The case involving Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman was horrendous. However, that was just a case that displayed how the teenage community as a unit is unpopular to today’s society. As we all know, Trayvon was labeled as suspicious simply because of what he was wearing: a black hoodie. Since when did a hoodie become a sign of a dangerous person? Did the government make that decision? If so, why didn’t the citizens receive that memo?
An article entitled “Superman and Me” written by Sherman Alexie, a Native American. In this article, Alexie wrote about how he became the successful writer that he is today. Alexie wrote, “I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky” (Alexie 2). Alexie is talking about how he did not want to be like the rest of the children on his reservation by succumbing to the precedent of failure that was set by the many generations that came before him. Although this quote was directed to the Native American community, it applies to the general youth community as well.
The adolescent community has not been given the upper hand at all. Many of our readings discussed how the teenagers of today are not expected to become successful. Our readings from our “Generational” unit basically told us to be ready to work a minimum wage job that does not require a degree, even though we all are about to be working our butts off for the next 4+ years at one of the most prestigious universities in the country to get one. Furthermore, depending on where you are from, the males are expected to end up dead or in jail and the females are expected to be teen moms. MTV made an entire television series about being a teenage mother. If the message of the show was supposed to be “Don’t be a teen mom, you’ll struggle ”, they definitely failed at portraying that message because the mothers on the show are getting huge checks every time they have a cameo in an episode. You can’t tell me that I am going to struggle when the people you are using as examples are getting paid massive checks. It just doesn’t work that way.
That being said, Alexie, although he was speaking from personal experience, understood what it was like to be a member of an unpopular community. Being a Native American, he was already unpopular in today’s society. In addition to being a Native American, he was also one of the only Native Americans on his reservation that was trying to save himself from the precedent that was set by those before him which was complete failure. Today’s adolescent community is in the same boat as Alexie. We are all trying to save ourselves and write our own stories. But the question at hand is do we have the strength to write our own stories?
– Nya M.