The expectation is usually that with age, there should be progress; with education, there should be progress; with experience, there should be progress. It is easy to understand why such expectations abide in different societies. This is because each of those things – age, education, experience symbolize growth in and of a person.
A new generation symbolizes growth and people in different societies put a lot of their faith in this particular kind of growth. I too put a lot of my faith in this new/young generation which I am a part of (I am looking at from age 35 and downward). For Nigeria, I have faith that at some point, more young people will be able to get involved in politics, so that they can change some of the usual norms of governance that have been operating in different government systems in Nigeria. Corruption in Nigeria dates back to decades before I was born but it is still in effect in this 21st century. So, in Nigeria, corruption is like a norm of ancient times (mainly since after Independence). Since that is so, I am hoping on a new, younger generation that will at some point come in and lead with compassion, accountability, fairness and a commitment to the public.
In North America, the common ideology is that racism mostly abides with people of older generations – people who lived through a time when racism was at the crux of their specific society’s social and political sphere. However, I wonder if it is possible that it is mainly members of the older generation that have been sending racially-motivated insults at Leslie Jones, via Twitter (a popular ‘new generation’ social media network). I used the word “wonder”, because I am not stating that I know for a fact, the generational groups of most of the bullies who targeted Leslie Jones. However, note that, with growth, there should be progress. The problem arises when the new generation does not unlearn the prejudices and hurtful ideologies that could be found in a past generation.
There are encouraging occurrences, however, which make me have unwavering faith in the young generation. Continually, I come across stories of young people who are challenging and shattering barriers to their group or society’s progress. Barriers that were once a norm. Black Lives Matter groups, associations in different countries that mark Pride (LGBTQ+ pride) through outdoor events, girls saying no to child marriage in Zimbabwe etc.
So yes, I see many of the younger generation taking up the mantle of change but I want to use this post to remind all young people that you and I have a task and hold the power to lead a prosperous, freer and a more just tomorrow.
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