The Critical Eye

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Girl Beat-Down" Gen Y Style

There's a story in the news about middle school girls in Clarksville, Indiana luring a girl to a parking lot for a beating. The subsequent link to the video -of this alleged beat down - shows two girls in what appears to be a hair pulling contest. Since the incident in Florida in which some high school girls mauled a fellow schoolmate, it appears the media has 'suddenly' gotten a sensitivity to the depravity of our youth and their propensity for violence. This is the media speaking and not me. Just thought I'd make this clear.

You see any self respecting internet guru -which literally means most teens-will tell you that all you have to do is type the words "girl beat-downs" on YouTube and you will get a plethora of videos. In fact you can filter by savage, hair pulling, nasty, vicious, dangerous, or any other connotation. What we seem to forget as adults, is that what we considered a private environment is now the 'new' public forum for our youth. The world -through the internet- is their audience. Neighborhood fights can be broadcast for all to see. No longer do I have to tell you that I beat up that kid, you can watch the video.

I feel concerned that this new arena has desensitized many of us -including me- into viewing this video and in essence thinking, "Is that it?" Why would anyone be upset about what appears to be a normal girl fight. I mean you want to see a fight? Go to YouTube and type in, "Girls Brawling or Brawlin". The latter spelling compensates for all our youth who can't spell. In fact default to the latter prior to utilizing the former. Oh heck, seeing as some of the very teens who post this stuff may be reading this, I'll make it clearer, use brawlin in your search before you use brawling, you'll have greater success (more hits).

Our kids are not using the same rules we did, nor do they have any wish to do so. What concerns me is that we as adults are getting into the habit of typecasting the majority of Generation Y, based on a few public 'spotlights' broadcast. Fighting has always occurred amongst teens, it's a right of passage. However, kids are airing it on the internet, now that's new. It's the ultimate bragging right or humiliation. Rock and Roll was from hell; "peace and love" kids needed to be locked up, disco was taboo, and hip hop is the reason most black men are in jail. At least that's the way it has been represented in the media over the years.

We must come to the basic realization that unless we engage our youth in a dialog, we are doomed to repeat the very mistakes our parents made with us. Research shows that this generation is poised to be the next 'great' generation. Ask most parents and they'll dispute this vehemently. That lazy kid who won't get up to mow the lawn, is supposed to grow up to be great? Well parent, I have a suggestion, film him, post it on YouTube and MySpace under the heading "Lazy Bum". You might just get him up. After all, his friends are watching.

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