Articles

What We Are Tasked With

In Youth Rights on February 19, 2014 by edwinforyouthrights

Typed by Edwin Bonilla

There is a systematic spreading of ageist opinions against young people. This is unfortunately part of American culture. Many TV shows and news reports have used lies against young people to encourage ageism. I encourage you to check out a youth rights website called youthfacts.org. Ageist opinions have contributed to the large amount of age discrimination which young people experience around the country. News reports and TV shows have characterized young people as being inclined to make bad decisions, especially regarding illegal drugs. According to the youthfacts.org website, people in their 40s have a higher rate of death from illegal drugs than younger people (“The Graying Heroin Epidemic”, 2007). Many organizations have said that young people use more illegal drugs than all other age groups. Young people have become the scapegoat in our culture. This systematic spreading of ageist opinions directly contributes to ageism.

Severely discriminatory smoking age and tobacco purchasing age bills have been introduced in Utah, Colorado and Maryland. In an article I read, 55% of people in Colorado support a smoking age of 21. In the youth rights movement, we are tasked with challenging justification for age discrimination. We are not supposed to follow what many or the majority of people think about the rights of young people. Supporters of an ageist smoking age say that a higher smoking age would “protect” young women and young men from nicotine. However, that would be further oppression. If the federal government banned certain chemicals from cigarettes, then cigarettes wouldn’t be as harmful for smokers. Supporters think that a smoking age of 21 for Cannabis would “protect” young women and young men. The smoking age for Cannabis should be 18 because a smoking age of 21 for Cannabis would be more ageism. In contrast to news reports and some organizations, young women and young men are mature enough to smoke tobacco and Cannabis.

When we protect the rights and sovereignty of young people, there will be people who are fundamentally intolerant against young people. Since our society has an inclination to support ageist laws, it will be difficult to compete with organizations, news reports and TV shows which show young people in a negative manner. However, the youth rights movement and supporters of similar ideas know what freedom and responsibility are.

 

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