It is wrong to hate the young only because they are different
Nowadays, youth have to listen to uncomplimentary remarks in their address from older people. We hear older people saying here and there: "Among the present-day youth everyone is a prostitute or a drug addict. We were quite different at this age."
Together with a friend of mine we agreed to meet near a local hotel in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. We just accidentally chose the place for a meeting. We saw a European woman with an interpreter passing by; the interpreter glanced at us and called us the lost generation (evidently the man took us for prostitutes hunting for tourists near the hotel). At that, the interpreter pronounced it so loudly that we had a chance to hear and understand the phrase. In response to the remark, the European woman reacted violently; both were not even ashamed to discuss my friend and me in our presence. Obviously, they couldn't guess that the two girls belonging to "the lost generation" knew English and could understand everything they said.
Where is the wrong stereotype about the youth coming from? Can we blame the mass media for spreading the stereotype? Is it right to make a conclusion the present-day youth are bad from a publication saying that skinheads severely beat a Caucasian man? In fact, middle-aged people are very often involved into cruel everyday and criminal fighting. Every generation has its villains; is it right to judge the whole generation by these few people?
We often hear that younger people don't respect the old age. Excuse me, remember an anecdote? "What is the fastest animal on Earth? - It is an old lade that attacks a metro train." Indeed, old women vigorously shoulder the way to a vacant seat in a bus or in the metro if they chance to notice one. At that they behave with undue familiarity and don't look ailing and suffering. The best thing you can hear in your address when such an old lady is making her way towards a cherished seat in the public transport is a rude hail: "Hey you, drug addict, move aside!" At worst, such "helpless old ladies" can even injure you: believe me they are strong enough to put your hand out when you hold on to hand-rails.
I was a witness of one more outrageous situation. A girl took a tram to get to the institute; she had an exam on that day. She took a seat and opened a book to review what she had learnt. Suddenly an old woman appeared and demanded that the girl must give the seat to her. The girl obediently stood up and let the old woman sit down. The incident might be considered as ended, but the old woman peacefully sitting on the conquered seat continued criticizing the girl. "What an impudent girl! Keeps on sitting as if she doesn't see that an old woman is standing by her side. Do you have no shame?" At that the old lady has no idea that the girl might be tired after a sleepless night when she reviewed material for the examination; that probably the girl cannot stand all the way in a tram because she is too nervous before the examination.
Indeed, old people never guess that younger people also need sometimes to sit in the public transport because of some health problems or other situations. On the contrary, this old woman even more criticized the girl for being so kind to let her sit down.
I witnessed one more incident. Two school leavers sat down on the back of a bench simply because the seat was dirty. The problem was that other people also used the same manner for sitting on that bench. The girls were shocked when they heard some old man saying in their address: "Awful prostitutes! Get way! You have no shame to sit in the center of the city in broad daylight!" It sounded strange as the girls were dressed decently because of an examination they passed on that day.
The above mentioned stories happened either to me or to some of my acquaintances. I don't mean that all aged people are like those in the mentioned stories. I understand that older people differ from us in their upbringing and the world outlook. But I emphasize it is wrong to hate the young only because they are different.
Older people say that in the times of their youth younger generations read more books. It makes sense to mention that many years ago it was quite a problem to get good book with the exception of the literature studied in the framework of the school curriculum and Lenin's works. That is why many of the older generation never read the world classics such as Borges, Kafka and Marquez. Older people have the habit of saying that youth is listening to devilish music. Do people still stick to the prejudice that rock is the Satan's song? Believe me, neither rock nor popular music influence the religious consciousness of the young generation.
It is a mistake to say that only Fascists listen to Rammstein. I know many people who listen to this music, but they are very nice and harmless people. If older generations don't like the music we listen to, this doesn't mean this music is bad. Don’t you like the saying that tastes differ?
Older people always criticize the clothes of younger generations: short shirts, torn jeans and dyed hair, etc. I understand that older people are so angry about the looks of the younger generation because they had no chance of self-actualization through clothes when they were young. Probably old people vent the offence upon the youth for this simple reason. But agree that it's not right that all people must look and behave equally.
The generation gap is the greatest problem on Earth; everybody understands it. It is strange that nowadays old people say that the generation gap is much greater than ever before. Unfortunately, it is a proven fact that the young age of older people fell at the time when the country was quite different from what we have now. But remember that being aggressive to youth you may get aggression in return. I believe that both parties are reasonable enough to reach a compromise.
Ana Smolentseva, 18
Uralskiye Obshestvennye Vedomosti
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