinct style/fashion that seemed to go hand and hand with their particular movement. So, where does that leave us today? What is today’s youth culture? How has this trend transitioned to present day youth?
In the African-American community, many young men (not all) identify with Urban Culture. The style of today’s urban culture includes baggy pants, oversized shirts, hoodies, ball-caps, and fancy sneakers. The average young black man walking down the street attracts an intimidation that is almost always unwarranted. If you saw a black man walking toward you at night with a hood, baggy jeans, and a fitted ball cap on, would you be afraid? Would you be intimidated? The honest answer, in most cases, is yes. The manner in which African-American men are viewed by blacks and non-blacks alike is startling. A story that we all are very familiar by now is that of Trayvon Martin- an unarmed 17 year old African-American boy who was killed by his neighborhood watch captain. One thing about the story that is really fascinating is why George Zimmerman found Trayvon so suspicious. Martin was wearing a hoodie and jeans; typical sportswear. If it were a white teen wearing the hoodie and jeans, would Zimmerman have found Martin so suspicious? If Martin would’ve worn khakis and a freshly pressed buttoned-up shirt, would he still have been so suspicious? Sagging pants won’t get you into corporate America- that we know. Yet, sagging pants should not have you labeled as a hoodlum. There have been attempts by lawmakers to force young men to wear their pants around their waists. Many people support these efforts blindly disregarding the fact that these laws are just another way for young black men to be targeted unfairly by police and other authority figures. Admittedly, sagging your pants may not be the most flattering thing for a young person to do but neither are multi-colored mohawks and there doesn’t seem to be any laws in the works to repeal that form of expression.
This year, in Loraine, Ohio, Horizon Science Academy sent a letter to parents with the school’s dress code. The letter, published by the blog
Black Girl with Long Hair, reportedly stated “afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with or without rubber bands are NOT permitted.” With the policy being perceived as blatantly racist, the school issued an apology and revised the policy. James Knight, a member of the schools advisory board, in an interview with the Huffington Post was quoted as saying “[The afro puff/braid policy] had nothing to do with young ladies, young African-American ladies. It was really more so addressing young African-American men here at this school.” Knight went on to say “We want to maintain a certain type of college prep culture here, and we just want the young men to be well-groomed.” The deeper problem here is that African Americans with natural hair aren’t seen as being well groomed. Why should a young man with an afro not be able to put his hair in a pony-tail? Why shouldn’t a young black man be able to wear his natural hair in whatever form he sees fit?
Thirty (or so) years ago Barak Obama was a scrawny, pot smoking, afro-wearing kid. President Obama wasn‟t always the same man we see today. He had time to grow and develop in a way that allowed him to become
the leader he is today. The same goes for Bill and Hilary Clinton who at one time could’ve been described as long haired hippies. As a society, we can’t be off-put but the outward expression of our youth; from their art to their fashion. Young people, as in the past, need time to develop. Our young people are not lost. Give them their time to experiment, their time to challenge the status quo and if given the opportunity I’m sure we will see a Renaissance in every area from fashion to culture to science. Don’t give up on our young people.
Written by: Jerel M. Duren
How I feel when my parents talk
She looks 1000000000000% done with that shit
"here this bitch go a-gain"
your past is just a story
my night is ruined
This is powerful wow
saddest story ever
this just shows that you can do anything for a woman and they’ll still leave you cause you’re not “good enough”
This is extremely sad.
Aww man.. [hangs head].