Barack Obama and Bill Clinton may rank among the smartest presidents, but they sound like primitive reactionaries on youth. Continuing his administration’s ugly campaign to blame the young for all social problems – mass shootings, gun violence, crime, rape, drug abuse, bullying, obesity, racism, betraying America’s ideals, etc. – Obama again singled out “young people” as responsible for the Charleston tragedy. “When it’s (racism’s) poisoning the minds of young people, it betrays our ideals and tears our democracy apart,” the president told the US Conference of mayors.
Imagine the volcanic reaction if the president had blamed “racism poisoning the minds of white people” or “men” for Charleston – after all, nearly all mass shooters (racist and otherwise) have been white, and all have been men. But the larger, elementary point this president should understand is that “young people” did not commit Charleston’s and other violence – it was a tiny number of individuals of all ages, not entire demographic groups, who are responsible. If you look at larger characteristics that define young people, it is unusually anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-xenophobic attitudes compared to older ages.
It is the president himself who is displaying crude bigotry in his continual efforts to demean the very young people to whom he owes his political success. Meanwhile, the Obama presidency has not addressed (in fact, rarely mentions) the two most critical issues facing young people – widespread poverty and destitution, and domestic violence victimizing children and teenagers. If you wonder why Democrats and liberals don’t enjoy the same intense loyalty from their base constituencies that right-wing Republicans do, look no further than the last two Democratic presidents’ incessant youth bashing.
Why Is It All Right to Blame All Teenagers for Rape?
The guilty verdicts are in, the outraged commentary is abating, but a big question remains: How did Steubenville’s rape case become the one that “stunned the nation” and won relentless national media coverage?
Author, sociologist and outspoken youth advocate Mike Males joins me share his insights on the social, political and cultural problem of blaming, shaming and framing youth. I have referenced his work several times in the past, and it was a pleasure to have him on the show.
To hear the podcast, click here: http://schoolsucksproject.com/212-a-modern-history-of-youth-bashing-with-mike-males/